Monday, January 23, 2023

"Don't Open the Door"

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Allison Brennan believes life is too short to be bored, so she had five children and writes three books a year. Reviewers have called her “a master of suspense” and RT Book Reviews said her books are “mesmerizing” and “complex.” She’s been nominated for multiple awards, including the Thriller, RWA’s Best Romantic Suspense (five times), and twice won the Daphne du Maurier award. She lives in Arizona with her family and assorted pets.

Brennan applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Don't Open the Door, and reported the following:
From page 69:
In the kitchen, she put down the two bags and let out the breath she’d been holding. She then inhaled deeply, exhaled, getting her bearings. These last two days had been emotional. Regan had been even-tempered since she was a kid, and that had helped her learn to remain calm in stressful situations. Charlie was right; she was good in a crisis. But being calm and rational made these complex memories and emotions more difficult to deal with, because there was nothing rational about any of this. She’d much rather be in the middle of an active shooter situation where her training and muscle memory would kick in, than standing in Tommy’s kitchen with memories of him, of her son, of her ex-husband, of her previous life, all punching her skull, fighting for attention.

And Regan, standing there alone, unsure how to fix anything.

Regan unloaded the groceries. She noticed a New York strip steak that hadn’t expired. Tommy loved to grill. There were fresh vegetables. She would eat them, think about Tommy, about their friendship and what might have been had life dealt them a different hand.

She closed the refrigerator as if closing her emotions. She couldn’t find the truth if she allowed the past to creep in and drag her down.

Then she saw a picture of her, Tommy and Chase, taken a few years ago at a Marshals family picnic. She stared at it, trying to feel that past happiness that had been her life — content, satisfied, successful in her career. Her marriage wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t bad. She had many friends, a home, a son. Her family. Imperfect, but hers.

Now gone.
The Page 69 Test mostly works for Don’t Open the Door. While this is the middle of a “quiet” scene where Regan is both ruminating on the past and working through Tommy’s investigation through his personal notes, it gives us a snapshot of what the story is about: Regan Merritt is in the home of her dead friend, struggling with her emotions, remembering her past and all that she has lost in the last year. I also think it shows Regan’s personality and character well: that she is calm, logical, good in a crisis, deals better with action than emotion — and that she is now facing something she feels ill- prepared for.

More than anything, I think this page leads to questions: what happened a year ago that shattered Regan’s life? How did Tommy die and why is she alone now in his house? Will she be able to find the truth, and what is the truth? I would hope that if someone turned to this page, they would want to read on, to find these answers.
Visit Allison Brennan's website.

My Book, The Movie: Don't Open the Door.

--Marshal Zeringue