Monday, July 19, 2010


Susan Hasler spent twenty-one years at the CIA, where she held a variety of positions including counterterrorism analyst. In 2004 she resigned from the CIA and now writes full time. Her short stories have appeared in The Beloit Fiction Journal, O. Henry Festival Stories 2005, and more.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Intelligence, and reported the following:
My novel, Intelligence, is about a small group of CIA counterterrorism experts, or bomb dissectors, working to stop the next big terrorist attack after 911. Page 69 is part of a flashback to the hours immediately after planes plowed into the World Trade Center. The bomb dissectors are pulling long hours trying to figure out what happened and what other threats might be pending. It has been particularly hard for Vivian, who is over forty years old, and eight and a half months pregnant with a child she has been trying to conceive for a decade. She’s torn between needing to take care of herself and her unborn child, and trying to do her job. At this point, her boss, Ben, pulls her into his office. She has a feeling he is about to dump a highly undesirable assignment on her just when she was thinking of going home for a few hours of sleep. When he leaves the room to get her a chair, she takes a handful of cherry Tums out of her pocket to ease her indigestion, but instead of taking them, she pries off the lid of his Starbucks mug and drops them in. She admits, “It was the petty revenge of the powerless, but it settled my stomach much more effectively than if I had swallowed the Tums myself.”

Her stomach quickly becomes unsettled, however, when she finds out that her assignment is to write an assessment on evidence that Iraq was behind the World Trade Center Attack. At first she thinks Ben is joking because there is no such evidence, but he’s dead serious. She will always regret being a good soldier and agreeing to do that assignment.
Learn more about the book and author at Susan Hasler's website.

Writers Read: Susan Hasler.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue