Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"Ransom River"

Meg Gardiner writes thrillers, including the Evan Delaney novels featuring a smart-aleck freelance journalist from Santa Barbara, California, and the Jo Beckett series featuring a San Francisco forensic psychiatrist.

Gardiner applied the Page 69 Test to her new stand-alone novel, Ransom River, and reported the following:
In Ransom River, Rory Mackenzie's life is turned inside out when gunmen attack the courthouse where she's serving as a juror on a murder trial. The courtroom is held hostage, and though SWAT finally storms the building, the aftermath proves even more dangerous for Rory. She discovers that the attack is connected to an old case that has never been solved - and to her own family's history. And uncovering the truth might destroy her.

Page 69 finds Rory being interrogated by the Ransom River police after the siege is broken. As detectives question her about the gunmen who seized the courtroom, she becomes increasingly unsettled:
She seemed to hear a creaking noise, like a pin had been pulled from a support beam below her.

"I think they were working with somebody on the outside. Nixon kept looking at—” She spread her hands. "Do you know his name? Something else I can call him?"

"Nixon is interesting," Zelinski said. "We can go with that for now."

She paused. She wasn't imagining the good cop, annoying cop routine. "Nixon kept handling his phone. I got the impression he was sending text messages. And I heard them arguing."

Xavier said, "About what?"

"Whether the two of them should flee on their own. Nixon wanted to take hostages with them. He said, 'We leave by ourselves, we die.'"

"He probably meant he wanted human shields."

Rory shook her head. "It was more than that. He insisted that they take the people who got tapped on the back. He said, 'The plan is the plan.'"

They didn't react.
This page gives a sense of the growing tension between Rory and a police department that thinks she's the attackers' inside man. If readers turn to it, they'll get a good idea of what the novel's about. So, Page 69: Yep, it hits the mark.
Learn more about the book and author at Meg Gardiner's website and blog.

Writers Read: Meg Gardiner (August 2011).

--Marshal Zeringue