Friday, May 1, 2009

"Fifty Grand"

Adrian McKinty is the critically acclaimed author of Dead I Well May Be, the award-winning The Dead Yard, The Bloomsday Dead, and Hidden River. McKinty was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and educated at Oxford University. After ten years in Colorado, he currently lives in Melbourne, Australia.

He applied the “Page 69 Test” to his latest novel, Fifty Grand, and reported the following:
The page 69 test was difficult for me and I'll tell you why. I hate looking at the finished copy of a book I've just written. I am physically unable to do it. When I go to a book reading I always read from the galley rather than the actual book because on the rare occasion when I have looked at a copy of the actual book I found a word I wanted to change or a comma that was unncessary or a line of dialogue that could have been cut for pace etc. When I read from the galley I can fool myself into thinking that I probably made those changes before the final proof was put together. Most normal people don't worry about that little stuff but it drives me into a paroxysm of humiliation and despair. To think that the whole world will be looking at that comma in the wrong place...yikes! Yes, I know this is a problem. Anyway just for you I did peek at page 69 of the real book and it appeared to be a chapter ending where "Maria" has just arrived in the upmarket ski town of Fairview, CO during a raid by the INS.

"Maria" has come from Mexico to work as an illegal in Fairview (which is a cross between Aspen, Vail and Telluride) but she's really there to investigate a hit and run which killed a family member of hers a few months earlier. A hit and run that was hushed up because of course the dead man was also a Mexican illegal whose life was worth less than nothing. Of course the dead man had secrets and she has secrets herself: she's not just a maid (she's really a cop) she isn't from Mexico and she's not called Maria.

The story came from my own experiences as an illegal immigrant in New York City, where I worked for three years in the underground economy and then from the decade that I lived in Colorado.
Learn more about Fifty Grand at the publisher's website, and visit Adrian McKinty's blog.

McKinty appears on Brian McGilloway's top 10 list of modern Irish crime novels.

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

--Marshal Zeringue