Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Julia Buckley's "The Dark Backward"

Julia Buckley is the author of the mystery novels Madeline Mann, which Kirkus called a "bright debut," and The Dark Backward.

She applied the "Page 99 Test" to The Dark Backward and reported the following:
Page 99 of The Dark Backward reveals what I suppose is a common feature of the suspense novel: shifting allegiances. I like to read books that don’t make it clear, initially, whom I should trust, and I like to employ that concept in my writing, as well.

The novel revolves around a young policewoman named Lily Caldwell and the corrupt governor, Nob Stevens, whom she is trying, single-handedly, to bring down. Initially, no one believes her; on page 99, though, two different people have begun to question the governor’s integrity: his wife and his personal assistant.

It is still unclear, I think, on what side these characters will fall — or at least one of them, John Pierre, is morally ambiguous. But page 99 hints that changes are afoot for that young assistant:

“Pierre was twenty-nine years old and experiencing his very first crisis of conscience ... he had trusted the governor implicitly for four years and now, in an instant, he didn’t trust him anymore.”

This is a transition point in the novel, and I would beseech you to read the whole thing in order to understand why Pierre’s trust is such a crucial thing. I’m told that it’s a rapid read with many cliffhangers — but judge for yourself!
View The Dark Backward book trailer and learn more about the author and her books at Julia Buckley's website and her blog, Mysterious Musings.

--Marshal Zeringue