Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"Kiss Her Goodbye"

Robert Gregory Browne's debut novel is a thriller titled Kiss Her Goodbye.

He applied the "page 69 test" to the book and reported the following:
Page 69 of Kiss Her Goodbye, as it turns out, is one of the few lulls in the story. The hero, Jack Donovan, takes a moment to reflect on a few things about his life and relationships. Shortly after this, a pivotal event turns Donovan's world upside down. And he's about to take a journey that very few of us ever experience and get a chance to talk about it.

Kiss Her Goodbye is a metaphysical crime thriller. The story of an ATF agent whose daughter is kidnapped and buried alive, and the very unusual lengths he must go to in order to save her.

Page 69:

Anyone entering Donovan's office would realize that he had a serious obsession. He sometimes joked that he was a stalker with a badge, Gunderson's Number One Fan. Now if he could only tie the bastard to a bed, grab a sledgehammer, and hobble his ankles.

Donovan glanced at the mess atop his desk and sighed. More police reports, a stack of aging newspapers neatly folded to the crossword puzzle, a couple of federal procedure manuals. Amidst the chaos, a smiling freckle-faced six-year-old stared up at him from a framed photograph. It was an old one, but one of is favorites.

His daughter, Jessie. In better times.

Despite their problems, Donovan thought of her as his salvation. His only lifeline to a normal world. A line that, unfortunately, was a little frayed at the moment.

Which reminded him. He checked his watch, looked up at Rachel. "Any word from the wayward one?"

"Not so far."

"She's running late."

Rachel shoved the file drawer shut. "They always run late at this age."

"Oh? You read that in the manual?"

"I'm studying up, just in case." Rachel was divorced and childless. Donovan had no idea what kept her from taking another dive into the deep end of the pool, but it certainly had nothing to do with looks or personality. Maybe she was simply as puzzled by relationships as he was. Whatever the case, she was a good sounding board for his parental insecurities.

He glanced at Jessie's photo again. "You think I'll ever see the day she actually wants to spend time with me?"

Rachel raised an eyebrow. "You're lucky any of us do."

Donovan shook his head and smiled as she gathered up an armload of files and headed for the door. Shifting his attention to the collage on the wall, he stood up, grabbed the cluster of darts adorning Gunderson's forehead and pulled them free. "Tell me something, Rache."

She turned, waited. She looked good framed in the doorway like that, her straight, dark hair parted at the side and cut just below the shoulder. Her brown eyes were always bright and clear and attentive. And her body...
Read the first three chapters of Kiss Her Goodbye online and check out other features at Browne's website.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue