Friday, March 15, 2013

"Blood, Ash, and Bone"

Tina Whittle is a mystery writer working in Statesboro, Georgia. Her short fiction has appeared in The Savannah Literary Journal, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and Gulf Stream, which selected her story “Lost Causes and Other Reasons to Live” as the 2004 winner of their Mystery Fiction contest.

Whittle applied the Page 69 Test to Blood, Ash, and Bone, the third novel in the Tai Randolph series, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Chapter Twelve

The next morning dawned gray, with sodden dense clouds in a low sky. The weatherwoman said to blame the tropical storm hovering offshore east of the Gulf Stream, sending sunshine and thunderstorms in alternating bands of clear and foul weather.

I showed up at the driving range anyway, hopeful that the deluge would hold off long enough for at least nine holes. I gave my new driver a practice swing, then re-tucked the cell phone between my ear and shoulder.

John’s voice sounded frustrated. “Look, I didn’t have anything to do with Hope showing up at your hotel!”

“So you keep saying.”

“Because it’s the truth.”

“Then how . . . hang on a second.”

I fished a tee out of my pocket and stuck it in the ground. Trey watched from behind the line, sticking out like an Armani-clad sore thumb. He’d agreed to go on the course, but refused to wear golf clothes, insisting that he wasn’t golfing.

I jammed the phone back against my ear. “So you have no idea who might have been following me? Or how Hope found out where we were staying?”

“No idea at all.”

“You’d better be telling the truth, or I swear—”

“Whole truth, Tai. Why would I lie?”

“Good question. I gotta go. But keep your mouth zipped, you hear me?”
Q: Is this sample typical of the entire book?

A: It’s more like the calm before the storm, both literally and figuratively. So there’s simmering going on that comes to a full boil later.

Q: This woman seems familiar. What’s her name again?

A: Tai Randolph. She’s the narrator of Blood, Ash and Bone. You might remember her from The Dangerous Edge of Things (where she first honed her amateur sleuth chops) and Darker Than Any Shadow (where she encountered not only a vicious killer but a reticulated python).

Q: She runs a Confederate-themed gunshop in Atlanta, right? What’s she doing on a golf course with a tropical storm brewing?

A: She’s in Savannah, her hometown, for a Civil War Expo and Gun Show. She’s pursuing a Civil War artifact that could be worth six figures ... and which may or may not have a string of corpses attached.

Q: Who’s she arguing with on the phone?

A: That would be John, her ex. He hired her to track down this artifact, which he swears belongs to him. His ex-wife Hope has different ideas, and is stalking Tai and Trey at their hotel.

Q: About that Trey guy, the one in the Armani, the one definitely not golfing — he’s ex-SWAT, right? And he knows Krav Maga and usually carries a nine millimeter?

A: Yes. Trey has very definite ideas about personal space, and woe to those who violate his boundaries.

Q: Does he shoot anybody in this scene?

A: It’s a golf course — what do you think?

Q: I think he might.

A: Well, he doesn’t. That comes later, at the ... never mind. Read the book.
Learn more about the book and author at Tina Whittle's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Darker Than Any Shadow.

--Marshal Zeringue