Friday, September 21, 2012

"The Three-Day Affair"

Michael Kardos’s debut thriller The Three-Day Affair has received starred reviews from Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Publishers Weekly, which named it one of the best books of the fall. He’s originally from New Jersey and currently co-directs the creative writing program at Mississippi State University.

Kardos applied the Page 69 Test to The Three-Day Affair and reported the following:
Page 69 of The Three-Day Affair takes place during a flashback, when the main characters are in their freshmen year at Princeton and in the middle of committing a minor campus prank. This page depicts a moment of bonding for the guys but also reveals a bit of their hubris and naiveté—they’re unaware that their actions might have larger implications.
With one arm around a pack of toilet paper, and the other locked around the ladder rungs, I started to climb. It was ten or twelve stories at least to the top and slow going. I didn’t look down. Nolan and Evan stood lookout at the base of the ladder and failed miserably, because suddenly a deep voice was shouting at me to come the hell down off that ladder.

I looked down. My friends and a uniformed campus policeman and a few other passersby all were looking up at me from below. Way below. For a moment I froze. Then I dropped the package of toilet paper and began a slow descent.

The moment I was back on firm ground, the police officer shined his flashlight in my face and asked if I was a student.

I told him I was.

“Let me see your student ID,” he said.

He shined his flashlight on it, then on my face again.

I grinned widely.

“This isn’t funny,” he said, “so shut your fucking mouth.”

His manner startled me. University police, called proctors, were extremely well-trained men, gentlemen really, who knocked on dormitory room doors when parties became too loud and reminded us to please keep it down. They carried flashlights, not guns, and weren’t prone to gruffness. What we did not know then was that the prior spring, a student had fallen nearly to his death while climbing this exact fire escape, while in this same inebriated state. He was still in the hospital, and the family had filed a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the university. Our small prank therefore loomed large in the eyes of campus police.

We were freshman, though, and ignorant of any number of things that later would seem like common campus knowledge.
Learn more about the book and author at Michael Kardos's website.

Writers Read: Michael Kardos.

--Marshal Zeringue