Friday, October 8, 2010

"Dream Queen"

Betsy Thornton is the author of the Chloe Newcombe Mystery series.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Dream Queen, and reported the following:
In Dream Queen, Chloe Newcombe travels from New York City to see her ex-con brother Danny who, uncharacteristically, is living in Dudley, a small town in Arizona-—staying in a house that belongs to their dead brother’s lover Hal, a saint-like individual who Chloe worships. Danny meets her at the airport accompanied by his gorgeous but spacey girlfriend Kristi. They stop for dinner at a small town halfway there and Danny vanishes. Kristi and Chloe search for him but finally give up and continue on to Dudley. When Chloe wakes up the next morning Kristi too has vanished.

Hal appears—he works in Tucson and stops by from time to time. They try to figure out what has happened to Danny and to Kristi.

Chloe begins a search for her brother that takes her to Tucson, to L.A. and back again. The more she learns, it seems the less she knows-—what she has thought was reality is only an illusion.

Page sixty nine is a chapter beginning-—Chloe has spent the day before traveling back to the little town where Danny vanished, asking around about him there and in Dudley. She wonders where Kristi is. The next morning she gets up late and questions Wally, a man who is renovating Hal’s house. Most of page 69 involves talking to Wally, who is a bit character. It’s interesting, however in connection with the theme of the book that Wally appears to her initially on the page as a white man, literally, rather than who he really is. See below:

I slept till sun filled the bedroom, then I woke with a start, saw from my watch it was nearly eleven and felt full of guilt that I’d slept late instead of looking for Danny. But at least Hal was coming, coming soon, this very afternoon. From the thumps and bumps coming from the other room, I gathered Wally had already arrived.

I got up, dressed and went out into the main room.

“Wally?” I called.

A white man appeared from the office, literally white like a mime: his face and glasses and bandanna were white and only his nose seemed to have escaped powdering. He took off the bandanna and wiped off some of the dust and there was Wally. ”Hi there, Chloe. What’s up?”

”I guess Danny didn’t call or anything?” I asked without hope.

Wally shook his head.

“And Kristi? Is she here?”

“No. ma’am.”

“Where the hell is she?” I said.

I was annoyed with him, with this apparent inability to notice
Read an excerpt from Dream Queen, and learn more about the author and her work at Betsy Thornton's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Song for You.

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

--Marshal Zeringue