Thursday, April 11, 2013

"Follow Her Home"

Steph Cha is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School. She lives in her native city of Los Angeles, California.

She applied the Page 69 Test to Follow Her Home, her first novel, and reported the following:
On Friday night, after agreeing to conduct an amateur adultery investigation on her friend Luke’s behalf, Juniper Song is knocked unconscious. When she wakes up on Saturday morning, she finds a corpse in the trunk of her car and confides in her ex-boyfriend Diego Diaz. Diego and Song broke up eight years ago, but he remains, along with Luke, one of her best friends. She tells him she’s become involved in an investigation that now includes at least one murder, and on page 68, she and Diego argue about her continued involvement in the case. He has just asked her how she could possibly know what she is doing, when at the top of page 69:
The door opened like magic as I struggled for a plausible answer. Jackie
Blumenthal Diaz walked in shoulder first in a plain white tank and gym shorts. Her forehead and bare arms glistened with the sweat of good health.

“I’m home.” Her eyes took a second to find mine and she looked at me with surprise approaching panic. “Juniper, I didn’t know you were coming.”

Jackie was Diego’s classmate in law school, a Columbia graduate who had taken a few years off after college to work in D.C. She was a few years older than Diego, having just turned thirty-one in February. They started dating toward the end of their second year of law school. It was Diego’s first relationship after our breakup, but he and Jackie got hitched the week after their graduation last June. Luke and I used to tease Diego about their hasty marriage, attributing it to her insistent biological clock. We stopped once we noticed the shivering timbre of his laughter as he bore our immaturities.

Not that she looked old enough to worry. Five foot five, 110 pounds of lean muscle, she went to the gym as often as most people brushed their teeth. Short, dark hair fell jaunty and jagged about her ears, framing a milk-white, unmade face that didn’t tan, didn’t wrinkle. Her quiet eyes stayed squinted most of the time, but when they didn’t, their cool auburn agate was captivating.

“Hey, Jackie.” I tried to dissipate the solemn, intimate air that hung over the sofa. “I was in the area and thought I’d drop by.”

“You’re always in the area.”

Jackie pretended to like me with the thespian flair of a roasted peanut. I didn’t blame her for being wary of me, but I always thought it was silly. Diego and I hadn’t shared so much as one strand of saliva since before we could drink legally. I suspected that the fact of my perpetual singledom since our breakup let her imagine I still carried a torch for him.
Hey, I lucked out here – my page 69 doesn’t need too much explanation. Here, you meet Diego’s wife Jackie for the first time, and it’s a sort of tense, important scene that has the faint outlines of a love triangle. Song is a very guarded, solitary character with few deep attachments, and you can see why she might make Jackie uneasy. As for the writing – well, since you don’t meet a new character on every page, I’d say there’s more exposition here than on average. The prose and tone are representative of the rest of the book, fairly descriptive with a wry, observant voice and a sprinkle of pointed conversation. I would hope that someone skimming would be tempted to check out the rest of the book. There is no special defect in page 69.
Learn more about Follow Her Home, and visit Steph Cha's website and Twitter perch.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Steph Cha and Duke.

My Book, The Movie: Follow Her Home.

--Marshal Zeringue