I was doing one of my random Technorati searches the other day to see how many blogs had mentioned me and came across a link to my very first blurb on the America Reads blog. This is the blog that does the page 69 test of novels to see if it gets to the heart of the book. This particular entry was about Donna Moore’s excellent PI cliche-splitter “…Helena Handbasket.” and they quoted me from a blog post I did a year or so ago about how much I love Donne and her writing. Then I came across another reference to the page 69 test at the PJ Parrish blog so of course I had to do it myself.
The first page 69 is from my first novel “Lunchbox Hero”
How do you describe seeing your childhood hero’s corpse? I couldn’t deal with it so I did what I do when faced with situations I can’t handle—I ran away.
Years of watching TV cops stopped me from grabbing the gun or otherwise mucking up the crime scene. I spun on my heels and bolted out the same door Teresa had fled through moments earlier.I went back to my car and got back on the expressway looking for Teresa’s car. I knew she was too far ahead for me to really catch up with her, but my emotional infrastructure was caving in and concentrating on passing each car was enough to keep me from completely falling apart, temporarily.
Even though this is only a short passage, I think it really nails the heart and voice of that book. There’s bits about the lead’s childhood hero and his obsession with TV cop shows.
Now let’s look at my most recent book “The Scars We Carry”
It was only one shot at first. I recognized the noise and felt the pain in my back but it didn’t really connect with my brain right away that I was being shot. But the other shots followed quickly enough to remind me.
I was knocked to the ground by the initial shot, so the first wave of massive gunfire missed me as it ate into the hood and front side of the van. A bullet proof vest protects you from death if you’re hit in a vital spot, but it does not make you invincible.
The bullet still knocks you on your ass and takes the wind out of you. I also smacked my face on the ground when I went down. If they were coming from a back door in the house that would put them on the side of the garage where my legs were now lying.
Oddly enough, this section also starts a new chapter but I don’t think it tells the real story of the book at all. For one, it’s one of the few action scenes in the book and I don’t think I’m very skilled at writing action scenes. For another, it sounds rather generic and doesn’t really get the voice of my PI, I don’t think. So is this something I should look at or just hope the rest of the book holds together better than this one section out of context?