Monday, February 24, 2014

"The Tyrant's Daughter"

J.C. Carleson is a former undercover CIA officer who has navigated war zones, jumped out of airplanes, and worked on the frontlines of international conflicts. She now lives and writes in Virginia with her husband and two young sons. Her publications include the novel Cloaks and Veils, and Work Like a Spy: Business Tips from a Former CIA Officer.

Carleson applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Tyrant's Daughter, and reported the following:
From page 69:
"Laila." He calls me over. He's not bothering with the cigarette this time.

I consider ignoring him, but it seems pointless. I have a feeling that "Darren Gansler," true name unknown, will follow me with his bad luck wherever I go.

"I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see you here today."

He raises an eyebrow and studies me for a moment before speaking. "You strike me as an intelligent young woman, Laila. So I probably don't have to tell you just how important these meetings are for your family."

There's a question hiding behind his statement. He wants to find out how much I know. The answer, of course, is not much at all, but I don't want him to realize that.

His mouth pinches up on one side -- not quite a smile -- and he crosses his arms over his chest. He's guessed.

"It looks like I do have to tell you." He says it in a way that wounds like he wishes he didn't, and the smirk wilts into a frown. "Laila, I didn't bring your family here out of the goodness of my heart. You're here, or at least your mother is here, for a reason. Your mother made a deal the day you all got on the plane. We -- the United States government, that is -- went to considerable risk to get your family out of the country safely. I offered your mother a way out and guaranteed political refugee status here if she agreed to cooperate."

I know exactly what he is going to say next before it even comes out of his mouth.

"Her cooperation hasn't been exactly...perfect."

I have to bite the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing out loud. That my mother would not do his bidding should surprise no one.
It's interesting that this, of all passages, falls on magic page number 69. Is it representative of the book as a whole? I'd have to say no, in the sense that it lacks much of the "voice" that drives the rest of the book. Laila is reacting here, listening to a character who only shows up occasionally.

However, this is definitely a pivotal moment in the book. This is the moment where the "intrigue" starts to compete for attention with the character development, and also the moment when the stakes begin to soar.
Learn more about the book and author at J.C. Carleson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue