Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Rescuing Olivia"

Julie Compton is the author of the legal thriller Tell No Lies, set in her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. An attorney by profession, she most recently worked as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice in Delaware and now lives with her family near Orlando, Florida, where she is the proud owner of a Kawasaki Vulcan 500.

She applied the Page 69 Test to Rescuing Olivia, her new novel, and reported the following:
Kirkus Reviews aptly called Rescuing Olivia a hybrid between a modern-day fairy tale and a contemporary thriller. It's a novel about an unassuming Florida biker, Anders, whose girlfriend Olivia mysteriously disappears from the hospital after a suspicious motorcycle accident. In his search for answers, he unearths her traumatic past only to find it shares similarities to his own that he's spent years trying to forget. He finally accepts he must face his own demons if he is to have any chance of saving Olivia from hers.

Is Page 69 representative of the novel? Indeed, I think it is. The passage takes place the morning after Anders was told by Olivia's father that she had died from her injuries. In despair, Anders showed up drunk in the middle of the night at his friend Lenny's house. Page 69 begins with Anders waking up, hung over, on Lenny's couch.
"Andy's up," Joey announced.

The boy padded from the kitchen in his bare feet and climbed onto the couch with him.

“Hi, Andy.”

“Hi, Joey.”

Anders grunted when Buster, Joey’s large Labrador given by Lenny as a guilt gift just after his divorce, leapt up to the couch with his small master and landed on Anders’ gut. The dog panted its bad breath on his face, and he tried unsuccessfully to push it away. He'd wanted nothing to do with dogs since the day Levi died.

“Your bike got wet,” Joey informed him.

He groaned again and sat up to escape the dog, but the movement caused a pounding against the front of his skull. He noticed the full beer bottle from the night before still on the coffee table, and the sight of it made his stomach turn.

“I moved it to the breezeway for you,” Lenny called from the kitchen, picking up on Joey’s comment. He came in with a mug of steaming coffee; his hair and T-shirt still showed the evidence of his trip into the rain.

Anders nodded thanks and took a sip. “What time is it?”

“It’s still early, about seven thirty.” Lenny motioned his head toward Joey by way of explanation. “Sorry.”

Anders grabbed Joey and pulled him close for a hug. Joey squealed but let him do it.

“Did I wake you up last night, buddy?”

“Dad thinks so, but no. I was already awake.” He waited until Anders released him, and then he asked, “It is true that Olivia died?”

Anders looked in Joey’s eyes and swallowed. How did such questions come so easily to little kids? Adults could dance around something for days. “Yeah.” His forehead continued to throb; his nose felt congested and he wanted to be outside, on his bike and heading back to the house. He couldn’t feel her presence here like he could at the beach. He tried to remember why he'd decided to come to Lenny’s, but the night before was a blur.
This passage provides important foreshadowing of events to come. There is mention of Levi, which the reader knows from an earlier scene was Anders' mother's dog, and that it died when Anders was a boy. The reader doesn't know the circumstances of Levi's death, only that Anders is still disturbed by it. The passage also features Lenny, Anders' best friend and the person he goes to when he feels overwhelmed by the task of finding answers about Olivia. Lenny plays an even more crucial role as the novel progresses. Finally, the reader sees a bit of Anders' relationship with Joey, Lenny's son, a relationship that will have a subtle but important influence on Anders later in the story.
Read an excerpt from Rescuing Olivia, and learn more about the book and author at Julie Compton's website and her blog.

The Page 69 Test: Tell No Lies.

My Book, The Movie: Tell No Lies.

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

--Marshal Zeringue