Thursday, September 11, 2014

"Don't Let Go"

Michelle Gagnon has been a modern dancer, a dog walker, a bartender, a freelance journalist, a personal trainer, and a model. Her bestselling thrillers for adults have been published in numerous countries and include The Tunnels, Boneyard, The Gatekeeper, and Kidnap & Ransom. Don't Turn Around and Don't Look Now are her first two novels for young adults.

Gagnon applied the Page 69 Test to Don't Let Go, the third book in the Don't Turn Around series, and reported the following:
I’ve done this test a number of times now, and this is by far the best page 69 I’ve encountered!

Ok, here’s why:
“That’s what your friends said.” Loki shook his head. “No one moves. Now who the hell are you, really?”

Daisy clung to Teo, both arms tight around his waist. He clasped her hands, cursing himself for listening to Peter. They should have left last night; he should have trusted his gut. After everything they’d been through, he and Daisy might be shot in the middle of nowhere by some freak.

“I contacted you on The Quad last October,” Peter piped up. “When I was going to brick Pike & Dolan’s servers.”

“A lot of people know about that,” Loki said. “Doesn’t prove anything.”

Peter and Noa exchanged an uncertain look, and Teo’s heart sank. Was it possible they’d never even met this guy before? And what was up with the fake names?

“The pedophile case in Greenwich,” Noa finally said. “We worked together on that.”

Loki tilted his head and said, “Tell me how.”

“How what?” Peter asked.

“How did we get him?” Loki snarled.

“I posed as a twelve-year-old girl and chatted with him while you sent his jpgs to the local cops,” Noa said. “Anything else you want to know?”

The shotgun lowered a fraction of an inch. Loki stared at them for a beat, considering. Finally, he said, “So you are who you say you are. Doesn’t matter. How the hell did you find me?”

“I, uh . . . tracked your IP address,” Peter said. “Sorry.”

Teo held his breath, braced for another gunshot. Based on Noa’s reaction earlier, this wasn’t something hackers took well.

“You what?” Loki sounded genuinely perplexed. “Seriously? Not cool, Vallas.”
So in this scene we’re meeting Loki for the first time in person (as opposed to the offscreen presence he had in Don't Turn Around). Loki easily became my favorite character in this book, and possibly in the entire trilogy. He’s a hacker/survivalist who is big and brash and charming (and maybe just a wee bit unbalanced and paranoid). I don’t want to spill any spoilers, but thanks to Loki’s security measures, Noa and Peter’s next escape from the folks at Big Evil is truly epic.

He also manages to inject a considerable amount of humor into the story, which is critical in a thriller; otherwise reading it starts to feel a bit relentless. Just because I can’t resist (Loki!), here’s another of my favorite exchanges with him:
“Got it!” Noa said triumphantly.

The pressure abruptly eased, replaced by a dull throbbing. “Let me see it,” Peter gasped.

She lowered a pair of tweezers down in front of his eyes. Peter frowned: They were clamped around something way too tiny to have caused so much pain. “That’s it?” he asked, dumbfounded.

“You’d think it would have ten fingers and ten toes, the amount of noise you made,” Loki grunted. “No wonder women have the babies.”
Classic Loki. I promise he won’t disappoint.
Learn more about the book and author at Michelle Gagnon's website.

The Page 69 Test: Don't Turn Around.

My Book, The Movie: Don't Turn Around.

--Marshal Zeringue