Thursday, July 16, 2015

"Blood Will Tell"

April Henry is the New York Times-bestselling author of many acclaimed mysteries for adults and young adults, including the YA novels Girl, Stolen; The Night She Disappeared; and The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die; and the thriller Face of Betrayal, coauthored with Lis Wiehl.

Henry applied the Page 69 Test to Blood Will Tell, the second book in her Point Last Seen series, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Between Memory and Nightmare
Chapter 18

A screaming siren had torn him from his dreams. Or not dreams,exactly. He had been someplace halfway between memory and nightmare. In a place where she had made that sound, a desperate intake of breath. In a place where his knife flashed silver in the moonlight. In a place where blood steamed in the icy air.

He lay panting on his pillow. It was real. It was real. What would his mother think if she knew?

Another siren. And another and another.

Before he even got out of bed, he called in sick to work. It wasn’t really a lie. He was sick, especially when he thought about what might happen to him.

And then he waited. Waited until there were dozens of people lined up along the crime scene tape. All of them there because of what he had done, but none of them knew.

In his ball cap, he blended in. Just one more gawker. One more lookie-lou. He moved among them, but they did not know him.
Page 69 is from the point of view of the killer. The book was inspired by two real cases.

In one, a fifteen-year-old ending up being the prime suspect in a woman’s murder, and was eventually convicted of it and sent to prison. Even though there was no physical evidence linking them, the prosecutor hammered on the violent drawings the boy liked to doodle. I have seen some of the interrogation footage. He was skinny and his hair hung in his eyes.

The other case was a fascinating one, and I believe I’m the first mystery writer to use it in a book. It involved a millionaire who was tied up and robbed. He ended up smothering on the packing tape used to close his mouth. In the autopsy, the medical examiner swabbed the victim's fingertips and under his fingernails, in case he had fought with his killer. DNA was found, and it perfectly matched a known felon, who was arrested. How that DNA got there is a surprising story.

And this book and it’s sibling, The Body in the Woods, were both inspired by the Multnomah County Sheriffs Office Search and Rescue team, which is made up primarily of teens and routinely does crime scene evidence searches.
Learn more about the book and author at April Henry's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue