Tuesday, February 14, 2017

"The Breakout"

Ryan David Jahn is the author of the novels Acts of Violence, which won the Crime Writers' Association John Creasey Dagger, Low Life, The Dispatcher, which was long-listed for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, The Last Tomorrow, and the newly released The Breakout.

Jahn applied the Page 69 Test to The Breakout and reported the following:
From page 69:
While the phone rang in his ear, he lit a Camel, took a deep drag, and spat a fleck of tobacco off the end of his tongue.

“George Rankin.”


“What’s the news?”

“Got some paperwork for you at the dead drop.”

“What kind?”

“Bank transfers, phone records, that kind of thing.”
Above is the first twenty percent of the sixty-ninth page of The Breakout, and while it presents a higher ratio of dialogue to action than the book as a whole, I also think it’s fairly representative, especially if you understand that the two men talking, George Rankin and Gael Morales, are DEA agents, the latter working undercover. The Breakout is a thriller about a Marine who travels to Mexico to kill the man responsible for his sister’s death and ends up in prison on trumped-up drug charges; it’s a thriller about the men in his platoon attempting to break him out. But that only explains the premise. On a different level the book is about the morality of violence and lies, those we tell others and those we tell ourselves to justify our actions. Gael Morales, the undercover agent leaving paperwork at the dead drop above, is living a double life, working for the head of a drug cartel he’s also trying to bring down, and because of this double life, he must lie to himself (and others) constantly. He must live as two men, both criminal and cop, and shift from being one person to another at a moment’s notice. Like other characters in the book, he finds ways to justify his own violence as being necessary for the greater good. In the brief excerpt above he is simply a DEA agent doing his job, but very few of the characters in The Breakout are exactly what they present themselves to be.
Visit Ryan David Jahn's website.

--Marshal Zeringue