You’ve Got Five Pages, #BlackMouth by Ronald Malfi, to Tell Me You’re Good. #FirstChapter #BookReview #Podcast

Hello, amazing fellow creatives! Here’s to more fun perusing the library’s new releases to see what strikes our fancy. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve retitled Story Cuppings to better fit the premise of the podcast.

As writers, we hear all the time that we’ve got to hook readers in just the first few pages or else. We’ve got to hook agents in the first few pages or else.

Whether you’re looking to get published or just hoping to hook your reader, first impressions are vital. Compelling opening scenes are the key to catching an agent or editor’s attention, and are crucial for keeping your reader engaged.


Well then, let’s study those first few pages in other people’s stories, shall we?

Today I snagged from the New Release shelf:

Black Mouth by Ronald Malfi

The first chapter of Black Mouth by Ronald Malfi is a fine example of how one can have the intense opener, change scenes a little, and STILL keep momentum.

If you do not see the audio player above, you can access the podcast here.

The protagonist gets hit by a double-whammy of a notice when he leaves rehab, but rather than move forward on that time, we backtrack to what caused the protagonist to be in rehab in the first place. While I was bothered by this at first, Malfi successfully avoids telling us how rehab went. Rather, we experience the protagonist’s spiral downward into a place of intense fear and pain. Could this just be the lack of alcohol, or is there something more sinister afoot? Plus, now that we know the protagonist is about to hear tragic information about his family, we are further intrigued to see how a man in such a state will handle such news. Considering the unique voice and personality of this character, I cannot predict what he will do…and that makes me a happy reader.

As always, I love hearing what’s on the shelves of your own libraries. Libraries Rock!

Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!

11 thoughts on “You’ve Got Five Pages, #BlackMouth by Ronald Malfi, to Tell Me You’re Good. #FirstChapter #BookReview #Podcast

  1. Hi. The next book I’ll read is Refugees, a collection of stories by Viet Thanh Nguyen. I got it from a local library a few weeks ago. Here’s a good opening line from one of the stories: “The first time the professor called Mrs. Khanh by the wrong name was at a wedding banquet, the kind of crowded affair they attended often, usually out of obligation.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Doesn’t it sound fun? I’m thinking it would be the perfect October read. 🙂 I do so hope your well. Our life has been yucky and chaotic, but we will find stability yet. xxxxxxxxxxxx


    • I totally get it, Peggy. I was having a chat about this with my daughter when she asked what kinds of books and movies really scared me. “Anything involving kidnapping and killing kids, Kiddo.” I said. “Those are outright nopes for me.”

      Liked by 1 person

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