Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"Shake Off"

Mischa Hiller is a winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize in the Best First Book Category for South Asia & Europe. Raised in London, Beirut, and Dar El Salaam, Hiller lives in Cambridge, England.

Hiller's acclaimed, first thriller Shake Off has been called "deadly, poignant, and powerful" (The Economist),"Smart and tense and real enough to be scary" (David Morrell), and "A spy thriller of the highest class" (Charles Cumming).

He applied the Page 69 Test to Shake Off and reported the following:
To be honest when I was asked to do this I thought it was silly. Then, out of curiosity, I opened my book at page 69 and there is the last paragraph of chapter thirteen, which reads like this:
So you have to be on continual alert: every public place is a potential meeting place; every alley or public toilet could be a dead-letter drop; every street, store and restaurant needs to be assessed for its countersurveillance potential. You need to be constantly on the look-out for places to cache money and documents. Everyday objects must be considered potential concealers of microphones or cameras. Every person you meet could either be an agent wanting to get close or a possible recruit to the cause. Every woman that talks to you wants to trap you with the promise of sex. Every postcard has a hidden meaning. Everybody behind you could be following you, and it is your job to shake them off.
Now if you'd asked me to choose my own paragraph that sums up the protagonist's state of mind and gives some sense of the constant paranoia he lives with, as well as reflecting the title of the book and its theme, then I couldn't have chosen a better one. Perfect.
Learn more about the book and author at Mischa Hiller's website.

--Marshal Zeringue