Monday, October 12, 2009

"Vengeance Road"

Rick Mofina is a former crime reporter and the award-winning author of several acclaimed thrillers. He's interviewed murderers face-to-face on death row and patrolled with the LAPD and the RCMP. His true-crime articles have appeared in the New York Times, Marie Claire, Reader's Digest and Penthouse. He's reported from the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, Africa, Qatar and Kuwait's border with Iraq.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Vengeance Road, and reported the following:
Vengeance Road is my tenth novel. It introduces a new series featuring Jack Gannon, a crime reporter at the Buffalo Sentinel. The Sentinel is a dying newspaper in a troubled industry and Gannon, who, years ago, was a Pulitzer finalist, aches to leave Buffalo for a job with a global wire service in New York City. When we meet Gannon he is pursuing the murder of a nursing student and the disappearance of a struggling single mother. Haunted by the disappearance of his own sister years ago, Gannon risks everything to root out a dark secret held by a decorated detective and the victims, whose fate is somehow tied to this beloved "hero" cop.

On Page 69, the Gannon has been suspended from his newspaper for refusing to give his shady editor the name of his source who tipped him to Detective Karl Styebeck being a murder suspect. Gannon’s story was retracted. Gannon was disgraced. We find him confronted by detectives after he had boldly argued with them at a news conference on the case. This point of the book illustrates Gannon’s grit and the challenge before him.

Vengeance Road - Page 69:

“Well look who we have here, Mr. Jack Gannon, the legend who almost won a Pulitzer. At last we meet, in the flesh.”

Michael Brent and Roxanne Esko were now standing next to him. He glanced around. No one else was in sight. Esko had car keys and a file folder in her hand.

“Quite an interesting story in your paper today,” Brent said. “Unnamed sources say the darndest things. Well, we heard something, too.”

Gannon let Brent fill the silence.

“We heard you got fired or something for writing fiction. Care to comment?”

“I stand by my story. I trust my source. It’s that simple.”

“No, it’s not,” Brent said. “Because you and your ‘source’, whoever they are, don’t have a clue about what’s going on. You don’t know jack shit, Jack.”

Gannon flipped to a clear page, poised his pen.

“Why don’t you enlighten me, Investigator?”

Brent stared at Gannon’s notebook, then at Gannon.

“Enlighten you? I think you have a hearing problem. Seems when you called me, I told you to hold off with your little tale there, said you’d save yourself a lot of grief.”

Gannon shrugged.

“So, how’s that grief working out for you today, Slick?”

Gannon didn’t answer.

Brent’s jawline tensed then relaxed as he stepped into Gannon’s personal space.

“You’d better get ready for more grief,” Brent said.
Read an excerpt from Vengeance Road, and learn more about the book and author at Rick Mofina's website.

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

--Marshal Zeringue