Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"Known Devil"

Justin Gustainis is a Professor of Communication at Plattsburgh State University, where he earned the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2002. His academic publications include the book American Rhetoric and the Vietnam War, published in 1993. The Hades Project, his first novel, was released to rave reviews in 2003. Other books include the Quincey Morris Supernatural Investigations novels.

Gustainis applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Known Devil, and reported the following:
From page 69:
“What do you figure he knows?”

“If he knows anything at all about what’s going on, that’s more than I do. And, besides, if I don’t rat him out to my fellow officers, that gives me even more leverage.”

She looked at me, frowning. “How come?”

“Because I can always go back and change my story. And if I tell the truth and give them Calabrese’s name, he will get arrested.”

“But if you did that – went to the other cops and said, ‘Look fellas, I’m real sorry, but I lied about that gunfight. Here’s what really happened,’ you’d be in serious shit with the Department. Wouldn’t you?”

“Yeah, but I’m betting that Calabrese won’t take the chance.”

She swirled the remaining liquid in her mug, and studied the little whirlpool that resulted. “This cop stuff gets pretty complicated sometimes, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah, but it’s nothing that a master detective like your old man can’t handle.”

“I hope you’re right, Daddy. I really do.”


Even though dead tired, I came in to work half an hour early. I wanted to talk to Karl and McGuire – separately – before things got busy.

Karl’s usually early, too – and tonight was no exception. As quickly as I could without leaving anything out, I told him what had happened since he’d seen me last. When I was done, he sat there rubbing his chin.
I wish page 69 was more exciting – I really do. But it follows a pretty intense scene for Stan. On his way home from work, he hears nearby gunshots. Stan arrives at the scene to find Don Pietro Calabrese, vampire Godfather of Scranton’s vampire “family,” in a shootout with three vampires from an out-of-town gang, the Delatassos.

The Delatasso gang has gone to war against Calabrese because they want the ability to sell Slide – a new drug that only addicts supernatural creatures – on the streets of Scranton. Calabrese, fearing that the drug will eventually attract and addict his own people, wants Slide kept out.

Calabrese is outnumbered three to one, and his chances for survival don’t look good. Stan decides to intervene on Calabrese’s behalf, reasoning that having the “vampfather” in his debt will be a good way to get information about the gang war.

Firing silver bullets (which he always carries) Stan kills two of the Delatasso gang, and Calabrese gets the other one. Stan wants to talk to Calabrese, but dawn is fast approaching. Violating every rule in the book, he lets Calabrese escape, after first securing a promise that the vampfather will meet with him that night for some conversation.

Stan has just described what happened, and its aftermath, to his daughter Christine. That’s where page 69 picks it up.
Learn more the book and author at Justin Gustainis' website.

--Marshal Zeringue