Monday, October 1, 2007

"Our American King"

David Lozell Martin's novels include the international bestsellers Lie to Me and Tap, Tap and the critically acclaimed The Crying Heart Tattoo, The Beginning of Sorrows, and Crazy Love. Of Facing Rushmore (2005), Martin's eleventh book, Elmore Leonard said, "What I like best about a David Martin suspense novel -- and it will grab you, I guarantee -- is that the man knows how to write."

Martin applied the Page 69 Test to his new book, Our American King, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Our American King begins a pivotal chapter in the novel, describing the narrator, Mary, and her husband, John, walking into the District of Columbia from their home in a Northern Virginia suburban neighborhood where they had been starving to death. Most of their neighbors had already dead — all this in the aftermath of a national calamity that has left people to survive or die on their own with no law, no order, and no operating government. Americans live in fear of marauders whom John and Mary call Patagonians.

On Memorial Bridge we encounter the first people of the District. They’ve been propped in sitting and leaning positions along the concrete railings and sidewalks of the bridge. When we see that many are missing hands, missing arms, we know it was Patagonians that made these killings. A few of the bodies have been decapitated and propped into sitting positions on benches, holding their heads in their laps. Thus we are welcomed to the nation’s capital, by a boulevard of atrocities.

This passage from page 69 shows the horror of what the calamity has done to America. Today, we assume the stability of the United States as an unalterable given, that our country is somehow immune to the vagaries of history. Page 69 of Our American King is harshly written in an effort to shake the reader out of this assumption about the immutability of the United States — to make the reader think and wonder, oh my God, could that really happen here?
Read an excerpt from Our American King and learn more about the novel at the publisher's website.

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

--Marshal Zeringue