Sunday, March 11, 2007

Jonathan Santlofer's "Anatomy of Fear"

Jonathan Santlofer is a highly respected artist whose work has been written about and reviewed in the New York Times, Art in America, Artforum, and Arts and appears in many public, private, and corporate collections such as Chase Manhattan Bank and the Art Institute of Chicago. He serves on the board of Yaddo, one of the oldest artist communities in the country.

His fourth novel, due out in April, is Anatomy of Fear.

He put Anatomy of Fear to the "Page 99 Test" and reported the following:
I suspect that any page of my prose may well be like another. One could say that words are like brushstrokes in a painting, independent but working together to create an image or in this case, a story.

Here goes...

Page 99, Anatomy of Fear:

Ah, the end of a chapter, and a cryptic one if read independently. Here we have the FBI gathering evidence. They've been brought onto the case of a madman who leaves portraits of his victims at crime scenes. The agent in charge, Monica Collins, is nervous -- and she should be. She is trying to trump the NYPD, but it's going to be a close race. The protagonist, sketch artist Nate Rodriguez, has the only tangible clue at this point having drawn half of the unknown subject's face from talking to witnesses. But soon enough Nate will find himself the subject of FBI scrutiny.

This is page 99 of the advance galley which will be different in the finished book, out in April. I have illustrated the novel with both Nate's and the killer's drawings, and the pictures will be larger in the final copy and therefore page numbers will shift. If it turns out that page 99 is entirely a drawing will it verify the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words?

I had to check out page 69 (McLuhan vs. Ford Madox Ford), which turns out to be one of the most revealing in the book. Here, sketch artist Nate Rodriguez, is trying to draw the face of the unknown killer, but an image of his dead father keeps rising in his subconscious. Trying to get past his father's death will be as great a challenge for Nate as coming face to face with a savage killer.
Visit Jonathan Santlofer's official website for more information about his art and novels, including an author's note that discusses Anatomy of Fear.

--Marshal Zeringue