At last, we’ve got a fun one!
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.JEFF GERKE, THE FIRST FIFTY PAGES
Well then, let’s study those first few pages in other people’s stories, shall we?
Today I snagged from the New Release shelf:
Fortune Favors the Dead by Stephen Spotswood
While Fortune Favors the Dead by Stephen Spotswood is not a new book, it is new to my library. It’s the first of a “hard-boiled” detective series featuring a pair of women (one with multiple sclerosis) solving crimes in the 1940s.
If you do not see the audio player above, you can access the podcast here.
When I read that blurb about the detectives, I just had to give it a go, and I’m so glad I did. No need for bait-and-switch prologues here! We jump right into character Willowjean Parker describing the first time she meets detective Lillian Pentecost: “The first time I met Lillian Pentacost, I nearly caved her skull in with a piece of lead pipe.” It’s a wonderful opening line that brings the classic game/film Clue to mind, and it got me hooked to see how these two would really interact. Just as Pentecost’s body language and dialogue share a lot about her, so do Parker’s thoughts one what she sees and reacts to (“I took the wire out of her hand and had the job done in ten seconds flat. I’d picked harder locks blindfolded. Literally.”) I’m already eager to see how the other two books in this series shape up, for if these opening pages are any indication, Pentacost and Parker are not a pair to pass up.
No matter what the season brings, keep reading!
Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!