Thursday, September 10, 2009

"Evidence of Murder"

Lisa Black is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and has been certified by the American Board of Criminalistics.

She applied the Page 69 Test to Evidence of Murder, her second novel featuring forensic scientist Theresa MacLean, and reported the following:
Page 69 of my book Evidence of Murder seems, at first glance, fairly atypical of the rest of the book. My heroine, forensic scientist Theresa MacLean, is usually found in her laboratory or at a crime scene full of blood and cops and the smell of recently fired weapons. But at the beginning of chapter seven she shows readers that forensic staff members have lives and feelings and obligations outside their jobs. She is at a birthday party for one of the many children of her many cousins, in a too-small, too-warm house full of voices and sugary pink frosting. Like me, she doesn’t mind, exactly, being there because she loves and respects her extended family, but like mine, they can be a bit overwhelming when found en masse.

The page hints at another reason Theresa is not fully comfortable: she has been in an emotional hibernation since losing her fiancĂ© eight months before—part of the fallout from her adventures in Takeover. So instead of doing the ‘let’s catch up’ thing with her cousins, she would rather talk to the only one of them who also happens to be a homicide detective—Frank—about whether or not video game wunderkind Evan Kovacic murdered his wife, beautiful ex-escort Jillian. Theresa discovered some interesting information earlier that day, courtesy of a man named Drew, Jillian’s ardent fan and unrequited love.

“Jillian’s grandparents left a huge amount of money to her baby, Cara. Like a million and a half huge.”

Frank shoveled another spoonful of potato salad into his mouth despite having made the comment earlier that potato salad was a summer dish and there was something weird about eating it in March. “So Jillian was rich? Then she didn’t marry for the money.”

Aside from the deceptively sweet setting, the page is both typical Theresa (temporarily stymied, worried, and trying hard to resist the pink frosting) and typical Frank (it would not even enter his head to resist the potato salad or the topic of murder at a child’s birthday party). But this appearance of a motive changes their view of the odd Drew’s accusation of Evan. But how did he do it? There’s no mark on the body and no chemical trace of poison or overdose. Could he have discovered the perfect way to murder?
Browse inside Evidence of Murder, and learn more about the book and author at Lisa Black's website.

The Page 69 Test: Takeover; My Book, The Movie: Takeover.

--Marshal Zeringue