Sunday, January 7, 2018

"Splintered Silence"

Susan Furlong is the author of the Georgia Peach Mystery series. She also contributes to the New York Times bestselling Novel Idea Mysteries under the pen name Lucy Arlington. She has worked as a freelance writer, academic writer, ghost writer, translator, high-school language arts teacher, and martial arts instructor. Raised in North Dakota, Furlong graduated from Montana State University with a double major in French and Spanish. She and her family live in central Illinois.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new suspense novel, Splintered Silence, the first in the Bone Gap Travellers series, and reported the following:
Splintered Silence’s protagonist, Brynn Callahan, is an Irish Traveller. Scattered in clans throughout the United States, Travellers live secretively and are often marginalized by the rest of the population, who Travellers refer to as “settled people”. Page 69 of Splintered Silence demonstrates the tension that buzzes throughout the novel between Travellers and Settled people, especially the local law. Here is a description that shows Brynn’s distrust and instant dislike of Deputy Sheriff Harris:
He stared down his high-bridged nose at me, his pout little mouth curving upward in a sneer. Harris had a baby face, complete with pudgy cheeks that might inspire a pinch or two from a women three times my age. All I wanted to do was slap them silly.
One of the most prominent themes in Splintered Silence is the human/canine bond. Brynn is an ex-Marine and dog handler. She and Wilco, a HRD (Human Remains Detection) dog, served three military tours. Now they’re back home in rural Appalachia, wounded, suffering from PTSD and trying to assimilate into civilian culture. They rely on each other; their relationship is tight and fiercely loyal. This excerpt sets up a fight scene between Brynn and Harris:
I was about to fire back with something witty when the sound of running water drew my attention to the side of the deputy’s parked cruiser. Only it wasn’t water, but Wilco. He was relieving himself on the deputy’s tire … I tilted my head back and let the laughs roll. And roll.

… Harris … did the ultimate in stupid. He swung his foot at my dog, trying to kick him. “Get the hell away from my car, you friggin’ mutt.”

I stopped laughing.
(The rest of the fight scene unfolds on page 70 and is representative of the Brynn and Wilco’s relationship and the lengths to which Brynn will go to protect one of her own.)

My Page 69 is a transition page, working up to a large scene, but still holds hints of many of the themes presented throughout the book. Splintered Silence examines several social issues: PTSD, class tensions, human/dog bond, prejudices, the Irish Traveller sub-culture, addiction … and weaves these topics into a fast-paced crime story.
Visit Susan Furlong's website.

Writers Read: Susan Furlong.

My Book, The Movie: Splintered Silence.

--Marshal Zeringue