Tuesday, February 21, 2017

"To Catch a Killer"

Sheryl Scarborough is an award-winning writer for children’s television. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, lives in Washington state, and has always had an obsession with forensics. When she was twelve, her home was the target of a Peeping Tom. Scarborough diligently photographed his footprints and collected the candy wrappers he left behind. Unfortunately, he was never caught. But the desire to use evidence to solve a great mystery was sparked inside Scarborough all the same.

Scarborough applied the Page 69 Test to To Catch a Killer, her debut novel, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Her door is closed, no light shining from under the crack. I press my ear to the wood. At first it’s silent, like a tomb. And then I hear rustling and creaking floorboards. The hinge on her balcony door howls.

I fling her door open wide in time to catch a tall shadow lurking on her balcony.

I scream, and the shadow clatters down the stairs.
 Rachel leaps out of bed and grabs me.
“There’s a man on your balcony. Right there. Right there.”

I’m pointing frantically.
 Rachel barely glances outside. Instead she pulls me into the hall, even though I resist. “Rachel, you’re not listening to me.”

She takes me by the shoulders and steers me to the kitchen.

“Shhhh. Calm down.” She’s using her soothing voice. “There’s no one out there. It’s just a nightmare. Is that a knife? Give me that. Now sit down; I’ll make some hot chocolate.”

“It wasn’t a nightmare. I’m fully awake. Seriously, Rachel, call Sydney. Get the police out here. I saw someone. I know it.”

She empties a couple of chocolate packets into cups and waits for the water to boil. “Just breathe,” she says. “What you’ve been through would give anyone nightmares. Everything’s okay. I promise.”
Does it pass the test?

I wasn’t sure about this test until I went back to read page 69. In To Catch A Killer, Erin, the main character, is very secretive and somewhat of an unreliable narrator, we can’t always trust her view of things.

Just prior to this scene, Erin awakens to irrefutable evidence that someone had been in her bedroom while she was asleep. Since there’s already been one murder of someone she was close to, she suddenly fears her guardian could become a victim, too. Terrified, she slips down the stairs to her guardian’s bedroom to check on her. This scene on page 69 picks up with Erin right outside her guardian’s bedroom door. This scene opens a question about the guardian which, as the story progresses, will trigger Erin’s trust issues. So, I would say, yes. To Catch A Killer definitely passes the page 69 test.
Visit Sheryl Scarborough's website.

My Book, The Movie: To Catch a Killer.

--Marshal Zeringue