Sunday, May 9, 2021

"A Deadly Twist"

Jeffrey Siger was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, practiced law at a major Wall Street law firm, and later established his own New York City law firm where he continued as one of its name partners until giving it all up to write full-time among the people, life, and politics of his beloved Mykonos. A Deadly Twist is the eleventh novel in his internationally best-selling and award nominated Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis series.

Siger applied the Page 69 Test to A Deadly Twist and reported the following:
From page 69:

“Then you have the farmers and herders who live outside of town. They’re not only considered ignorant peasants by many who live in town, but they’re also often consumed by rivalries with neighboring villages.” She took a slug from the bottle. “On top of all that local bullshit, you’ve got the resentment Naxos as an island bears toward its neighbors, Paros and Syros, and vice versa.”

“What gripes does Naxos have with them?”

“Basic islander jealousy pretty well covers it. But with Syros it runs a bit deeper. In antiquity, Naxos was rich and important far beyond any of its Cycladic neighbors, other than the holy island of Delos. But all that changed once Naxos was conquered. Centuries later, after Greek independence, Syros emerged for a time as the cultural and economic center of the Cyclades, and the airs adopted by Syriots riled Naxian pride to an extent they’ve never forgiven.”

“You make them sound like rival football fans.”

“Not a bad analogy,” said Popi. “Which means I may not be of much help if whoever we’re meeting with sees you as rooting for the other team.”

“And the rival team for where we’re headed would be...?”

“Greeks have a penchant for paranoid conspiracy theories. No telling how what you have in mind fits into their frame of reference.”

Yianni shook his head. “So, what can you tell me about Siphones?”

“It’s in a lovely location that’s been abandoned for nearly seven decades for reasons no one seems clear about. Some suggest it was a lack of water, others say floods, a few claim villagers moved away after the emery mines closed and they lost their jobs, or because it lacked a school for the children.”

Yianni looked at her. “What do you think’s the reason?”
Bingo! The test works masterfully.

I’m amazed at how that single page both captures the essence of the book’s underlying theme and a technique I employ to assure that above all else my book provides consistent fast-paced mystery entertainment for the reader.

Page 69 of A Deadly Twist (my eleventh Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis mystery thriller) offers a slice of dialogue between two cops—a female local cop on the Greek Aegean island of Naxos, and a male detective from Athens Central Police Headquarters Special Crimes Unit ­ investigating the disappearance of a celebrated Athens crime journalist. The journalist vanished while on Naxos investigating a simmering conflict between a tourism industry hungry to capitalize on the natural beauty of this largest and greenest of the Cycladic islands, and passionate preservationists grappling to protect their island way of life with its history predating Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Greece.

Theme wise, Page 69 highlights the visceral competitive jealousies between neighbors, communities, islands, and nations capable of breeding generations of distrust and paranoia, often dooming mutually beneficial progress to failure amid us-against-them mindsets and fired up emotions that risk fomenting violence over reason. In this twisting tale of murder, corruption, and greed, time has spawned a ruthless killer who will stop at nothing to keep dark secrets buried forever.

As for the technique aspect evidenced by Page 69, it’s a perfect example of how I maintain tension in my writing. Tension is the emotional roller-coaster-ride element so beloved by readers of our genre. Tension heightens interest by relying upon the same basic three-step process used by comedians in telling a joke: setup, buildup, payoff. It’s what keeps a reader turning the pages, which after all, is my goal. And considering the last line on this page, is there anyone who wouldn’t turn the page?
Learn more about the book and author at Jeffrey Siger's website.

The Page 69 Test: Murder in Mykonos.

The Page 69 Test: Prey on Patmos.

The Page 69 Test: Target Tinos.

The Page 69 Test: Mykonos After Midnight.

--Marshal Zeringue