Monday, October 11, 2010

"And Then There Was One"

Patricia Gussin is the author of And Then There Was One, The Test, Twisted Justice, and Shadow of Death.

She applied the Page 69 Test to And Then There Was One and reported the following:
Page 69 of the super-psychological thriller, And Then There Was One, strikes at the heart of the story, dead on. To sum the story up in a sentence: Three nine year old triplets go into a movie theater and only one comes out.

Page 69 dives into the professional life of the Monroe triplets’ mother. She’s a forensic pediatric psychiatrist, who helped convict many child abusers during her career. Could taking her children be retribution? The Monroes are a biracial family, could racial bigotry play a role in the abduction?

Page 69 describes the interaction of Jackie, the ‘safe’ triplet with the daughter of a child abuser that her mother had helped put in prison. This chance encounter takes place at FBI headquarters as the Monroes work with the FBI to explore the dearth of leads as to who has taken Sammie and Alex. When Dr. Monroe realizes that the recently released ex-con may be the kidnapper of her daughters, raw emotions explode in front of the two confused young girls.

As the story goes on, the emotional scale ratchets up as the array of possibilities expand and contract as to who took Sammie and Jackie. Are they even alive? But in the background as the tension and fear and terror escalate, what is happening to Jackie, the safe triplet? Based on Page 69, the emotional of little Jackie is starting to disintegrate.

Here is Page 69 in its entirety:
too often among her small patients—multiple circles the size of a cigarette on the girl’s left arm.

“Tina?” she asked.

“Tina Watkins, ma’am,” Tina said, looking up with sad brown eyes.

Could this be the toddler she’d protected in court? The pitiful child, scalded, broken bones, cigarette burns on all four extremities.

Katie stepped forward to look closer at the scars. She had seen to it that this child had been placed in foster care.Months later, she’d concurred with the guardian ad litem that Tina be returned to her mother once the mother successfully completed rehab. And that was the last she heard until today.

“Mom, why are you staring?” Jackie asked. She’d gotten up to stand next to Scott. “Is something wrong, Dad?”

“We’re happy to meet you, Tina,” Scott said. “I’m Mr. Monroe, Jackie’s dad and this is her mom.”

Tina’s eyes got very big. “I saw you on television.” She pointed to Jackie. “You must be the triplet that didn’t get kidnapped.”

That’s why we’re here,” Jackie said. “To help the FBI find my sisters.”

“I hope they find them soon,” Tina said. “Me and my mom and my aunt said prayers for them.”

Katie was about to ask Tina where her mother was when a woman was buzzed though the security gate into the lobby.

“Here’s my mom,” Tina announced. “Mom, this is Jackie, the triplet that didn’t get kidnapped. And her mom and dad.”

Katie and Connie Watkins stared at each other.

“Dr. Monroe,” Connie spoke first, one hand on her chest, the other tightly clutching her tote bag.

Agent Camry moved to a position between these two women who had such a bizarre history.

“Where are my children?” Katie felt Scott’s hand press down on her shoulder.

“How would I know,” Connie said, shrinking back. “And neither does my husband. He’s in the hospital, for God’s sake. Why are you trying to destroy my family?”
On to Page 70.
Visit Patricia Gussin's website.

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

--Marshal Zeringue