Friday, April 25, 2014


Catherine McKenzie is an internationally bestselling author of four novels, most recently Hidden. She is a full-time attorney and regular contributor to The Huffington Post.

McKenzie applied the Page 69 Test to Hidden and reported the following:
From page 69:
Friday at eleven is three days from now. And then what? “If you’ll follow me into our display room, you can choose the casket you desire.”

I don’t have to scream this time for Beth to grab my hand and hold it tight. Karen bows her head, waiting patiently for me to collect myself.

She must be used to this. Has she become immune to grief? Does she slough it off like I do the petty slights of three- and four-year olds?

Several minutes pass before I come back to myself. I can hear the soft tinkle of the Bach, feel my fingers mechanically playing the chords against my knee, and Beth’s warm hand covering mine.

“We can do this another time,” Beth says. “Or I can —”

“No, I should do this. I should be the one.”

I rise unsteadily. We cross the wide hall to a set of large wooden doors with glass panels, which are covered by opaque curtains, hiding whatever lies beyond.

Karen opens one of the doors and stands aside. Beth’s clutching my hand so tightly she’s almost cutting off my circulation. I want to make a break for it and run, but that would mean having to come back here.

Karen flicks a switch and we walk into the showroom. I blink under the bright lights. The large, octagonal room has an assortment of caskets arranged a tasteful distance apart, each illuminated by a bright spot.

“I’ll leave you two alone,” Karen says. “Let me know when you’ve made your selection.” She closes the door behind her with a discreet click.

I walk toward a casket on the left, and Beth goes right. The large room is full of options. How am I supposed to make a choice? What criteria are even appropriate?

“Can you believe the price of these things?” Beth says after a few minutes, fingering a tag that hangs from the handle of a shiny casket made of rosewood.

“Shh! She’ll hear you.”

“She knows they’re overpriced. Why do you think she left the room?”

Excerpted from Hidden with permission of Lake Union/New Harvest. ©2013 by Catherine McKenzie. All rights reserved.
So, is page 69 of Hidden representative of the rest of the book? I’d have to say “yes” (I have to say that, right?). Page 69 is an excerpt from the scene where Claire - a recent widow - and Beth - her sister - go to pick out her husband’s casket. This is the last thing that Claire wants to be doing, but Beth is right to push her. This scene is emblematic of their relationship - Beth, the brash and confident one, taking care of Claire. There’s also some dark humour in the scene and we get some insights into Claire’s husband, Jeff, too. What would Jeff want for his funeral? Well, to find that out, you’ll have to read past page 69. Which is reason in and of itself to say that yes: this page would want to make the reader continue on. (But again, I feel like that for all of my pages…)
Visit Catherine McKenzie's website.

--Marshal Zeringue