Saturday, May 19, 2018

"Sign of the Cross"

Glenn Cooper graduated with a degree in archaeology from Harvard and was formerly the Chairman and CEO of a biotechnology company in Massachusetts. His previous thrillers, including the bestselling Library of the Dead trilogy, have sold six million copies in more than thirty languages worldwide.

Cooper applied the Page 69 Test to his new religious conspiracy thriller, Sign of the Cross, and reported the following:
My favorite page in the book! Well, maybe not, but an interesting page to illustrate an important point about Sign of the Cross in particular, and thrillers in general. In the book which is the first in a new series, Cal Donovan, professor of history of religion and archaeology at the Harvard Divinity School, is asked by the Vatican to investigate the case of a young Italian priest who develops the stigmata of the wounds of the crucified Christ. Is the priest a faker or might this be a real miracle?

The page involves the book’s antagonist, Schneider, and his nefarious organization, and here I use the device of a new recruit to illuminate some of the group’s backstory. Thrillers, by nature, cannot work without the duality of a protagonist and an antagonist. I’m not the only thriller writer who’s found that coming up with strong, believable, multidimensional bad guys is really the name of the game. Good guys are easy to invent, bad guys are hard. Early on in my writing career, a mentor who earned his bones in the thriller game told me to study Ken Follett’s The Man From St. Petersburg, where equal page count is devoted to the protagonist and the antagonist. That lesson stuck with me and I take a measure of pride in crafting good bad guys.
Visit Glenn Cooper's website.

--Marshal Zeringue