Friday, September 2, 2011

"A Bad Night’s Sleep"

Author of the Joe Kozmarski mysteries – including the PWA/SMP prize-winning and Shamus-award finalist The Last Striptease and the critically acclaimed The Bad Kitty Lounge and A Bad Night’s SleepMichael Wiley grew up on the Chicago streets where he sets his books and lives now in northeast Florida.

He applied the Page 69 Test to A Bad Night’s Sleep and reported the following:
On page sixty-nine of A Bad Night’s Sleep, Chicago P.I. Joe Kozmarski returns home to an empty house. Page sixty-nine is an interlude, and so are pages seventy and seventy-one. And they are just about the only interlude a reader gets in this book. Joe has already witnessed a shoot out, already shot a cop, already gotten thrown into jail and released, already met up with a gang of bad guys, and already been seduced (or almost). After the little interlude, the book really speeds up.

But first, Joe gets a few minutes of quiet. He returns to his house on the northwest side of Chicago. He has been raising his eleven-year-old nephew Jason, and usually Jason would be there to greet him, but it’s hard to be a responsible parent when you’re shooting cops, getting thrown in jail, etc., so Jason is staying with Joe’s mom, and the house echoes with the boy’s absence. Jailhouse solitary confinement is no worse than a house with no sounds of life.

Joe wanders into the kitchen and sees the mostly empty cereal bowl that Jason left behind: “The milk had dried and the Cheerios had glued together and made a cake more solid than anything else in my life at the moment.” Joe strips off his clothes, takes a stinging hot shower, and climbs into bed. He closes his eyes. There’s nothing that a little restful sleep can’t make better. But he has uneasy dreams:
I was sitting at my office desk looking for a letter. Just a piece of paper with words on it. But I knew in my dream that my life depended on my finding it. I checked the desk drawers, the file cabinets, the carpet under the desk. The letter was gone. I got frantic and looked for my gun instead, stuck my fingers into an empty holster, checked the desk and file cabinets, patted my pockets. Gone too. The phone started ringing. Like it was in front of me on the desk, but there was no phone on the desk. It rang and I knew everything depended on my hearing the voice on the other end.
Then, Joe startles awake, and the phone really is ringing, and soon Joe is back on the street running, chasing, looking for answers that he won’t find for another two hundred pages, if ever.
Learn more about the book and author at Michael Wiley's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Last Striptease.

My Book, The Movie: The Last Striptease.

Writers Read: Michael Wiley.

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

--Marshal Zeringue