Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Envy the Night"

Michael Koryta's debut novel Tonight I Said Goodbye earned an Edgar nomination for best first novel and won the Great Lakes Book Award for Best Mystery. He is also the author of three Lincoln Perry novels.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Envy the Night, a standalone, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Envy the Night is an intriguing sample of the book because it features a shift from one point of view to another, and yet neither is the point of view of the protagonist, Frank Temple III. Frank, whose father was once a highly regarded U.S. marshal before an FBI investigation revealed that he'd made a series of contract killings for an organized crime figure, has returned to a secluded lake cabin that was once sacred ground for his family. In the first point of view on page 69, we see Grady Morgan, the FBI agent who brought Frank's father down and then attempted to push the case farther with some questionable methods, dealing with guilt over the past and fear for how it will impact the future. In particular, Grady is afraid that Frank III is responsible for a recent murder.

"I should have asked about the wounds," he said aloud, talking to his empty apartment. That would have settled it. Because if there'd been more than an inch or two between those bullet holes, then Frank Temple III hadn't been pulling the trigger.

In the second point of view, we jump from Chicago to the Northwoods of Wisconsin, where Ezra Ballard, an old family friend of the Temples and former combat partner with Frank's father in Vietnam, is reflecting on his work with the hunting dogs who are now his only companions.

The dogs were Ezra's family. More than pets, more than friends. And when the air turned chill as fall began to lose its early skirmishes with winter, and the dogs bayed long and loud in the dark woods, Ezra with gun in hand as they chased their prey? Then, the dogs were something altogether nearer to his heart: comrades.

While the page doesn't address the main plot of the book or even show the protagonist, I do think it gives a glimpse of the book's engine, the themes of legacy and how the actions of one generation reach out to tamper with the next. I'd like to think a reader would be interested enough to continue.
Read an excerpt from Envy the Night, and learn more about the author and his work at Michael Koryta's website.

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

--Marshal Zeringue