Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"So Cold the River"

Michael Koryta has won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Great Lake Books Award, and St. Martin's Press/PWA Best First Novel prize, while also earning nominations for the Edgar, Quill, Shamus and Barry awards. In addition to winning the Los Angeles Times prize for best mystery, his novel Envy the Night was selected as a Reader's Digest condensed book. His work has been translated into nearly twenty languages. A former private investigator and newspaper reporter, Koryta graduated from Indiana University with a degree in criminal justice.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new, standalone novel, So Cold The River, and reported the following:
The thing about Page 69 of So Cold The River is that there have been a crucial 68 pages preceding it, I mean just absolutely critical, couldn’t possibly have been cut, so you’ll really have to…

Oh, wait. Hmmm. You know, I’ll be damned. It’s really not a bad place to dive into the book. Now, don’t take that advice and skip those crucial 68 pages, but we really do have the gist of the opening here. On page 69, the novel’s protagonist, Eric Shaw, is faced with the first vision of the ghost who will plague him – and the towns of West Baden and French Lick, Indiana – for the remainder of the novel. While having a drink in the lobby of the West Baden Springs Hotel, bothered by headaches and unsettled by a recent disconnect between his own eye and his video camera’s recording capabilities, Eric’s attention is grabbed by a haunting violin melody. There’s a problem, though – the only instrument around is a piano. And the man playing the piano is, well, a little misplaced. By a century or so. He looks up, meets Eric’s eye, grins, and…
Eric opened his hand and the glass fell from it and hit the edge of the bar before dropping to the tile floor and breaking, sending splinters of glass in all directions. The moment the glass broke, the music vanished. Cut off in midnote, like somebody had jerked out a stereo power cord...
Away we go. Hopefully. You with me? I’d like the company. But go back and start at page one, would you?
Learn more about the author and his work at Michael Koryta's website and blog.

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

--Marshal Zeringue