Sunday, October 23, 2011

"Where All the Dead Lie"

J.T. Ellison is the international award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Taylor Jackson novels, multiple short stories and has been published in over twenty countries.

She applied the Page 69 Test to Where All the Dead Lie, the latest Taylor Jackson book, and reported the following:
It really is amazing to see how consistently page 69 is a turning point in so many books.

When I opened Where All the Dead Lie to pg 69, I groaned. In the previous six novels, it was such an important page – obviously integral to the story. Now my books have changed format, and pg 69 hits in a different part of the narrative. On the surface, pg 69 of Dead Lie looks innocuous, and not at all related to the rest of the book – a dark gothic suspense set in Scotland. On this page, Taylor Jackson is still in Nashville, still struggling with the fact that she has no voice, and has just fielded an offer to travel to Scotland and continue her recovery at Memphis Highsmythe, the Viscount Dulsie, ancestral home in the Highlands. A woman has just been hit by a car, a hit and run, one small part of a subplot that runs through the book. But as I reread the page, and looked a bit deeper, I saw why it was so important. Taylor can’t work. She’s been on medical leave from her job. And her job is her identity. Though she actually witnesses the hit and run, her boss, Commander Huston, gives the case to one of her detectives.

It is in that moment that the decision is made for her. She must leave. Whether she wants to admit it or not, she’s now lost everything.
It took two full hours to get the scene under control. Taylor had remembered the license plate on the Jag, but a quick search revealed that the plates had been stolen off a truck that had been left out on Eastland Avenue overnight. East Nashville—half beautifully gentrified, half crime-ridden and dangerous. Taylor knew who’d win in the end. The stubborn landowners would force the drug dealers and prostitutes and ruffians out and be left with a quiet little oasis with excellent restaurants and cool shops. They were probably sixty percent there already.

The family of the woman, if that’s who they were, had clammed up. They wouldn’t say why they were coming to the courts, or who the woman was. Their faces were pinched, eyes darting, tawny skin white with fear, and Taylor knew without asking that they were probably all illegal. A search of the afternoon’s court docket revealed nothing that would explain the woman’s presence; no outstanding warrants matched her description, and no one had a Hispanic woman her age on their current case lists. She wasn’t on the rolls for jury duty. She was a mystery, and Taylor felt the stirrings of life at the idea of figuring out the story. But she wasn’t allowed. Without batting an eyelash, Huston gave the case to Marcus.

Dejected, Taylor let Sam drive her home.
Learn more about the book and author at J.T. Ellison's website and blog.

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

--Marshal Zeringue