Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Susan Slater's books include the Ben Pecos Indian series and the Dan Mahoney mysteries.

Slater applied the Page 69 Test to Rollover, the second Dan Mahoney novel, and reported the following:
I love the page 69 “test”. I once took a workshop with editor/agent Donald Maass who said that there “must be tension on every page that you write—no matter what you write!” I assume that even meant cookbooks! Maybe something like “will the soufflĂ© fall?” Well, maybe not cookbooks but it’s great advice and absolutely needs to be taken to heart by mystery writers!

When I read this assignment, I couldn’t wait to turn to the sixty-ninth page of Rollover—and (thank God) I wasn’t disappointed. It’s the last page of Chapter Seven and ties up one of the first of several loose ends. Actually, it gives the name of a possible culprit who might have set up Dan Mahoney to be killed and fingers another. One of those “the plot thickens” sorts of events.

Dan who barely escaped with his life after a rollover accident (that wasn’t an accident) is trying to find out just who knew which route he was taking from Hobbs, NM to Wagon Mound, NM. He’s just called the insurance office in Hobbs where he wrapped up a case of insurance fraud for a United Life and Casualty satellite office. (See the first Dan Mahoney mystery, Flash Flood) And the secretary tells him someone called:
“Do you remember what she asked?”

“Well, they were planning a little welcoming get-together for that afternoon and it would make a difference which way you were coming. That is, the back way would get you there quicker but up through Albuquerque would be an easier drive—more four-lane.”

Lie number three. “And you told her I was taking the scenic route?”

“Yes, up through Roy. I remember you saying that you’d never seen the lesser prairie. And I mentioned that you’d gotten away early . . . She was so sweet and the party sounded so thoughtful.
The caller’s name was Amber and was a possible direct tie-in to the bank and one Lawrence Woods, its president. This page is loaded with foreshadowing and solves one aspect of who had him followed, cut his car’s hoses stalling him on the side of the road and then tries to kill him. In all modestly I’d move forward after this page and read on. Page 69 of Rollover passed the test!
Learn more about Rollover at the publisher's website.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Susan Slater & Toby and Tess.

--Marshal Zeringue