He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, A Criminal Defense, and reported the following:
From page 69:Learn more about A Criminal Defense.Jennifer Yamura’s white teeth were flawlessly aligned, and the overall effect of her face was so striking that she could’ve been featured in one of those Korean Air TV commercials—except that her ancestry was Japanese.A Criminal Defense tells the story of a defense attorney–Mick McFarland—struggling to defend a former friend accused of murdering a beautiful young reporter, Jennifer Yamura. Page 69 is the only place we see Jennifer alive, and one of only two times, Mick met her before her death. The passage above, and the lines that follow (“She seems to be everywhere, all the time,” Jack said. “On the hunt, trying to bag the big scoop that will land her in the anchor’s chair”), demonstrate Jennifer’s ambition. Mick’s observation at the bottom of the page (“I looked across the room to see Jennifer Yamura talking to the mayor. She touched his wrists, laughing at something he said.”) hints that her primary investigative talent is the manipulation of men. And in the end, for Jennifer, it is her seductive skill that brings about her undoing. She plays the wrong man, setting into motion the events that will lead to her death, which ensnares Mick in a web whose unwinding requires him to construct a criminal defense based on deceit, blackmail and perjury. A criminal defense that is, itself, criminal.
She had planted herself in front of us and greeted Jack. “How have you been?”
“Well enough,” Jack answered coolly.
“And you’re Mr. McFarland, one of the rising stars of the criminal-defense bar.” Yamura said this with just enough irony to make it more cutting than complimentary.
“I’ve tried a few cases,” I said.
“Bet you have some good stories.” She smiled.
“Is that why you’re here?” I asked. “Looking for a story?”
“I’m here to support the cause. But, of course, I’m always looking for a story. You have one you want to share?”
I tried to think of something glib but fell flat.
Yamura persisted, asking questions about my practice. The inquiries seemed innocuous enough, but I got the distinct impression I was being studied, probed. Evaluated for my potential usefulness.
Jack turned to me after Jennifer Yamura had walked away. “That one’s radioactive,” he said. “She glows real pretty. Just don’t get too close.”