Tuesday, December 1, 2020

"Eddie's Boy"

Thomas Perry is the bestselling author of over twenty-seven novels, including the critically acclaimed Jane Whitefield series, Forty Thieves, and The Butcher’s Boy, which won the Edgar Award. He lives in Southern California.

Perry applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Eddie's Boy, and reported the following:
Page 69 begins the scene with the words, "The men arrived around three in the morning, during the boy's turn to watch. A big sedan rolled into the lot with its lights off and stopped.The car doors all opened but the dome lights were turned off, so the car didn't emit light except for the faint glow of the dashboard dials. The driver stayed behind the wheel while four men got out and left the doors open so there would be no slamming sounds."

Michael Schaeffer is "the boy" in this scene, which happened many years ago when he was about fifteen. He's with his guardian and mentor, "Eddie the Butcher," who has been teaching him both of his two trades, butcher and occasional killer for hire. Eddie has agreed to do a killing in Chicago, but when he and the boy arrived, he was given a comped room in a particular south side motel. Eddie correctly realized that was suspicious, so he and the boy have secretly moved to a different room to await the killers who must be coming for them, and taken turns watching. The rest of the page is the ensuing battle, in which Eddie uses a shotgun to first kill the driver and then hide behind the car's engine block to shoot the men who have burst into the wrong room and become trapped. In the very last lines, the boy realizes that the man in the motel office must be part of the ambush, so the boy dashes toward the front desk with a pistol to kill him.

I think that page 69 is a fair taste of the book. The novel tells the story of a series of attacks on Michael Schaeffer in the present, when he is in his sixties and his guardian Eddie Mastrewski is long dead. These scenes from the past are Michael remembering the days half a century ago when he learned the lessons or acquired the skills that will keep him alive one more time today. Not all of the lessons are exclusively about killing. Some are about love, sacrifice,deception, responsibility, intelligence, competence--all the things we need to grow up.
Learn more about the book and author at Thomas Perry's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: Silence.

The Page 99 Test: Nightlife.

The Page 69/99 Test: Fidelity.

The Page 69/99 Test: Runner.

The Page 69 Test: Strip.

The Page 69 Test: The Informant.

The Page 69 Test: The Boyfriend.

The Page 69 Test: A String of Beads.

The Page 69 Test: Forty Thieves.

The Page 69 Test: The Old Man.

The Page 69 Test: The Bomb Maker.

The Page 69 Test: The Burglar.

The Page 69 Test: A Small Town.

Q&A with Thomas Perry.

--Marshal Zeringue