Thursday, August 6, 2009

"Trust Me"

Jeff Abbott is a three-time nominee for the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Allan Poe Award and a two-time nominee for the Anthony Award. His novel Panic was also been nominated for Best Novel for the Thriller Award. All of Abbott's Whit Mosley suspense novels have been honored with nominations for major writing awards: A Kiss Gone Bad was short-listed for the Anthony Award; Black Jack Point was nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, and Barry Awards; and Cut and Run was nominated for the Edgar Award. His first novel, Do Unto Others, won both the Agatha Award and the Macavity Award for Best First Novel. His other books include The Only Good Yankee, Promises of Home, and Distant Blood.

He applied the “Page 69 Test” to his new novel, Trust Me, and reported the following:
Lucky me: page 69 of Trust Me is a moment of high drama.

I decided in Trust Me to create a new kind of criminal profiler: one who profiles extremists. Luke Dantry is a psychology grad student trying to find and stop the next Timothy McVeigh, the next Unabomber, the next person to embrace mass murder as a solution to his problems. By delving online onto extremist web sites (there are thousands of them) and gathering names and identities, Luke hopes to create a way to keep extremists from turning to violence. Basically, he hopes to stop terror in its tracks. His motivation: he lost his father in a random act of mass murder. He never wants another family to suffer as he has.

Luke believes his computer has given him anonymity; that the bad guys are forever on the other side of the glass. But Luke’s online investigations have not gone unnoticed, and he is kidnapped by the very people he has targeted. Locked up and left for dead in a remote cabin, he cleverly manages to escape his leg shackles just as two extremists arrive to kill him. He is nearly clear of the cabin when one of the extremists, a woman, stops him. In this moment, Luke can no longer be simply a grad student playing at profiler.

He must fight to save his life—and he knows exactly how terribly dangerous and deranged his enemies here are. Still wearing shackles on his wrist, unarmed, he faces the woman who would be too happy to murder him:

Behind him the woman called, “You’re not very smart, are you?”

“I guess not.” Luke stood and faced her.

The woman wasn’t even bothering to point the gun at him. She walked close to him, and aimed the flashlight into his face. “Don’t take it the wrong way. I’m amazed you even got halfway free.”

So close, he thought. He noticed she wasn’t aiming the gun at him and wondered if she even considered him a threat. In a flash he thought: You’ve studied these people but you’ve never faced them. This is different than reading a book or a loudmouth posting on the Web. You can’t analyze them, you just have to fight them. Because you know what they’re like. Single-minded. Brutal. Reasoning hadn’t worked with Eric; it wouldn’t work with these two.

Luke felt the quiet scholar in him easing backward, something new and primal emerging.

“Mouser, he’s out here. Still in chains. Looks like he’s auditioning for ‘A Christmas Carol.’” She laughed, a glassy sick giggle. “He looks like Jacob Marley. Or was it Ziggy? I forget. C’mere, schoolboy.”

Luke jumped at her, hammering into her before she could lift the gun, shoving the flashlight so it smacked her in the face. He fell to the grass with her and lassoed a length of the chain around her neck. She swung the gun at him, nailing him in the head, but he was tall and strong and desperate. He got her in front of him, the chain a choker across her throat. He knocked her down, pried the gun from her fingers as he yanked her back to her feet.

For anyone who believes Luke is being ungentlemanly in fighting this woman—know that she is responsible for a devastating bombing that has killed dozens. She’s one of the worst villains I’ve ever written. Page 69 is the point in the book where Luke takes the first step in taking the fight back to the people who destroyed his family.
Read an excerpt from Trust Me and watch the video trailer.

Learn more about the book and author at Jeff Abbott's website and blog.

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

--Marshal Zeringue