Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Burn Me Deadly"

Alex Bledsoe grew up in west Tennessee an hour north of Graceland (home of Elvis) and twenty minutes from Nutbush (birthplace of Tina Turner). He's been a reporter, editor, photographer and door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. He now lives in a Wisconsin town famous for mustard and trolls.

Bledsoe's first novel, The Sword-Edged Blonde, is now available in paperback from Tor Books. He applied the Page 69 Test to its sequel, Burn Me Deadly, and reported the following:
Burn Me Deadly is my second novel about Eddie LaCrosse, a freelance “sword jockey” in a medieval fantasy world. He’s tough and cynical on the surface but not so much underneath. He has a tragic and violent past, some of it his own fault, and an ongoing relationship with a lady courier. He also has issues with horses. At the beginning of this novel, in a nod to Kiss Me Deadly, Eddie tries to save a young woman from mysterious thugs and ends up being left for dead beside her body. His attempt to find out who she was, and why she was killed, leads to complications both external and internal, and the last kind of showdown he ever expected to face.

Page 69 is the start of Chapter Five. Eddie has followed his lone clue (a glimpsed emblem on one of the bad guys’ boots) and learned about mysterious “dragon people” hunting for something in the forested hills outside town. He’s driven both personally and professionally: personally, because he had promised to help the woman who was killed, and professionally because he failed to do so. There’s also a bit of a spoiler on this page which I won’t describe.

The first two sentences:
Buddy had told the truth: the cut hit the canyon at a right angle, provided an easy ascent and led to a trail that ran along the cliff top. Smooth as it was, the damn horse still balked at it, and I’d have made faster progress had I let the nag ride me.
This is a fantasy novel, and works with a lot of the classic genre tropes. It’s also a mystery novel, down whose mean trails a man must go who is not himself mean, etc. But at heart it’s a story about a man trying to hold onto his belief in people despite the evidence to the contrary, and being rewarded in unexpected ways.

It also has sword fights, naked dancing girls and (maybe) fire-breathing dragons.
Read an excerpt from Burn Me Deadly, and learn more about the book and author at Alex Bledsoe's website and blog.

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

--Marshal Zeringue