Thursday, May 24, 2007

"Hot Rocks"

Lev Raphael is the author of Tropic of Murder, Burning Down the House, Little Miss Evil, The Death of a Constant Lover, The Edith Wharton Murders, and Let's Get Criminal.

He applied the "page 69 test" to his latest novel, Hot Rocks, and reported the following:

Page 69 of Hot Rocks certainly has nouns, verbs, adjectives (and of course punctuation), that you'd find elsewhere in the book and is in that way representative. More to the point is the issue it raises about my professor sleuth Nick Hoffman involving himself once more in a murder investigation. This time he's discovered a body in the steam room of his up-scale health club, and is an obvious suspect. The investigating detective doesn't like him or his reputation so Nick feels compelled to do his own sleuthing. Unlike other amateur mysteries, this one spends significant time following the impact of the discovery on Nick, who is deeply traumatized. That’s a deliberate contrast to many amateur sleuth mysteries where the person finding the body is almost immediately over the shock and it's barely referred to again over the course of the book. That lack of emotional authenticity has always bugged me as a reviewer and mystery fan. Even seeing a car crash where nobody was killed haunted me for months afterwards – finding a body, even in a comic mystery, should mean something.

Visit Lev Raphael's website.

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

--Marshal Zeringue