Wednesday, July 3, 2019

"Stone Cold Heart"

Caz Frear grew up in Coventry, England, and spent her teenage years dreaming of moving to London and writing a novel. After fulfilling her first dream, it wasn’t until she moved back to Coventry thirteen years later that the second finally came true. She has a degree in History & Politics, and when she’s not agonizing over snappy dialogue or incisive prose, she can be found shouting at Arsenal football matches or holding court in the pub on topics she knows nothing about. Sweet Little Lies is her first novel.

Frear applied the Page 69 Test to Stone Cold Heart, her second novel featuring DC Cat Kinsella, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Parnell’s face is a picture as we wait by the reception desk, attracting stares and corner-of-the-mouth comments from the snappily dressed workforce. “Jesus, don’t tell me they’re the latest trend again?” he mutters as a redhead whips by us in blue velvet flares. “I had a pair of those back in the seventies and they were out of fashion then.”
This was a fun exercise! I’ll admit I assumed that every page of my novel would surely be in some way representative of the overall work, however page 69 let me down me badly.

On page 69, my main protagonist, Detective Constable Cat Kinsella, has gone with her partner, Detective Sergeant Luigi Parnell, to re-interview a witness at their office – the same office where the recently deceased victim also worked. The entire page is given over to their reactions to the youth-club style atmosphere they encounter and the millennial fashionistas who seem amused by their presence. The witness, Kirstie Connor, is the owner of the firm and she’s embarrassed by the upbeat atmosphere, aware it doesn’t exactly show the company culture in the best light (given someone just died). This isn’t essential to the plot but it hopefully gives the reader a sense of place. It also demonstrates that Kirstie Connor has at least some social awareness (up until this point, she’s been a fairly unsympathetic character).

While page 69 isn’t overly important in the grand scheme of things, it is the start of a very important chapter as the detectives find their first firm clue in this office. I also think the page gives a good snapshot of Cat and Parnell’s relationship. He’s the older father-figure while she’s the young gun, often helping him navigate modern culture.
Follow Caz Frear on Twitter.

The Page 69 Test: Sweet Little Lies.

--Marshal Zeringue