Black applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, That Darkness, and reported the following:
That Darkness is about a serial killer named Jack Renner and the forensic specialist who picks up his trail, Maggie Gardiner. Jack is a vigilante—he kills the worst of the worst, the criminals who have eluded conviction before and, he believes, will do so again. But he is not a Paul Kersey or a Dexter-type killer. He gets no pleasure from killing and works to make it as quick and painless as possible. He knows that criminals are usually a product of harsh circumstances. He doesn’t blame them any more than you would blame a rabid dog for having been bitten by an infected raccoon—knowing that all the same, the responsible thing to do is put it down.Visit Lisa Black's website.
Jack takes that responsibility seriously. He executes that responsibility with impartiality and, as much as he can manage, compassion. There is no reason to be cruel, to force the targets to die in dread and shame. He prefers instead to make them as comfortable as possible, ply them with any food or drink they desire, listen to their various takes on self-justification and then execute them without warning, without allowing time for fear. And this is what he is doing on page 69.
Jack is talking with Viktor, a cog in the international sex slave industry. The page gives insight into Viktor’s deprived and violent background as well as why, despite providing plotlines for countless B movies, wealthy college co-eds are not kidnapped by slavery rings. Why would thugs want to call attention to themselves when there are countries full of poor young girls who will voluntarily leap at any chance to escape their local cesspool? Viktor explains all this, as if his own depravity is only a natural outcome of the world’s circumstances, and Jack lets him talk until the man is as relaxed as he has probably ever been in his life. Viktor believes he has found a kindred spirit…but of course he has only sealed his own doom.
Maggie does not appear in this section, but she is there, waiting. She knows he exists, but even though she has the weight of the police department behind her Maggie has her own reasons for needing to tread lightly and carefully, keeping things to herself until she has an airtight structure, following fibers and footprints right up to Jack’s door. And what will happen then shatters the world of everyone in the book—especially Jack.
Writers Read: Lisa Black.