Monday, March 29, 2010

"The 24th Letter"

Tom Lowe has written 7 screenplays and is an award winning documentary writer/director whose films have aired nationwide on PBS. The films include: The Sponge Divers of Tarpon Springs, River Into the New World, Feather Wars, The Last Cowboys and Zora’s Roots.

A False Dawn, his first novel published by St. Martin’s Press, introduced former homicide detective Sean O'Brien.

Lowe applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, The 24th Letter, and reported the following:
On page 69 of The 24th Letter, Detective Dan Grant turns to Sean O'Brien and says, "I've tracked a lot of criminals, met a lot of degenerates along the way, but I've never had to hunt for the devil."

Page 69, I believe, reflects the texture of the story as O'Brien has less than 84 hours to uncover clues to a crime that sent an innocent man to death row. Appeals have expired and the man will be executed in 84 hours. O'Brien is haunted by the old case because in his gut he wasn't sure if he'd caught the real killer. Evidence may not lie, but evil does, and when the original killer comes out of his lair, O'Brien is in a race to save two lives - the man on death row and his own.

Page 69 also represents the collateral damage that greed can cause in some people. An abused wife, the wife of a prison guard, receives a chilling phone call from her husband who is about to make a late night deal. Here's how this chapter on page 69 concludes:
Anita moved to the tattered couch. She lay in the fetal position, knees pulled up to her breasts. A single tear rolled down her swollen cheek and was absorbed by the worn cloth on the couch, the tiny spot indistinguishable from the others before it.
In my novels, I like to weave topical issues into the stories. For A False Dawn, the backdrop was human trafficking. In The 24th Letter, it is the death penalty. Since 1989, more than 250 people have been exonerated from prison because DNA testing found them innocent. Seventeen of these people were on death row. If they were innocent, it meant the real killers were still out there. Imagine what they could have been doing...

I hope you enjoy the second novel in this series, The 24th Letter.
Watch the trailer for The 24th Letter, and learn more about the book and author at Tom Lowe's website.

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

--Marshal Zeringue