McLean applied the Page 69 Test to his latest novel, Mothers of the Disappeared, and reported the following:
“Fuck you, Dr Freud.”Visit Russel McLean's website.
That’s a hell of a way to start page 69, but at least we start with the idea that this isn’t a cosy kind of novel.
The page finds our protagonist – PI J McNee – discovering that actions have consequences. He is potentially responsible for the suicide of a man serving a life sentence for the murder of a young boy, and this is the page where Detective Wemyss chews him out.
Much of the page takes place in a greasy spoon café in Kirkcaldy. There’s a lot of meeting in cafes in the books, and I think that’s just because I want to be eating bacon rolls along with the characters. It's interesting, I think, that “despite the bad news, Wemyss’ appetite was unaffected” while McNee can barely eat and finds his coffee “sour-tasting.” Coffee is McNee’s lifeblood, and I’m not sure that much has stopped him demolishing a cup before.
Is it representative of the book? Yes, it moves the plot on, includes a copious amount of banter between characters with two opposing points of view and serves to deepen McNee’s sense of responsibility. It’s a pretty good page.
The Page 69 Test: The Good Son.
My Book, The Movie: The Lost Sister.