Sunday, January 10, 2021

"Fatal Divisions"

Formerly a crime reporter for daily newspapers such as the Miami Herald and Philadelphia Inquirer, Claire Booth is the author of the Sheriff Hank Worth Mysteries: The Branson Beauty, Another Man's Ground, A Deadly Turn, and the newly released Fatal Divisions.

Booth applied the Page 69 Test to Fatal Divisions and reported the following:
From page 69:
Sam hadn’t realized his former classmate worked here. If he had, he would have started his canvass somewhere else.

“Hey, Jermina. How long you been working here?” He wasn’t going to ask how she was doing. That would lead to a long and painfully detailed update about people he’d been deliberately avoiding since they all graduated from high school. And slinky, rumor-starting, innuendo-slinging Jermina was at the top of that list.

“Oh, just a month or two. I was up at Calico Cabins before that. But it wasn’t, uh, the right fit for me, so I moved on.”

Which meant she’d been fired.

“You know me,” she said, leaning over the counter and winking at him. “I’m always looking for better opportunities.”

Sam suppressed a shudder. He explained that he needed to know if Branson residents were allowed to use the resort’s bocce courts.

“What’s those?”

Dear Lord.

“One of the amenities. For guests. Is there anybody else I could talk to? Where’s your manager?”

Jermina snapped out of her come-hither lean in a huff. “He ain’t here. All you get is me.”

“What about a maintenance worker?”

She considered that. “There’s some old guy who wanders around. With, like, garbage bags and stuff.”

He decided to take that as permission to go look for the man. He hustled out, pretending not to hear her ask for his cell number. He wandered around for ten minutes before he found the “old guy,” who was actually only about Sheila’s age—she sure would have had something to say about that if she was here.

The man started chuckling the second Sam said “bocce.”
Page 69 has one of my main characters, sheriff’s deputy Sam Karnes, talking with the desk clerk at a tourist resort in Branson, Missouri. It’s a great page to read, for two reasons. First, it tells you something important about Sam, a guy in his mid-twenties who is really starting to grow professionally. He isn’t stuck in the rut that a lot of other young people in Branson have dug for themselves.

This page also mentions something that’s a key element throughout the entire book—bocce ball. During his investigation of a murder, Sam discovers that the victim and a group of friends are sneaking onto private property in the middle of the night and covertly using the bocce ball courts.

While Sam doesn’t think that the trespassing is a motive for the murder, he does want to identify the other members of the group. They could potentially tell him more about the victim, who is an enigma at this point in the book. Or one of them could even be the murderer.
Visit Claire Booth's website.

My Book, The Movie: Fatal Divisions.

--Marshal Zeringue