Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Parnell Hall is the author of the acclaimed Stanley Hastings mystery novels, the Steve Winslow courtroom dramas, and the Puzzle Lady mysteries. He has been nominated for the prestigious Edgar, Shamus, and Lefty awards.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Hitman, and reported the following:
Here are the first lines of page 69:


"I’m not a criminal attorney."

"I thought you liked homicide cases."

"I like representing defendants. Not pain-in-the-ass, meddling incompetents. I got a client on the other line. You get charged with this thing, give me a call."

A black sedan fishtailed to a stop as close to my feet as it could come without actually running them over. I was about to curse out the driver when MacAullif growled, "Hop in."

What's happening here? Stanley Hastings, the world's most put upon private eye, is being refused representation by his employer, attorney Richard Rosenberg . Stanley needs a lawyer because the hitman he was working for killed the mark right after Stanley had his cop friend Sergeant MacAullif run background checks on both of them, and MacAullif is picking Stanley up to take him to the crime scene to turn him in to the detective in charge of the case. Complicating the issue is the fact Stanley didn't tell MacAullif who these people were, so there is some confusion of who's who ("You're quibbling over words." "Yeah, the words are killer and victim.") Also complicating Stanley's life is the fact he followed the killer and victim to the address of the crime scene the night before, and the doorman can identify him under the name he gave: Rollo Tomassi. (Though the last actually happens on page 70)
Read an excerpt from Hitman and learn more about the book at the author's website.

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

--Marshal Zeringue