Tuesday, August 16, 2016

"The Last Treasure"

Erika Marks has worked as an illustrator, an art director, a cake decorator, and a carpenter. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband and their two daughters. The Last Treasure is her fifth novel, following It Comes in Waves, The Guest House, The Mermaid Collector, and Little Gale Gumbo.

Marks applied the Page 69 Test to The Last Treasure and reported the following:
The Last Treasure examines the unstable marriage of two treasure hunters, Whit and Liv, and what happens when Liv’s ex-lover Sam joins them on a salvage mission of a sunken blockade runner off the Carolina coast.

Page 69 brings us to the morning of the big dive which Whit has orchestrated to reestablish his reputation as a successful treasure hunter after years of failed missions, but the reader can already sense something is wrong, that Whit is keeping a secret about the mission from his team—which includes Liv, whose faith in him is waning dangerously, and Sam who Whit has had to bring on board at the last minute.
Whit rubs his face, his jaw. He just wants to get to the site, start bringing everything up so there can be no contention, no doubt. He just wants it to be six already. But no matter how many times he cuts his gaze to the sky, that one damn streak of pink seems frozen , determined to sit on dawn’s rise for as long as possible. The surf keeps curling over the shore and retreating, the ticktock of its rhythm. He turns back to watch Liv as the even sound of her breathing matches it.

And in the seconds of quiet between the rise and crash of every wave, Whit swears he can already hear the gentle crack of her heart breaking.
The reader soon learns why Whit is so anxious to get the day going, as well as the reasons he fears he’s broken Liv’s heart once again, but I loved building the tension in this scene, as well as teasing out the layers of Whit, who is a deeply flawed but ultimately deeply-committed husband, even as he fears Liv’s reunion with Sam will undoubtedly force unresolved passions to resurface, which, of course, they must—and they do. As Sam suggests further down the page:
A flock of terns plunges to the water, their capped heads descending in unison, purple in the muted dawn light. Sam watches them from his seat on the sand, admiring their order and grace. He’s always the first one up. He and the birds. His dreams were strange and chaotic, but what else would they be after seeing Liv and Whit again after so long? Liv with Whit. It doesn’t make sense. They don’t make sense. Not the way he and Liv had—that’s for sure.
Learn more about the book and author at Erika Marks's website.

My Book, The Movie: Little Gale Gumbo.

My Book, The Movie: It Comes In Waves.

--Marshal Zeringue