Thursday, June 19, 2008

"Tell No Lies"

Julie Compton, a debut novelist, practiced law in St. Louis, Missouri, and most recently worked as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Tell No Lies, and reported the following:
Thanks to Marshal for inviting me to discuss Page 69 of my novel, Tell No Lies. I must admit, given the name of this blog, I was a little skeptical when he first approached me to participate – but hey, maybe that says more about me than him!

Tell No Lies is the story of family man and lawyer Jack Hilliard, an assistant DA who seems to have it all until he finds himself simultaneously seduced by a dream job and a tempting woman. Jack soon learns how easy it is to compromise his values and comfortable life for ambition and desire. When the object of Jack's obsession is charged with a heinous crime, and he's the only one who can prove her innocence, he's trapped between saving a friend and protecting his family and career.

Is Page 69 representative of the novel? Yes, I think so, as I'll explain below.

The first part of Page 69 is the tail end of a conversation between the main character, Jack, and the object of his obsession, Jenny. At the start of the novel, the two of them share an intimate but forbidden kiss in a parking garage, and their meeting on Page 69 is the first one since that fateful night. Each is trying to pretend the intimacy was meaningless and that they hold no attraction for one another. This scene is a snapshot of the sexual tension that exists between them and continues to intensify as the story unfolds.

The second part of Page 69 is the beginning of a scene between Jack and his boss, Earl. Earl is trying to convince Jack to run for District Attorney. Even though Jack has told Earl he's not interested (because of his opposition to capital punishment), he has nevertheless agreed to a meeting with party hacks who will help him should he decide to run. In this scene, Jack returns from his lunch with Jenny to find Earl in his office, ready to confront Jack with this inconsistency. The questions posed by Earl on this page are questions that go to the heart of Tell No Lies: "What could be going through his mind?" "What could he be thinking?" "How does he view the world?" Ultimately, it's my hope that the reader will ask these same questions about Jack and other characters as they make their way through the novel.
Read an excerpt from Tell No Lies, and learn more about the novel and author at Julie Compton's website and her blog.

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

--Marshal Zeringue