Sunday, March 16, 2008

Seth Harwood's "Jack Wakes Up"

Seth Harwood teaches writing and literature at the City College of San Francisco and Chabot College. In July 2006, he began the Jack Palms Crime Podcast Series.

His new novel, Jack Wakes Up, debuts today. Harwood applied the "Page 99 Test" to the book and reported the following:
From Page 99:

Jack slides his coffee cup back within easy reach, adds some sugar and milk.

Hopkins drinks, sets his cup down on the table. “Now you’re waiting, Jack. What’s the next question?”

“Someone tipped them off about our meet. Say they popped Ralph, now someone’s looking to sour his deal, hit his supplier and take him out of the picture. Why?”

Hopkins shrugs. “The way these things go? My guess is we follow this long enough, we find someone’s trying to take over the action in this town. That’s the supply line we want, because that’s the one who’s going to be big. Castroneves? He doesn’t give a shit about San Francisco. He’ll be gone in a week. We want the local line.”

Someone had to tell them about our meet.” Jack makes sure he’s looking Hopkins in the eye when he asks, “You know who dropped that tip?”

Hopkins shakes his head. “I’m with you. Either we got a hole somewhere in our force, or this club owner, guy who owns The Mirage, wants a raid and
a shooting in his place in one night.” He shakes his head. “I’m not banking on that one. He wants bad elements out, he calls us. He’s not looking to call in a murder.”

An officer from a booth across the aisle gets up, comes over to Jack’s side of the table. “You Jack Palms?” he asks, extending his hand with a pen in it and pushing a beverage napkin across the table toward Jack. “My kids loved your movie.”

I’d say this is a great representative sample of Jack Wakes Up. For one, Jack’s meeting with someone to find out what’s happened, trying to piece together the events that happened in his life the night before. That’s a lot of what Jack spends his time doing: trying to catch up to what’s already happened and putting the pieces together. Seems like he’s always half-a-step behind.

The second reason this is representative is it finds Jack in another one of the awkward situations of his semi-stardom. Having made the one hit action movie a few years back, and very little else but bad tabloid headlines, people recognize Jack and know his name, but not always in the best ways. Here, the cop wants Jack’s autograph for his daughter. What else can he do but sign?

And why not? He’s just found out he’s chasing after one of San Francisco’s biggest and most ambitious drug dealers.
Read an excerpt from Jack Wakes Up at Spinetingler Magazine, and learn more about the book and its author at Seth Harwood's website, his blog, and his MySpace page.

--Marshal Zeringue