Saturday, June 27, 2009

Chris Knopf's "Hard Stop"

Chris Knopf is the author of the Sam Acquillo Hamptons mysteries: The Last Refuge, Two Time, Head Wounds, and the newly released Hard Stop.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to the new novel and reported the following:
As it turns out, page 99 of Hard Stop, the fourth in the Sam Acquillo Hamptons Mystery series, is one of the most important pages in the whole book. How did this happen?

A good mystery is almost always a series of mini-mysteries, wherein the reader gets to guess mini-solutions, like, why did the murder weapon come from Portugal? Why did the single, male victim have a closet full of women's clothes (not his size?) What happened to the victim's car, a collectible 1967 GTO? What about that $450,000 stuffed in the mattress of the victim's girlfriend's mother?

In Hard Stop, the biggest mini-mystery is solved on page 99. So there you go.

If you buy the book, avoid that page until you read the preceding pages. Unless you're adverse to suspense, in which case, go there directly after reading the opening chapters. Then go to about page 262, where you can learn the solution to the core mystery and avoid the necessity of actually reading the entire book. I realize most people suffer from severe time-deprivation, so for you, this might be an efficient way to enjoy books like mine.

For the rest of us, and I count myself among those who hate to figure out the answer before it's revealed, you'll want to ride along with Sam Acquillo as he stumbles toward a solution to the puzzle he's been confronted with.

My favorite crime book of all time, and I've read a lot of them, is Presumed Innocent by Scot Turow. This is a truly brilliant book - compelling, beautifully written, full of surprises, and intimate, in that you feel like the protagonist/1st person narrator tells the tale as the two of you sip scotch in front of a roaring fire. I had no idea of the solution to the mystery until he revealed it. My hair literally stood on end.

That's my definition of a great book of suspense. In my mind, the best books there are.
Visit Chris Knopf's website to learn more about the Sam Acquillo Hamptons mysteries.

--Marshal Zeringue