Sunday, January 6, 2008

"Who is Conrad Hirst?"

Kevin Wignall is the author of the novels, For the Dogs, People Die, Among the Dead, and Who is Conrad Hirst? as well as a number of acclaimed short stories.

He applied the Page 69 Test to Who is Conrad Hirst? and reported the following:
P69 of Who is Conrad Hirst? opens with the line, "She squeezed her hand into the pocket of her jeans and pulled out a key, holding it up for him to see." The page is part of a scene in which Conrad and a French woman called Delphine find each other at the house of a man called Freddie Fischer. They're weighing each other up but also trying to work out why Freddie isn't there. Actually, Conrad has a pretty good idea why he isn't there - "Whatever the explanation, Conrad sensed that Freddie wouldn't be back at all."

In some ways it's a typical page, covering the confusion and suspicion that provides the backdrop to most thrillers, but I was disappointed somehow when I turned to P69 and found this. Conrad seems quite relaxed and together, with little hint of the dislocated violence that punctuates his actions, and equally little to suggest the hopelessly wounded romantic who opens the book with an expression of love. It's something of a transition page.

Maybe that's the trouble with judging a book by a randomly selected page - as much effort as we put into every page, we still have to move the furniture and change the scenery. I prefer you to judge me on the start, but if you're gonna judge me on a page from mid-book, how about P88?
Read an excerpt from Who is Conrad Hirst? and learn more about the novel at the Simon & Schuster website.

See Kevin Wignall's website to learn about his books and stories, and check out his posts at the group blog Contemporary Nomad.

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

--Marshal Zeringue