Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"The Boy Who Glowed in the Dark"

Orest Stelmach is the Ukrainian-American author of the Nadia Tesla series, including The Boy From Reactor 4, The Boy Who Stole from the Dead, and The Boy Who Glowed in the Dark, which was released this month. Stelmach is donating 25% of his December royalties from his new release to Chernobyl Children International, which sponsors medical missions to Ukraine to save the lives of children affected by the legacy of nuclear disaster.

Stelmach applied the Page 69 Test to The Boy Who Glowed in the Dark and reported the following:
From Page 69:
Johnny led Nadia and Bobby along the streets of Shibuya toward a low-key shabu-shabu restaurant, where customers cooked their own dinners on a skillet at the table. They’d left New York on Tuesday and arrived in Tokyo Wednesday afternoon. Johnny’s jet lag had vanished from the moment he’d laid eyes on Nadia. His gut told him she was in more danger than either of them knew, but at least the three of them were together.

Nadia and Johnny walked close together so their conversation couldn’t be overheard. They let Bobby get a few steps ahead of them so they could keep an eye on him. He gaped and gawked at the people and the neon lights.

“We were followed from my apartment to the airport,” Nadia said. She told him how Bobby duped airport security into taking the men into custody.

Johnny wasn’t surprised by the kid’s balls or skills. The back-story to his murder accusation had established he was no ordinary seventeen year-old. “Who were they?”

“Don’t know,” Nadia said. “They looked straight out of central casting for Russian or Uke mafia types. Right off the streets of Moscow or Kyiv. But when things look one way, they’re often another.”
The Page 69 Test is a doozy. There is so much entertainment at peoples’ fingertips in the world today, I’m not sure someone who reads this page will necessarily flip to the next one. One thing I am sure of is that an author is the worst judge of his own material. It takes so much self-confidence to write a book that he inevitably ends up drunk on his own Kool-Aid when he’s done. That said, let me try to be objective.

The reader can infer much about the book from the sixty-ninth page. The scene takes place in Tokyo and references are made to Moscow and Kyiv. This is a story with an international setting. There’s tension from the first paragraph. Johnny fears they’re in danger, Nadia mentions they were followed to the airport, and she also reveals that the kid, Bobby, conned airport security into arresting the men who were following them. The reader knows this is an international thriller.

Perhaps the most insightful comment on the page, however, is the last one. “When things look one way, they’re often another.” This line portends the twists and turns these characters will face. Bobby, a child of Chernobyl, is in possession of half a formula that could change the world. Someone from his past claims to have the other half. Meanwhile, powerful men are intent on securing the treasure these three people seek. Is there a formula? Who will survive and who will prevail?

Based on this analysis, I conclude that the reader would most definitely read on. What sane reader wouldn’t … No, wait. The images on my computer screen are coming in and out of focus. What’s happening? Ah, but of course ... Ignore what I just said.

I’m drunk on my own Kool-Aid.
Visit Orest Stelmach's website.

--Marshal Zeringue