Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"Night After Night"

Phil Rickman is the author of the Merrily Watkins mysteries, the John Dee series, and several novels of the paranormal (including two for children under the name Thom Madley).

He applied the Page 69 Test to his supernatural thriller Night After Night, and reported the following:
Page 69 is the beginning of Chapter 7 of Night After Night. As good a way in as any. This is how it opens.
Grayle takes a headache home with her. Hasn’t had one in years. She swallows two paracetamol, turns out the lights and lies down on the sofa, where she has a dream about a dead person.
This is Grayle Underhill. She’s the central character in Night After Night.

Grayle is an American journalist hired by the British TV company making a reality show in which seven people - a mixture of believers and sceptics - are locked into a haunted country-house for seven days. Grayle’s job is to find out the history of both the house and the people and then to monitor their experiences night after night, while the show goes out live.

But, of course, as we learn in Chapter 7, Grayle has problems of her own.
As usual, it’s Ersula, her sister. The clever one.
Ersula is the dead person. Ersula was an an academic with a pile of letters after her name, like their father, Dr Erlend Underhill, who is not dead but still features in Grayle’s dream.
He joins his cleverer daughter and the two of them stand looking down at Grayle. Looking down on her, on account of Grayle has no qualifications worth a damn.
And is a journalist. Even worse, she used to be a kind of New Age journalist who once wrote a column for a New York tabloid under the name Holy Grayle. She’s hung out with all kinds of weirdos and ended up having a breakdown before starting again in the UK, this time working hard-news.

But now she’s being paid to go back into a world where nothing is quite what it seems, looking after a bunch of people not all of whom are entirely stable.

The title of Chapter 7 is ‘Feral.’ This is a reference to Grayle’s friend and former employer, Marcus Bacton, who’s writing a book about the need for mystery. It’s the slightly ferocious Marcus who will help Grayle discover some of the soiled history of the house. Knap Hall is linked to Katherine Parr, the sixth and last wife of King Henry VIII. Its history is not comforting, but you’ll need to read a couple hundred more pages before the worst is revealed.

Despite what it says on Amazon, this is mystery rather than horror, although the paranormal aspects look valid to me. It’s about people and how they react to the unknown.

Personally, I like to think any page could be a Page 69. If you’ve done it right, every page should be full of interesting hooks that make you want to keep on reading. Go ahead… ask me about Page 96...
Learn more about the book and author at Phil Rickman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue