Thoft intended to apply the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Duplicity, but that page presented some issues. So...
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Tucking the gun into the back of her waistband, she moved into the kitchen. Dishes and glasses were smashed on the floor, and pots and pans littered the counters. She didn’t even know the proper home for the kitchen items, having spent so little time there. The thieves had been considerate enough to leave some of her items in the fridge, including a cold diet soda. The hiss of carbonation was a reassuring sound, and she took a long drink before returning to the couch.For this visit to The Page 69 Test I have to break tradition. As luck would have it, page 69 of my new book Duplicity reveals too much! So, I’m taking the liberty of making this entry The Page 59 Test, which finds my protagonist, Fina Ludlow, sorting through her personal items in the aftermath of a break-in at her condo. Fina is a private investigator in Boston and works for her family’s firm of personal injury attorneys. She’s no stranger to the occasional dustup and doesn’t shy away from danger or confrontation, but the violation of her personal space is particularly galling. Was the perpetrator looking for something or just trying to send a message? Is the break-in related to her current investigation into an evangelical church that may be after its congregants’ money? Or maybe it was someone with whom Fina tangled in the past. Fina, in her typical fashion of pragmatism and good humor, sets about cleaning up the mess, but calls in reinforcements. Milloy—her best friend, personal masseuse, occasional operative and friend with benefits—knows that when it comes to putting her kitchen back together, Fina is in way over her head.
Milloy answered on the second ring.
“I have a question for you,” Fina said.
“Do you happen to know where I keep the drainy thing, you know, the thing you put spaghetti in?”
There was a long pause.
“The colander?” he asked.
“Yes! That thing.”
“It’s in the lower cabinet to the left of the stove.”
“I knew you would have the answer.”
“You could have just looked, genius.”
“Which brings us to the problem: I couldn’t have just looked. Everything that was once in the cabinets is now out of the cabinets.”
“Someone broke in and rearranged everything.”
“Do you want me to come over?”
“No, I’m good. I’ll just shove stuff back in.”
Milloy sighed. “I’m coming over.”
“You don’t have to. I’m good.”
“I’m not worried about you. I’m worried about how I’m going to find that drainy thing the next time I need it.”
“So selfish, Milloy. You only care about yourself.”
“I’ll be there in half an hour.”
Fina looked around Nanny’s living room and felt weary. Not because the place had been trashed, but because the suspect list was long: She had a knack for pissing off people. Fina was certain that the break-in was targeted and intended to send a specific message.
But it was hard to decode the message when there were so many possible senders.
The Page 69 Test: Brutality.