Thursday, September 15, 2016

"Red Right Hand"

Chris Holm is the author of the Collector trilogy, which blends crime and fantasy, and the Michael Hendricks thrillers. His first Hendricks novel, The Killing Kind, was nominated for an Anthony, a Barry, a Lefty, and a Macavity Award and named a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a Boston Globe Best Book of 2015, and Strand Magazine’s #1 Book of 2015.

Holm applied the Page 69 Test to Red Right Hand, the second Hendricks novel, and reported the following:
Red Right Hand is the sequel to The Killing Kind, which introduced the world to Michael Hendricks. Once a covert operative for the US military, Hendricks makes his living hitting hitmen… or he did, until a criminal organization known as the Council caught wind and targeted the people he loves.

When viral video of a terrorist attack in San Francisco reveals that a Federal witness long thought dead is still alive, the organization he’d agreed to testify against—the Council—will stop at nothing to put him in the ground.

Special Agent Charlie Thompson is determined to protect him, but her hands are tied; the FBI’s sole priority is catching the terrorists before they strike again. So Charlie calls the only person on the planet who can keep her witness safe: Michael Hendricks.

Believing this witness could hold the key to taking the Council down, Hendricks agrees, even though it means wading into the center of a terror plot whose perpetrators are not what they seem.

Sounds exciting, right? Sure… but what’s on page sixty-nine? A bad man on his way to pick up a ringing telephone:
Sal’s office was a cliché of a gentleman’s study. Mahogany paneling. Built-in floor-to-ceiling shelves lined with books he’d never read. A hinged, hand-painted globe that doubled as a bar cart. Burnished-leather armchairs. Banker’s lamps. An antique Wooton desk on which sat a phone, a leather blotter, and a computer.

Sal walked by it without a glance. His office was for show. A rodeo clown, intended to distract. He never conducted any business of real import in it.

The ringing phone was in his second guest room, which was tucked behind the kitchen. The third floor of Sal’s house comprised a guest suite—bedroom, bathroom, and sitting room—and that was where visitors typically stayed. Consequently, this bedroom was rarely used, and everything about it appeared to be an afterthought: The simple, metal-framed twin bed. The cheap floral comforter. The empty dresser. The prefab particleboard nightstand, upon which sat a lamp, a box of tissues, and an old rotary phone.

The phone wasn’t registered in Sal’s name. In fact, the line used to be connected to his neighbor’s teenage daughter’s room. When their house was foreclosed on years ago during the recession, he had surreptitiously had it rerouted and set the bill to auto-deduct from an online checking account opened for just that purpose. The former was a simple matter of redirecting a single wire; the latter, snatching a bill from his neighbor’s mailbox and calling the phone company to update the payment method. Committing fraud to get money out of major corporations is a tricky business, but committing fraud to give them money is easy, because they never think to question getting paid.
Sure, a little whiz-bang would’ve been nice, but I rather like the mystery generated by this phone call. Don’t you want to know who’s on the other end? Aren’t you curious why Sal works so hard to make his business line seem unimportant? Buy a copy of Red Right Hand and the answers you seek are but seventy pages away.
Visit Chris Holm's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Killing Kind.

--Marshal Zeringue