Sunday, August 19, 2018

"Rust & Stardust"

T. Greenwood is the author of twelve novels. She has received grants from the Sherwood Anderson Foundation, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Maryland State Arts Council. She has won three San Diego Book Awards. Five of her novels have been BookSense76/IndieBound picks. Bodies of Water was finalist for a Lambda Foundation award.

Greenwood applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Rust & Stardust, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Al moved to look over Ella’s shoulder at the book. The photos, Al realized, were mug shots, a rogues’ gallery of criminals. Carefully written notes about each felon were etched beneath: descriptions of their persons, their aliases, and their crimes. Criminal after criminal; he felt sick. Was it possible that Sally was with one of these degenerates?

Ella looked up at Al, scared.

“Go slowly, Ma,” he said softly, putting his hand on her shoulder. “Are any of them the man you met?”

She shook her head, turned the page. Then suddenly, she stopped. Her eyes widened, and she pointed at a photo. “That’s him,” she said.

Both detectives leaned over to study the photograph.

“Are you sure?” Burke, asked. “Frank La Salle?”

“He was very charming,” Ella said, her jaw set defensively. “And courteous.”

“I’m certain he was,” Burke said sympathetically. Morrow scooped the book up.

“Who is he?” Susan asked.

“I should have listened to my heart,” Ella said, to no one in particular, shaking her head. “I felt uneasy letting her go with that man.”

“No one’s blaming you, ma’am,” Burke offered, patting her shoulder.

“You’re positive . . .” Morrow said impatiently, holding the book up now, open to the photo of the hawkish man. “That this is the man who kidnapped your daughter?”

Kidnapped?” Susan cried out, and stood up.

Kidnapped? Al thought. Al went to her and put his arm around her, her shoulders shaking, her body trembling.

“Al, what do they mean?” Susan asked, looking up at him, terror in her eyes. He worried about her getting so worked up; it couldn’t be good for the baby. “Sit down,” he said, and ushered her back down into her chair.

“That’s him. The one that took Sally on the bus.” Ella nodded. “I remember the scar on his face.”
This is such an important scene in the story! Here is the moment when Sally Horner’s family is confronted with the horrifying truth of what has happened to her.

Until now, Ella had believed that Sally was simply on holiday at the Jersey shore with a classmate and her family. But after Sally failed to come home (and despite letters and calls assuring her mother that everything is okay), her family grew increasingly worried and suspicious. When a letter arrived saying that she was now headed to Baltimore, Ella finally called the police.

Rust & Stardust takes place in 1948, a simpler, more trusting time. Sally, and her family, are victims of a man who exploits this trust. This scene is when they first learn that they have been duped. From this moment on, their lives are irrevocably changed. It is the single scene in which the world as each of them know it disappears. Rust & Stardust explores the loss of innocence, not only for Sally but for those she leaves behind.
Visit T. Greenwood's website.

My Book, The Movie: Rust and Stardust.

--Marshal Zeringue