Saturday, December 22, 2007


Ron Chudley's books include Old Bones (2005) and Dark Resurrection (2006). He has written extensively for television and for the National Film Board of Canada and has contributed dramas to CBC Radio's Mystery, The Bush and the Salon and CBC Stage.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his latest book Stolen, and reported the following:
Page 69 of the book is very indicative of the mystery and search that is the body of the book, and is well worth quoting, almost in its entirety ...

By the time the MG was meandering along the near-deserted streets of his destination, it was night. Foothills Industrial Park was huge, an entire suburb of factories, warehouses and miscellaneous industries. John’s stamina was ebbing, his patience just about gone. Nevertheless, when he got to the address he’d written down, immediately – and with vast relief that the journey was done – he found what he was looking for. It was a large corner lot surrounded by a high wire-mesh fence. A number of trucks were parked inside, and some unhitched trailers. To one side there was a freight warehouse. The front section of this was an office. Everything was closed and deserted but on the building was a clear sign: BOW RIVER FREIGHT LINES.

When he saw this, John’s heart began to pound. Also, unexpectedly, he experienced a rush of apprehension. Next door, a lane led deeper into the block. It was dark, shielded from the well-lit yard by the freight office, which backed onto it. Without thinking, John swung into the lane and stopped. He cut the engine and doused the lights. His stomach was in a knot. His hands shook. Simple reaction, he knew, but somehow it didn’t help.

Five minutes later, the shaking had stopped but now he was feeling like a fool. What was he doing, skulking in the dark? Come to that, why had he come here tonight anyway? Even without messing up the route, he’d have arrived long after business hours. He must have known that before starting out.

But he’d had to come. Seeing the company name in the phone book was one thing, being here quite another. Even though there was nothing to be done, arriving at the physical location of the only clue to Nate’s vanishing, made his belief more tangible.

The plot of Stolen is as follows:

John Quarry is on vacation with his small son when a tragedy occurs: during an overnight stop in the Fraser Canyon, the child is lost in the river. The coroner’s verdict is death by drowning, though the body is never recovered.

John stubbornly refuses to believe his son is dead – and he is right: the drowning has been ingeniously staged. A rich couple have stolen the child for their own.

With little hope, zero credibility and but a single clue, John sets out on a desperate search. The quest leads from BC to bustling Calgary, where he is arrested, Alberta’s Badlands, where he is nearly murdered, and ends in the foothills of the towering Rocky Mountains, where he is forced to undertake a last, perilous journey.

To save his son’s life – and his own – John must be more than brave, better than clever: he needs the blind faith found only in a parent-in-extremis. Fortunately, though lacking in much else, John has a lot of that.
Learn more about Stolen at the publisher's website.

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

--Marshal Zeringue