Saturday, June 22, 2013

"Green-Eyed Lady"

Chuck Greaves is a former L.A. trial lawyer, and is the award-winning author of Hush Money, Green-Eyed Lady, and, writing as C. Joseph Greaves, Hard Twisted.

He applied the Page 69 Test to Green-Eyed Lady and reported the following:
Green-Eyed Lady is the second installment in the Jack MacTaggart series of legal mysteries from St. Martin’s Minotaur. The first novel, Hush Money, won the SouthWest Writers’ International Writing Contest, and was a finalist for several national honors, including the Rocky Award from Left-Coast Crime and the Audie Award for best mystery audiobook of 2012. Reviewers and fans alike have embraced Jack for his irreverence, his incorruptible honesty, and his biting sense of humor – William (Defending Jacob) Landay calls him “Jim Rockford with a law degree” – and all of these traits are, to some extent, on display at page 69 of Green-Eyed Lady.

To set the scene: Jack has been hired to represent Warren Burkett, a candidate for the U.S. Senate from California who finds himself embroiled in scandal just three weeks before Election Day. Burkett is a Clintonesque sort of character with a history of marital infidelity who, after coming to the aid of a damsel in distress, is arrested by LAPD officers who find him alone and naked in a stranger’s home from which a priceless painting is missing.

Burkett’s opponent, Larry Archer, is a billionaire real estate magnate whose brother-in-law, the menacing Anthony “Tony Gags” Gagliano, has a score to settle with Jack. The missing painting, meanwhile, has turned up in the background of a new Archer campaign video, a fact that Jack and Burkett are about to reveal to the nation at a press conference attended by District Attorney Tom Slewzyski and his lead investigators, LAPD Detectives Chico Alvarez and Mike Madden:
The room lights dimmed, and the video monitors blinked to life, and there stood Archer in his red flannel shirt.

I watched the faces as the video played. All were turned to the monitors, including the District Attorney’s. Only Tony Gags kept his eyes riveted on me.

“Sure, we all love the environment,” the audio continued, “but we can protect it without regulations that kill jobs and hamper small business.” Then the video froze.

There was a long delay while the audience processed what they were seeing. Then there were gasps, and pointed fingers, and pandemonium.

Half the reporters were on their feet, some surging for the doors and toppling chairs in their wake. Half were on their cell phones, hands over ears, barking instructions or dictating copy. Some shouted questions at Burkett, while others just stared, open-mouthed, as their heads swiveled from the picture on the easel to the image frozen on the video monitor. Slewzyski, when I saw him again, was staggering toward the door like a man who’d been pepper-sprayed.

A semblance of order had been restored to the half-empty room by the time Warren Burkett stepped to the podium, with Bobbi beaming dewily at his side. He started off with a line that I’d fed him, aimed right at the heart of the District Attorney.

“I heard it said someplace recently that nobody is above the law...”

I caught up with Slew on the sidewalk, where he and Alvarez stood waiting for Madden to bring their car. In the street behind them, it looked as though someone had dropped the green flag at Le Mans, with news vans and passenger vehicles peeling off into traffic amid honking horns and screeching tires. Such was the frenzy that nobody, it seemed, had even noticed the D.A.

“I thought that went well,” I told him cheerily.

“You lied, MacTaggart.”

“Nope. I did exactly what I promised.”

Alvarez stepped forward to point a finger at my chest. “You compromised a pending investigation, asshole. Half these clowns are on their way up to Arrowhead, and we don’t even have a warrant!”
Booklist has called Green-Eyed Lady “madcap,” while author Douglas Preston calls it “the wickedest read of the year.” Both of these attributes are, I hope, on display at page 69 of the manuscript.
 Learn more about the book and author at C. Joseph Greaves's website.

--Marshal Zeringue