Wednesday 15 August 2012

#OBSummer #Books - Ford 99 - Solstice

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Genre - Horror / Apocalyptic
Rating - PG13
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The Ford 99 test is sort of a funny way of determining the strength of a book. From that single page, can a book really be deemed a true page turner or a dud?

In the world of digital publishing, there can be more than one “page 99,” thankfully. For example, the print page 99 of Solstice found my characters at a dinner table with a genial ferryboat captain name Milo. Not much happens. Milo is a minor character that isn’t encountered again and the dinner is sort of the “calm before the storm.” Frankly, based on that passage, even I would hesitate to spend money on the entire book. The digital page 99 (from the Kindle version) is somewhat more interesting. Our heroes are confronted with a band of survivors who aren’t really “all there” mentally. Bibles in hand, they are up for a sacrifice to the rabid, hungry Ragers outside and who better to be offered up for lunch than Tomas and his small son? Fortunately for Tomas, it is around this section of the novel that timid Melanie realizes she needs to “man up” in order to save the guy she not-so-secretly loves. So, read on. Maybe this tidbit will grab you enough to want to see what happens next.

 The Bible woman let out a shriek of horror. “Non-believer!” She struck Tomas across the face, the slap echoing in the tavern like a firecracker and sending Christopher into a fresh round of wailing.
Seething, Melanie pushed forward again and, before she even realized what she was doing, balled her fist and slugged the older woman. “You don’t touch him!”
The woman reeled and dropped her Bible. Her bony hand flew to her injured ear. The place fell into complete, shocked silence for a moment, soon broken by the rumble of male laughter.
“Shut that harpy up, pretty thing!” someone shouted from the back of the crowd.
The woman scooped up her Bible and stood face to face with Melanie, her foul breath hot in Melanie’s face. The weak orange light made her long nose and sharp cheekbones appear too prominent, and she looked very much like a Halloween witch. “You’ll find yourself in Hell, little girl.”
“Then I’ll see you there.” Melanie met the woman’s bloodshot eyes until the woman turned on her heel and marched away, weaving through the bodies.
Melanie glanced at Tomas. The woman’s handprint was tattooed in crimson on his beard-roughened cheek. A line of blood trickled from the corner of his lip, and he licked it away. Things were getting out of hand quickly. Her stomach roiled at the thought of bringing out the gun. What if she screwed up and made things worse?
But how could the situation get any worse? With his wrists bound, Tomas stood no chance of fighting off those things once the guys shoved him outside. He’d be nothing more than fresh meat.
Father Vernon turned and faced his jury. “I’ll go. Perhaps I performed some trespass. No matter what, it is clear that I’ve failed this village.”

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