Wednesday, August 9, 2023


James Byrne is the pseudonym for an author who has worked for more than twenty years as a journalist and in politics. A native of the Pacific Northwest, he lives in Portland, Oregon.

Byrne applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Deadlock, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Deadlock is sort of perfect for this test. Desmond Aloysius Limerick, known as Dez, is a guy who comes to the aid of his friends. And he’s a former “gatekeeper” — that is, a breach-expert in a foreign military. He’s capable of opening any door, keeping it open for as long as necessary, and controlling who does, and doesn’t, go through.

And on page 69, he’s helping Laleh Swann, sister of his mate, Raziah Swann. He’s picking a lock and breaking into the apartment of a man in Portland, Oregon, who’s been murdered. He’s seeking answers.

Page 69: Loyalty and lockpicks. Perfect!

So if browsers opening my book to page 69, would they get a good idea of the whole work? I think the answer is yes. They’d get a sense of Dez’s humor, and how reticent he is to talk about his past. Laleh asks him how he has the skills, and he replies. “I had an interesting sort o’ job, for a time. Developed certain skill sets. All I can tell you is this: I wouldn’t use what I know to hurt your sister, and that means I wouldn’t use it to hurt you, either. You’ve my word for that.”

And that’s all she’s gonna get out of him on that topic!

One of the fun things about this book, for me, is that I get to introduce readers to Portland, a city I call home and love. Dez comes here to help the Swann sisters, but ends up running into an international conspiracy at a high-tech powerhouse company. I intersperse descriptions of Portland, of Oregon, of the Pacific Northwest, as I lay out my plot.

The city has gotten a bit bruised, what with the pandemic, and Black Lives Matter protests, and wildfire smoke, and an economic downturn, and homelessness, and the fentanyl crisis. But I’d advise people not to count Portland out. The people, the history, the laid-back vibe, the work ethic, the can-do political sense. Portland has a way of surprising you.

Just like Dez.
Visit James Byrne's website.

Q&A with James Byrne.

--Marshal Zeringue