Tuesday, November 6, 2018

"Machine City"

Scott J. Holliday was born and raised in Detroit. In addition to a lifelong love of books and reading, he has pursued a range of curiosities and interests, including glassblowing, boxing, and much more. He is the author of Punishment, the first book in his series featuring Detective John Barnes; Stonefly; and Normal, which earned him recognition in INKUBATE.com’s Literary Blockbuster Challenge.

Holliday applied the Page 69 Test to Machine City, his second novel featuring Detective Barnes, and reported the following:
Page 69:
“There’s a machine in there,” the man said. His jaw shook as he spoke. Raindrops glistened on his bald head and dripped from his chin. “Right?”


“What’s it like?”

“It’s not worth it,” Barnes said.

“Who were you?”

Barnes sighed. “Does it matter?”

The man took a beat and then quickly uttered, “I don’t like my life.”

As Barnes rolled up the window, he said, “Join the Brittanians.” He pulled out of the alley and turned toward home. His cell phone rang as he accelerated down the street. He snatched it up and answered. “You bastard.”

“Is that. Any way to talk. To a friend?”

It wasn’t Franklin. Barnes pulled the phone away from his head and checked the caller ID. unknown. He put the phone back to his ear. “Who is this?”

“Oh, John,” the caller said. “My feelings. Are hurt.”

“Gee, I’m sorry. Now who the fuck is this?”

“I know. What you must. Think.” The voice was weak and whispery. The caller struggled to speak. He took sharp intakes of breath between his stunted phrases. “You think Franklin. Is toying with you. You think he wrote. The letter from Cohen.”

“Say what?”

“You think he’s. Trying to pull you. Into an. Investigation. Using Ricky as bait.”

“Look, jerk-off,” Barnes said. “I don’t know who you—”

“Using the fact. That you failed. Your kid brother.”
I'd say page 69 represents the novel rather well. At this stage Barnes has just returned to the machine like an addict back to his drug of choice. He runs into a machine protestor and speaks with him for a moment before continuing on. He gets a call from the man who's tormenting him both via the phone and from within Barnes's mind, making him wonder if it's all in his head. It's spot on with what the book is about.
Visit Scott J. Holliday's website.

My Book, The Movie: Machine City.

--Marshal Zeringue