Sunday, October 17, 2010

"Mister X"

John Lutz is the author of two private eye series, the Nudger series, set in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Carver series, set in Florida, as well as many non-series novels.

His SWF Seeks Same was made into the hit movie Single White Female, starring Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh, and his novel The Ex was made into the HBO original movie of the same title, for which he co-authored the screenplay.

Lutz applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Mister X, and reported the following:
The serial killer the media called Mister X mutilated his victims and then cut their throats. The killer also carved the letter X on them.

Then suddenly the murders stopped. The police got nowhere in their investigation, and Mister X went into the Cold Case file.

It’s five years later, and the case has heated up. It draws media attention. And the murders begin again.

Page 69 underscores the serial killer’s compulsion to control, as well as his gigantic ego. He considers himself invulnerable. He will succeed simply because he refuses to fail. Luck has nothing to do with it. That’s simply another word for fate. And fate is on his side because he is fate – the fate of his victims. He proves it with every death. With every example of his control.

On p.69 he’s been foiled in an effort to torture and murder his latest chosen victim, but he instantly seizes upon a rationale that turns failure to success.
Maybe he’d pay Mary Bakehouse another visit, and maybe he wouldn’t. She knew that he might, and that made the night a triumph.
Though the killer was unsuccessful in his attempt, he can regard it simply as step one in Mary’s murder. She lives a little longer, but only as his puppet.
Whether she lived or died depended entirely upon his whim. He remembered her complete loss of control, the warm urine escaping her body. They both recognized at that moment her fetid, trickling surrender.
“Complete loss of control” is an important phrase here. In a sense, the killer has already achieved his objective. He (and the reader) knows that it isn’t so much death his victims fear as loss; once they’ve been completely broken by terror, their lives in a sense have already been taken. The inevitable pain will come, and then the physical death, but their free will and independent existence are already gone.
She belonged to him. She understood that in the very depths of her soul, in the dark recesses of her brain where the demons played.

That was enough for now.
Read an excerpt from Mister X, and learn more about the book and author at John Lutz's website.

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

--Marshal Zeringue