Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"The Spy Who Left Me"

Gina Robinson's books include Spy Candy, Spy Games, and The Spy Who Left Me.

She applied the Page 69 Test to The Spy Who Left Me and reported the following:
The Page 69 Test is a fun exercise to run on a book. It certainly makes a writer think about making every page exciting. Page 69 of The Spy Who Left Me is the last page of Chapter Five. Because the page begins in the middle of Tita's block of dialogue, I've put in her entire dialogue paragraph, including a few lines from the page before, so that it will make more sense.

Here's the setup—the hero, Ty, is a spy on a mission in Hawaii. He's undercover as a tour guide working for Tita at her wedding plantation. Tita has no idea Ty's a spy. Treflee is his wife. Although she's still in love with him, she's trying to divorce him without blowing his cover.

Due to circumstances beyond their control, Treflee and Ty must pretend that they just met at the plantation and have no prior relationship. Mrs. Ho runs the neighboring wedding plantation and is Tita's fiercest competitor in the wedding industry. Unknown to Tita and Treflee, Mrs. Ho is also a dangerous member of an international group of terrorists that Ty is trying to stop.

The night before this scene, an assassin has tried to strangle Treflee with a plastic lei in her room. Ty is trying to pass off the bruises on her neck as having come from an accident on Mrs. Ho's property. Suspicious, Mrs. Ho has sent a basket of Hawaiian goodies to Treflee to make amends and to plant a listening bug in Tita's establishment.

The Spy Who Left Me, Page 69:
Tita waved a hand. “Thoughtful?” She shook her head. “No, Mrs. Ho thinks only of harmony and avoiding a lawsuit. You got hurt on her property. Her harmony is out of balance. For her own sake, she owes you something to make you whole. She should have come herself to make sure you’re okay, not sent a boy with a basket.”

“Speaking of the basket, I’ll just take this upstairs for you.” Ty turned.

“Wait! I’d like a look.” Treflee tried to stop him.

“It’ll be in your room.”

This was the problem with being married to a spy. They were suspicious of everything. He was probably going to paw through it looking for bugs or who knows what. And she’d just bet he’d take the good stuff for himself.

Treflee let him go. She’d find out what he was up to later. She smiled at Tita. “Even so, I’d better write a thank-you.”

“First, you eat. Or you’ll never make it through your surfing lesson today.”
Page 69 is only a half-page, but even in this brief scene some of the humorous feel of the book comes through. And it's clear that Treflee isn't pleased with being married to a spy and is suspicious of all his actions. She's also being pulled into his world of intrigue and used as a pawn to get to his enemy. That's good.

The rivalry and dislike between Tita and Mrs. Ho also comes through, as well as a hint of the tropical Hawaiian vacation feel of the book. Pick up a copy of The Spy Who Left Me and discover for yourself the humor, suspense, and romance that make this book a fun spy romp.
Learn more about the book and author at Gina Robinson's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue