Thursday, February 11, 2021

"Best Laid Plans"

Gwen Florio grew up in a farmhouse filled with books and a ban on television. After studying English at the University of Delaware, she began a thirty-plus year career in journalism that has taken her around the country and to more than a dozen countries, including several conflict zones.

Her first novel in the Lola Wick mystery series, Montana won the Pinckley Prize for Crime Fiction and the High Plains Book Award, and was a finalist for the Shamus Award, an International Thriller Award and a Silver Falchion Award. She has since released four other books in the Lola Wick series and one standalone novel.

Florio applied the Page 69 Test to Best Laid Plans, the first installment of a new mystery series, and reported the following:
Nora, the book’s protagonist, is helping campground host Miranda after Miranda’s husband presumably has been dragged off by a grizzly bear, leaving only bloody patches on the ground and shreds of his shirt in the woods. Miranda is too grief-stricken to carry out her usual campground responsibilities, so Nora is staffing the entry booth, checking in new campers. But there’s little to do, as the campground is a ghost town after news of the attack, and certainly no one new wants to camp there.
Gone were the vague impressions from her first, foggy night in the campground – the clotheslines strung between trees, hung with towels and sweaty hiking clothes hoping to pick up a pleasant overlay of pine; gone, the folding canvas chairs circling the fire rings; gone the childhood-recalling whiffs of woodsmoke.
Then Nora hears a vehicle. A sedan comes into view – doubly strange in this region where pickups and brawny SUVs predominate. The one person in the world she’d least like to see emerges.

Page 69 heightens the sense of dread that permeates a place after an incident as horrifying as a grizzly attack. The only people who stick around are the ones who absolutely have to be there, so the arrival of someone new is strange and vaguely ominous, even more so when Nora realizes who it is – the identity is revealed in the last word on the page.

This single page references not one but two of the book’s galvanizing events and presages the fact that nothing good is going to come of this new arrival. At this point, I’d like to think a reader has to turn the page.
Visit Gwen Florio's website.

My Book, The Movie: Best Laid Plans.

--Marshal Zeringue