Thursday, March 15, 2007

"Baby Shark"

Baby Shark is the first volume in Robert Fate’s Baby Shark crime series that takes place in Texas in the 1950s.

Fate applied the "page 69 test" to Baby Shark and reported the following:
The conclusion to an important turning point in Kristin Van Dijk’s life occurs on Page 69 and is best related by starting on the page before. After months of searching, Otis Millett has finally located one of the gang that assaulted Kristin and murdered her father and Henry’s son. Otis asks Kristin to accompany him to a roadhouse to secretly confirm the man’s identity.

There were a dozen men and five or six women in the room, talking, smoking, drinking; the bartender was leaning across the bar acting foolish to amuse a hard-featured redhead.

I glanced at the seated customers. Didn’t recognize anybody. The ones standing were laughing, talking, moving in and out of the light. It wasn’t easy to sort them out.

My heart skipped a beat before it began pounding harder than I would’ve expected. I had a hard time catching my breath. Otis put his hand on my lower back like he thought I might collapse. My knees felt shaky, so maybe he was doing the right thing.

“He’s in there?” Otis asked in a whisper.

My mouth was dry.

“I think so.”

There were others in leather. But this fella had on a sleeveless Lost Demons jacket.

He was tall, gangly. He turned and I saw his spotted face. He was exactly as I remembered him. Exactly. Except this time he wasn’t rolling on the floor holding his crotch.

Otis spoke with his mouth near my ear.

“The asshole with the wild hair, right?”


“The guy with all the freckles. Next to the blonde?”


I felt strange, conscious of my breathing.

There was Scarecrow acting as if everything was perfectly all right. He hadn’t been involved in murder and rape. Not him. Not Scarecrow. He was standing there swilling beer and laughing as the sounds of that other night filled my head. The vicious laughter. The gunfire.

“That’s it then,” Otis said and guided me with firm hands back up the hall and out of the roadhouse.

I spoke to Henry when I got into the car and have no memory of what I said. I’d lost my focus. My ears were humming. As Otis drove us back to our truck, I opened my window and put my face in the night air. When I got it together and rolled up the window, Otis was talking, of course.

He was saying, “This was good. I know who I’m watching now. This guy Rusty’s the biker you call Scarecrow. That description helped me find him.”

“What you do now?” Henry asked.

“I follow him, Hank. One cucaracha means more cucarachas.”

“More cucarachas,” Henry said.

“Or maybe it don’t. This guy? Scarecrow? It’s like working cattle, ain’t it, Hank? You just cut one outta the herd while the others ain’t looking.”

I smiled when Otis laughed and wondered if it was time to make jokes.

“As far as having a sit down with him goes, that’ll happen when it’s supposed to. My guess is a few days. So get your plans together. Be ready when I call.”

“Fish or cut bait,” Henry said, his face as serious as I’d ever seen it.
Read an excerpt from Baby Shark and visit Robert Fate's official website.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Series.

--Marshal Zeringue