Saturday, July 28, 2012

"Let the Devil Sleep"

John Verdon is a former Manhattan advertising executive who lives with his wife in the mountains of upstate New York. His first two Dave Gurney novels, Think of a Number and Shut Your Eyes Tight, are both international bestsellers.

He applied the Page 69 Test to Let the Devil Sleep, the third Dave Gurney novel, and reported the following:
I must admit that I felt a small twinge of uneasiness when the “Page 69” concept was explained to me. What if, when I looked at that specific location in Let the Devil Sleep, I discovered that it failed to meet the crucial challenge:

“Would a reader skimming that page be inclined to read on?”

If the answer should turn out to be No, then a hell of lot of rationalizing and fancy dancing would be required to emerge from the “test” with anything like a positive score.

However ... I’m relieved to be able to report that no fancy dancing will be required. Because page 69, in my opinion, is reasonably intriguing. First of all, it happens to incorporate a key element not only of Let the Devil Sleep but of the Dave Gurney thrillers in general: the odd nature of the crime scenes.

Among the distinctive features of my novels are their puzzle components, and the puzzles often begin with strange and contradictory evidence found at the murder sites. On page 69 of Let the Devil Sleep, for example, we learn that a variety of small toy animals have been turning up next to the victims of highway shootings.

On the same page we also get a hint that the fatal shots may have been fired from an unusual gun. In addition, we get a small taste of the edgy dynamic that exists between Dave Gurney and his sometime colleague Jack Hardwick. And we catch a glimpse of Gurney’s mixed feelings about being drawn more deeply into an assignment that was supposed to be simple but is rapidly turning into a monster.

Not a bad showing for one randomly chosen page! I hope you agree.
Learn more about the book and author at John Verdon's website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue