Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"Dead Men’s Dust"

Matt Hilton is an ex-police officer and security specialist, and also a highly graded martial arts coach.

He applied the “Page 69 Test” to Dead Men’s Dust, the first of the Joe Hunter thrillers, and reported the following:
In my debut novel – Dead Men’s Dust – we follow Joe Hunter, a retired counterterrorism soldier as he searches for his wayward half-brother across the breadth of the USA. Hunter becomes involved in a cat and mouse chase after his brother falls hostage of a serial killer with grandiose plans. The killer, Tubal Cain, named after the biblical inventor of cutting instruments, has a penchant for harvesting bones from his victims.

Applying the page 69 test to Dead Men’s Dust, I had to think on whether or not it was indicative of the rest of the book. At first I thought it wasn’t, but on second viewing I decided that, yes, it did epitomise the mind set of the villain and give the reader a hint of the depravity he is capable of. Although Hunter doesn’t appear here, we get a sense of the kind of man that he is going up against. We find Tubal Cain in Santa Monica, prowling the world famous pier as he engages in a diversionary game of chance, selecting victims of a game he likes to play: a game that involves a knife. Even from these short couple of passages, I believe we get a sense of Cain’s mind and what will follow as he realises that he too is being followed.

From page 69:

She moved through the crowd with the fluid confidence that the masses would open before her. Sure, she was beautiful, but she had that innate disdain for the lesser mortals around her. Cain wouldn’t hold that against her, she was a person after his own heart. He would have loved to teach her that there was at least one among the crowd who would not give way so easily. Trouble was, she was too high profile. More than one man gave her a lingering glance. Some women looked too. But their stares were of the green-eyed variety.

The attention she commanded, it wasn’t a good idea to approach her. Someone would notice and remember. Guaranteed. An older woman sitting on a deck chair was much more viable. He took two steps towards her and stopped. Something registered. A flash of taupe passing by. He blinked slowly. The colour taupe wasn’t something that would generally cause concern. Not unless you were as cautious as Tubal Cain.
Read an excerpt from Dead Men’s Dust, and learn more about the book and author at Matt Hilton's website and blog.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue