O'Connor applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Dying to Know, and reported the following:
I’m not sure if I pass the test or not, but page 69 of Dying to Know does represent important storylines in my novel. Dying to Know is about Oliver Tucker—a dead detective—who is killed in the opening and returns to help his beautiful wife solve his murder. Yes help. Tuck is not your typical ghost story character. He’s the chief protagonist in every sense, except for his flaw—he’s dead. On page 69, two significant plotlines emerge in Tuck’s investigation—his abilities beyond pure investigative skills and his prime suspect:Visit Tj O’Connor's website, blog, and Facebook page.
Like striking a match, the sparks ignited and flames singed my fingers. An image swirled in the print as if developing before me.So, here we have Tuck learning he can move about from place to place. He also learns that an old nemesis, Poor Nic, is again a key suspect in one of his cases. This time, it’s his own—detective solve thyself.
A thin, shallow face with haunting, powerful eyes emerged. The face was aged and showed a man worn by more than years.
This face was no friend.
Poor Nicholas Bartalotta.
Poor Nic was not poor at all. In fact, he was one of the wealthiest people in Frederick County. He was also the county’s most notorious, albeit only, gangster. Poor Nic was retired from the New York City mob families. Newspapers, being as fond of notorious mobsters as they are of bestowing silly names on them, dubbed him “Poor Nic” from his lavish lifestyle. The nom de guerre followed him to Winchester.
“Hi, Nic. I bet you thought you were rid of me.”
I laid my hand on the photograph and a manic episode exploded in my brain. My thoughts lost focus and melted. Needles pricked me everywhere. I tried to get control but a jolt of electricity shot through me like a cattle prod to my brain. Lightning burst through—synapse by synapse. My eyes shuttered closed and the current swept through me.
***When my eyes opened, I was standing in a luxuriously furnished, two-story great room. There were antiques and expensive trappings and I could have been in an English castle amongst lords and ladies. There were paintings, sculptures, and fine art of every variety. The room exuded wealth and power. Across from me, in front of the story-tall double oak doors, two muscular men stood…
Prior to page 69, Tuck could not comprehend part of his world—including an investigative file on his desk. He could not get through doors, could not read, and was a prisoner of his new world. Here, he is finally able to move about and finds clarity in his case file. There, he sees what he’s been missing—his old arch enemy, Poor Nic, was the prime suspect in his most recent homicide case. Now the question on Tuck’s mind is—did Poor Nic close Tuck’s case for good?
Page 69 is a good representative page and it is demonstrative of Tuck’s greatest flaw and new investigative tool—his death. This page also sets the stage for something Tuck is about to come to terms with—it’s the living, not the dead, who are most terrifying.
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