Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"A Cure for Night"

Justin Peacock received an MFA from Columbia University and a law degree from Yale. Prior to attending law school, he worked as an online producer at the New York Times. His legal experience ranges from death-penalty defense to First Amendment cases.

He applied the Page 69 Test to A Cure for Night, his debut novel, and reported the following:
A Cure for Night primarily revolves around a murder trial. On page 69, the two public defenders who are the novel's main characters, Joel Deveraux and Myra Goldstein, are in the middle of interviewing one of the witnesses against their client. The witness, Latrice Wallace, is the sister of a drug dealer who their client, Lorenzo Tate, is accused of shooting. Latrice has told the police that Lorenzo had come looking for her brother on the night he was shot. It's not until page 70 that this interview bears fruit, as Latrice casually mentions something which the lawyers think may help their defense.

Any novel is made up more of building block passages than it is tour de force passages, and page 69 of my novel definitely falls into the former category. A Cure for Night is a legal procedural (among other things), and page 69 is certainly emblematic of that aspect of the book. The novel is intended as a realistic look at how criminal defense lawyers build a case: conducting witness interviews, running down leads, testing out theories. The defense attorneys methodically double-check the police's work, looking for cracks in the prosecution's case, which is what they are doing on page 69. The book also addresses the disconnect between truth-telling and storytelling in constructing a legal defense, and the scene does exemplify that to some degree as well.
Read an excerpt from A Cure for Night, and learn more about the book and author at Justin Peacock's website.

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

--Marshal Zeringue