Tuesday, April 7, 2015

"Innocent Damage"

Bay Area resident Robert K. Lewis has been a painter, printmaker, and a produced screenwriter.

He applied the Page 69 Test to Innocent Damage, his third novel featuring ex-cop and recovering junkie Mark Mallen, and reported the following:
From page 69:
“Hey, was wonderin’, you know? I got ten bucks,” Lucas said.

“You’re going to break the bank, buying like that,” Viv replied and took another drink, “Or maybe have the FBI down on your ass.”

“Yeah, but I’m working on something that will net me a lot fucking more. You know that I’ll come right here, too.”

“Uh huh.”

He pulled out his dough. Put it on the bar. “What will that get me?”

Viv sighed. “Just because I like you, right? I’ll give you some bud I picked up yesterday. I’ll even do 1980s prices, since it came from some asshead’s back yard.” She reached under her dirty skirt. Pulled out a small baggy. He hoped she pulled it from something other than her hole. She tossed it on the bar. It didn’t look like shake. Looked like small buds. Very small. Very wizened and dry. He scooped it up as she scooped up his money. “Goodbye,” she said in a monotone.

Lucas nodded. Walked away fast, knowing that this was the most dangerous of times. Now people knew he had something. Something they wanted. Everyone seemed to want something. Especially that something that would get them the fuck out of life, any way they could.

He was heading to the door when the bartender, Crow, waved him over from behind the bar. Lucas always figured that Crow got his name because the fucker possessed black hair, black eyes, and black painted nails on his fat, sausage fingers. Crow led him away to the far end of the bar, out of ear-shot.

“Someone lookin’ for you,” the bartender said as he wiped down the bar.
I asked myself many times if I truly felt that page 69 of Innocent Damage was indicative of the rest of the novel. In the end, no matter how many times I asked myself the question, the answer always seemed to come back that, yes, it was.

The page shows the grit and tragedy of the world that the protagonist, Mark Mallen, inhabits. This world is not a pretty world, not at all. It’s a world filled with drug dealers and drug users, making the same deals they made the week before and will make again next week. This page also turned out to be a good one for another reason: it has a fairly important plot development right at the final line.

So yes, I hope the reader would want to read on once they got to this page.

A little backstory: This is an exchange between a loser named Lucas and one of his dealers, Viv. He hates her, but needs her. Sorta what like love can be, right?
Visit Robert K. Lewis's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue