Page 99

Ford Madox Ford once asserted: "Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you."

Marshal Zeringue, author, playwright and head honcho at the Campaign for the American Reader, turned Ford's quip into an actual test. So when Marshal asks if you'd like to run your book through the Page 99 test, a mad scramble ensues to see what accident of typography and layout had put on that particular page, before you email back and say, sure!

Here's the Page 99 test for Force of Nature, which, as it happens, concerns a pivotal moment in 2005 when Wal-Mart, Hurricane Katrina, and a fledgling green initiative at the king of the big box stores  all collided --with surprising results.