Monday, July 12, 2010

"The Insider"

Reece Hirsch’s debut legal thriller The Insider was published in May by Berkley Books.

He applied the Page 69 Test to the novel and reported the following:
In The Insider, San Francisco corporate attorney Will Connelly becomes an unwilling participant in a criminal scheme that involves Russian mobsters, insider trading and a secret government domestic surveillance program. Will’s well-ordered life (he’s just made partner) is turned on its head and he must question whether he can trust his law firm colleagues and everyone he meets.

That’s what’s happening on page 69, where Will is struggling to work out whether he can trust Katya, a Russian woman that he picked up in a bar the night before. Fortunately for Will, he guesses correctly here. I don’t consider this much of a spoiler because, after all, it’s only page 69 and Will began doubting Katya almost as soon as he met her.

The scene is mostly dialogue and is set in the midst of a crowd of tourists watching the sea lions at Pier 39. I think this scene passes the page 69 test because it prompts that all-important question that readers should be asking when reading a thriller – “What happens next?”

Page 69:
Katya looked up at Will as she made room for two little girls crowding to the railing to get a better look at the sea lions. She extended her hand, and he took it.

Then Will lifted Katya’s hand and examined her wrist where Nikolai had grabbed her. There was no bruising, no marks at all. By itself, it was not decisive, but it was enough to tip the scales.

“I think you’ve been lying to me,” he said.

“Why would you say that?”

“There are no bruises on your wrist.”

“Maybe I don’t bruise so easy.”

“No, it’s not just that. It’s everything. I just don’t buy it. I think you’re working with Yuri and Nikolai. I think you knew that they were coming to your apartment this morning. It was all an act for my benefit.”

“So it’s all about you, is it?” Katya said. “That sounds a little paranoid, doesn’t it?”

Will simply stared at her. Katya stared back at him from behind her sunglasses for a long moment.

“Okay, you’re right,” she finally said with a shrug of her shoulders. “I do work with Nikolai and Yuri. But everything that I told you about them is true.”

“Why should I believe a word that you say? You want me to be scared of them.”

“Obviously, it’s your decision, Will.”

Still adjusting to his newly revised vision of Katya, Will was silent.

“I may not be your friend, but I’m not your enemy, either,” Katya added. “Not really.”
Read an excerpt from The Insider, and visit Reece Hirsch's website.

Writers Read: Reece Hirsch.

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

--Marshal Zeringue