Friday, July 5, 2013

"Redemption Mountain"

Gerry FitzGerald has been in advertising for nearly thirty years and owns an advertising agency in Springfield, Massachusetts. He holds a master’s in journalism from the Medill School at Northwestern University and is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He lives in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts with his wife, Robin.

FitzGerald applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Redemption Mountain, and reported the following:
Page 69 is the first page of Chapter 8, making it a shorter page than normal.

Chapter 8 is an important chapter for Charlie Burden, one of the principal characters of the story. At a meeting with his company’s managing partner, Lucien Mackey, Charlie learns that the company and its largest client, the OntAmex Energy Company, want Charlie to take over the construction of a “backwoods coal burner” in southern West Virginia. Expecting to be assigned his dream job managing the construction of a huge hydroelectric dam in China, Charlie’s disappointment is amplified when he also learns that one of the challenges he’ll be faced with in West Virginia, is helping to secure a variance for a mountaintop removal coal mining permit on Redemption Mountain.

Page 69:
Chapter 8

The door to Lucien Mackey’s corner office was open, as it usually was. Charlie Burden rapped a knuckle as he walked in. The senior partner of Dietrich Delahunt & Mackey was hunched over a large conference table that dominated one end of the massive office.

“We fucked this up pretty good Charlie.” He was peering intently at a set of charts that covered every inch of the worn mahogany tabletop that had seen its share of blueprints and maps over the years. His jacket was off, a troubled look on his face that Charlie recognized as the warning sign that this was going to be a bad day for someone at Dietrich Delahunt & Mackey.

Moving closer to the table, Charlie recognized the layout of the CanAmex plant in West Virginia. “What’s the problem down there?”

“It’s pretty simple. The goddamn pond is in the wrong spot. Can you believe that? After all this time? Two years we’ve been building this thing down there, with Paxton and a battalion of contractors, surveyors, engineers and environmental people crawling all over it and nobody notices that the cooling pond is situated on a hundred foot thick ledge of solid bedrock that a fucking nuclear bomb couldn’t blast through. . .” Lucien stopped and took a deep breath to control his anger. He tossed a pencil down on the chart and stood erect, offering his hand to Charlie, smiling thinly, embarrassed that he’d forgotten his manners. “Good morning Charlie. Thanks for coming in early.”

Mackey gestured toward the black leather couch with two matching chairs, separated by a massive glass coffee table. “Come on Charlie, sit down, we need to talk and we don’t have a lot of time.” Charlie sunk uncomfortably into the center of the couch as Mackey took one of the chairs.

“Terry Summers will be along in a few minutes and, well, we need to come to an agreement here, you and I Charlie, before he gets here.”

Charlie had known his boss long enough to know when he was having trouble getting to the point. “Lucien, what’s up, what is it you want me to do? You know we’ll come to an agreement. We always agree on whatever it is you want.”
Later in Chapter 8, Charlie and the readers will meet Vernon Yarbrough, a Charleston, WV lawyer who will play a pivotal role in the machinations and subterfuge at work in the utility company’s efforts to displace a “disagreeable old pig farmer” from Redemption Mountain.
Learn more about the book and author at Gerry FitzGerald's website.

Writers Read: Gerry FitzGerald.

--Marshal Zeringue