Sunday, July 23, 2017

"Dead Is Good"

Jo Perry earned a Ph.D. in English, taught college literature and writing, produced and wrote episodic television, and has published articles, book reviews, and poetry. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, novelist Thomas Perry. They have two adult children. Their three cats and two dogs are rescues.

Perry applied the Page 69 Test to her latest novel, Dead is Good, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Rose and I osmose through the closed door, watch Grace pay the driver and take a photograph of him—unsmiling out of the driver’s side window as per her directions--with her iPhone camera.

The cab driver is a passionate man. He shouted into the speaker of his cell phone in Russian during the way-above-the-speed-limit ride from the hospital to this three-story brick apartment-turned condo building on Fountain Avenue in West Hollywood.

I never visited this place in life.

When Grace and I were together, I had a studio apartment in Hollywood––right off Hollywood Boulevard on Cahuenga––and she lived in Santa Monica where she had a studio filled with large canvases and wire sculptures.

The morning sky is clear with an almost-transparent and full moon suspended like a bubble in the eastern sky.

A wind I cannot feel scatters shadows of a flowering tree on the sidewalk.

Don’t expect me to tell you what time it is.

Someone took my watch and my cell phone when I died.

What I know about the living world I see with my two dead eyes and hear with my two dead ears--thank you very goddamn much.
Page 69 above is representative of Dead Is Good in that it is a first-person narration by Charles Stone, a ghost who cannot be seen or heard in the living world and who cannot directly effect the living in any way. Rose is his canine companion in death--which the reader probably wouldn't realize from reading this page--and who suffers the same limitations as Charles (silent invisibility). Right now Charles is observing the one woman he truly loves returning to her apartment after she's jumped from the Santa Monica Pier (and for which she was briefly hospitalized).

This brief passage allows the reader to learn a little about Charles––he's dead,rueful, and sweary––and about the relationship he once had with Grace, an artist in a phase of life that is alien to Charles.

What the reader wouldn't know is that Grace's sister has killed herself, that Grace is in danger, and that Charles loves Grace more deeply than ever. Still, I hope that Rose, the woman getting out the cab, and the ghostly narrator would prove interesting or mysterious enough to keep the reader reading. A lot is going to happen after page 69.
Visit Jo Perry's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Jo Perry & Lola and Lucy.

My Book, The Movie: Dead Is Good.

--Marshal Zeringue