Saturday, October 8, 2011

"Half-Past Dawn"

Richard Doetsch is the bestselling author of thrillers, including The Thieves of Heaven, which is currently being developed for film by Twentieth Century Fox, and The 13th Hour, which will be adapted by New Line Cinema. He lives in New York with his family.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Half-Past Dawn, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Half-Past Dawn is actually the first page of Chapter 12 and if someone were to pick-up from that point it would pique their interest while giving a glimpse of the story and characters. It paints a bit of a picture of Jack Keeler and his wife and how they were regarded by friends and colleagues as they mourn their assumed death from atop a bridge; it touches on a deception that Jack and his close friend Jack Archer must perpetrate in order that they can save Jack’s wife and hints at the storm from the night before. Though page 69 provides no specific insight to the greater puzzle that entails a lost Asian culture, an assassin seeking to avenge his death sentence, nor a diary that may foretell the future, it gives a hint of the novel’s flavor like an aroma before Thanksgiving of the feast to come.

The best thing about flipping to page 69 is it would make you curious, it would make you read on, it would make you flip back to see what is going on; a quality which is the essence of the story: a large mystery that is in constant flux that goes in directions no one sees coming.

Page 69:
Frank hustled down the long embankment that led to the river’s edge. The churning waters were still near flood stage after the previous night’s rains, inhibiting the recovery effort that was already well underway. He had parked his jeep a quarter mile up the road behind a string of emergency vehicles, flashing his old police badge to gain access to the site. Frank looked up at the crowd that stood upon Rider Bridge in silent, rapt attention. They were not the usual rubberneckers, the morbid curious hoping to see a body. They were a mix of law enforcement, friends of Jack and Mia from the FBI, DA’s office, and both local and city police. Even from his fifty yard distance, he could see the grief in their faces, in their body language.

And as Frank continued to look, he felt an uneasy shame, a horrible feeling of deception for allowing so many to think the couple dead. He knew the pain he felt at hearing of his friends’ death and knew it was a communal feeling shared by all of their colleagues. Though he wanted to shout out Jack’s survival, he knew it would only further endanger Mia wherever she may be.
Learn more about the book and author at Richard Doetsch's website and blog.

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

--Marshal Zeringue