Monday, July 13, 2020

"Dark August"

Katie Tallo has been an award-winning screenwriter and director for more than two decades. In 2012, Tallo was inspired to begin writing novels. Dark August is her debut novel. Tallo has a daughter and lives with her husband in Ottawa, Ontario.

She applied the Page 69 Test to Dark August and reported the following:
Page 69 begins with a simple note written in red marker on the back of a Polaroid. The note says, Gracie Halladay, April 2002. This is the first time the lead character, Augusta (Gus) Monet, learns the name of the girl in a photo that has haunted her since childhood.
All these years, Gus never knew the girl’s name. It was on the back this whole time. She’d never dared touch the photo to flip it over. But the name was there. Shannon was hiding it.
The page goes on to describe how important the girl seemed to be to Gus's now dead mother, Shannon — the same mother who wrote that note in red marker, who protected that photo, never sharing it with her daughter or her fellow cops or friends, and in the end, who hid it along with all her other private documents. The discovery of the girl’s name is huge for Gus. She has only recently stumbled across a trunk full of cold case evidence, including the photo, hidden amongst her childhood treasures and ever since, she’s been pondering what it all means and why her mother hid the evidence for her to find. Gus doesn’t have answers yet, but seeing the name on the back of the photo infuriates her. She swears at Gracie, tears the Polaroid in half, and heads outside to walk her dog and shake off her feelings.

If someone were to open the novel, Dark August, at page 69, they too would have a lot of questions. They’d be plunged into this young woman’s world just as she’s about to begin her investigation. They’d be introduced to key characters; Gracie, Gus, Shannon, Uncle Rory, and Levi the dog. All central to the novel. And that Polaroid is probably the most significant piece of evidence found by Gus. Her fragile mental state oozes from the page, along with her deep connection to the past and her dead mother. It’s all there, and yet, not a lot is revealed on that one page. Just like the evidence itself, revelations come slowly in bits and pieces. This name is just one more piece of the puzzle she’s about to unravel. On a funny side note, although this novel isn’t filled with expletives, two F-bombs happen to splatter page 69.
Visit Katie Tallo's website.

--Marshal Zeringue