Category: Book Beginnings Meme (page 1 of 8)

#BookBeginnings The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman

Today I have an old favorite, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

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The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax*by Dorothy Gilman

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Summary:  Mrs. Virgil (Emily) Pollifax of New Brunswick, New Jersey, is a widow with grown children and an unremarkable life. She is tired of attending her Garden Club meetings and frankly, is more than a little depressed. She wants to do something good for her country, so she becomes a CIA agent.

This is first in an enjoyable series.

First Sentence of The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax:

The nurse walked out of the room, closing the door behind her, and Mrs. Pollifax looked at the doctor and he looked at her. He was a very nice young man, with black hair, very white teeth and horn-rimmed glasses that he removed now, placing the stem of the earpiece between his teeth. “Well, Mrs. Pollifax,” he said pleasantly, “I don’t know how you manage it, but for a woman of your age, you’re in fantastically good health. I congratulate you.”

Discussion:

What I love about this beginning — and it is perfect because it gives a taste of what is to come in the rest of the novel — is the surprising twist, the defying of expectations. The reader starts out expecting that the doctor is going to give Mrs. Pollifax bad news about her health, but he doesn’t. She is perfectly healthy.  In the next bit there’s another twist when we find out Mrs. Pollifax is actually disappointed her health is good. Dorothy Gilman is a master of setting up expectations and then breaking them in fun and interesting ways.

What do you think? Would you continue? Have you read any of the Mrs. Pollifax mysteries?

#BookBeginnings The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

Today we have a historical mystery, The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey, for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

book-beginnings-button-hurwitz

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

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I have read and enjoyed a couple of the novels in Sujata Massey’s Rei Shimura mystery series, which are (initially) set in contemporary Japan. In a noticeable departure, this novel is set in Bombay in the 1920s.

Summary:  Perveen Mistry has just joined her father’s law practice, making her one of the first female lawyers in India.  When she notices that the three wives of a deceased wealthy businessman have all relinquished their inheritance, Perveen decides to find out why. Someone is trying to hide the truth, however, and that person is willing to resort to murder. Perveen must figure out what is going on before anyone else is harmed.

First Sentence:

A Stranger’s Gaze
Bombay, February 1921

On the morning Perveen saw the stranger, they’d almost collided.
Perveen had come upon him half-hidden in the portico entrance to Mistray House. The unshaven, middle-aged man appeared as if he’d slept for several days and nights in his broadcloth shirt and grimy cotton dhoti that hung in a thousand creases from his waist to his ankles, His small, squinting eyes were tired, and he exuded a rank odor of sweat mixed with betal nut.

Discussion:

Does it work for you when the author simply states the “where” and “when” at the beginning of the chapter like Massey does here?

Sometimes authors artfully incorporate that information in the first few sentences, but I like when they simply state it, too. I prefer when the author does give away some information about who, where, and when up front rather than leaving us guessing.

I also like that she includes enough information for the reader to figure out that a dhoti might be similar to pants since it hangs from his waist to ankles.

What do you think? Have you read The Widows of Malabar Hill? Would you like to?

#BookBeginnings The Crooked Staircase by Dean Koontz

We have the newest Jane Hawk thriller, The Crooked Staircase by Dean Koontz for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

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The Crooked Staircase* by Dean Koontz


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Summary:  In the third novel of the series, Jane Hawk is still hunting the secret organization responsible for her husband’s death as well as the deaths countless other innocent victims. Previously an FBI agent, her pursuit of the villains has turned her former employers against her, so now she is running from both former friends and enemies. Will she be able to stop the man behind it all before her pursuers catch her?

First Sentence of The Crooked Staircase:

At seven o’clock on that night in March, during a thunderless but heavy rain pounding as loud as an orchestra of kettledrums, Sara Holdsteck finally left the offices of Paradise Real Estate, carrying her briefcase in her left hand, open purse slung over her left shoulder, right hand free for a cross-body draw of the gun in the purse.

Discussion:

What a lot of information in one sentence! We have the who, when, and where as well as a set up that leaves the reader wondering what is going to happen next.

Conventional wisdom says not to start a novel with a reference to the weather, but since this sentence includes so much else in addition to the rain, I think it works.

What do you think? Have you read any of Koontz’s Jane Hawk thrillers?

Hope you are having a wonderful Friday!

#BookBeginnings Fade to Black by David Rosenfelt

This week I found the thriller Fade to Black by David Rosenfelt at our local library. Let’s take a look at it for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

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Fade to Black* by David Rosenfelt


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Summary:

After getting shot in the line of duty, New Jersey state police officer Doug Brock has been busy rebuilding his life. His fiancé suggests he attend an amnesia support group where he meets Sean Conner.  Sean approaches him after a meeting with a scrapbook of a murder victim that he found in his attic. Conner, who also has amnesia, has no idea who the girl is or why he might have made the scrapbook. Doug agrees to help and convinces his captain to open the cold case. When he discovers that he had a personal connection, suddenly he’s questioning everything he thought he knew about Sean and about his own past.

First Sentence:

His name was William Simmons, but no one he knew really cared about that. Social workers asked him for his name when they gave him a meal, or if he checked in for a cot on a particularly cold night, but they wrote it down without paying much attention.

Discussion:

It’s not really clear who this character is and how he fits into the story. We meet the protagonist, Doug Brock, in the second chapter.

What do you think? Have you ever read any of David Rosenfelt’s novels?

#BookBeginnings I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

A good friend recently gave me a copy of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark:  One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara. Let’s take a look at it for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

book-beginnings-button-Michelle McNamara

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer*

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Summary:  True crime journalist Michelle McNamara began investigating a serial rapist and killer from the 1970s and 1980s who she called the Golden State Killer. She created a website to talk to others interested in the case. She relentlessly gathered information from police reports, and tracked down and interviewed victims. Finally, she wrote this book about her findings.

Note:  Michelle McNamara died shortly after getting the book deal in April 2016. Another writer and her husband finished the book and it was published in February 2018. Two months later, authorities made an arrest in the case.

First Sentence:

That summer I hunted the serial killer at night from my daughter’s playroom.

Discussion:

Michelle McNamara explains how she goes through a normal bedtime routine and when her family is asleep, uses her computer to research the case. On the next page she reveals that the Golden State Killer entered homes of victims beforehand and set the stage prior to the actual attack. The juxtaposition of a safe, comfortable home environment and someone breaking in to commit a violent crime is really powerful.

What do you think? Do you read true crime? Have you heard about this case?

#BookBeginnings The Late Show by Michael Connelly

Let’s check out The Late Show by Michael Connelly for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

book-beginnings-button-hurwitz

The Late Show*by Michael Connelly

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I started reading Connelly’s  Harry Bosch mystery series several years ago because of my stepfather’s recommendation and really enjoyed them. This novel introduces a new character, Renée Ballard.

Book Jacket Blurb:  Renée Ballard is a police detective who works the midnight shift, catching new cases but never getting the opportunity to see them through because they are passed on to the day shift. That is until she and her partner are sent to the hospital to check on a badly beaten prostitute and a young waitress who was shot in a bar fight. Renee senses these are important cases and decides to follow the investigations to the end. Can she obtain justice for the victims no one else cares about?

First Sentence of The Late Show:

Ballard and Jenkins rolled up to the house on El Centro shortly before midnight, It was the first call of the shift.

Discussion:

Michael Connelly has written some intriguing first lines for his novels. This one answers who, where, and when in just a few words.

He also tends to torture his main characters with workplace problems. In this case, Renée Ballard is working the midnight shift because she had accused her supervisor of sexual harassment and the supervisor demoted her.

What do you think? Would you keep reading? Are you a fan of Michael Connelly?

#BookBeginnings Killing the Blues by Michael Brandman

Today we’re reading Robert B. Parker’s Killing the Blues (A Jesse Stone Novel) by Michael Brandman for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

book-beginnings-button-hurwitz

Robert B. Parker’s Killing the Blues* (A Jesse Stone Novel) by Michael Brandman

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When Robert B. Parker passed away in 2010, Michael Brandman took over writing the Jesse Stone novels. In addition to Killing the Blues, he also wrote Fool Me Twice and Damned if You Do for the same series.

Summary: Jesse Stone has taken a job as chief of police in Paradise, Massachusetts as a way of leaving his disturbing past in Los Angeles behind. When a string of car thefts lead to murder, he must find a way to protect the summer tourists and at the same time figure out if his past might have come back to haunt him.

First Sentence:

Coffee was the only thing on Jesse Stone’s mind when he entered the Paradise police station on a bright New England spring morning.

His first stop was usually the coffeemaker. But when he saw what was happening in front of Suitcase Simpson’s desk, which was located across the aisle from the kitchen area, he headed for his office.

Discussion:

I like that the story starts in a low key way, instead of dropping a murder in the first scene as many murder mysteries do. We get to know the characters before the action starts.

What do you think? Do you like the beginning? Would you keep reading?

Are you a Robert Parker fan? What do you think when another author takes over a series?

#BookBeginnings Testimony by Anita Shreve

Today we’re starting the next book in The Bestseller Code 100 challengeTestimony by Anita Shreve for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

book-beginnings-button-hurwitz

Testimony* by Anita Shreve

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Summary:  When the headmaster of Avery Academy receives a video of his students engaged in sexual acts with an underage girl, he is shocked. What will be the consequences for the students involved and for the school, which is already struggling? How did this happen and what should he do about it?

First Sentence:

It was a small cassette, not much bigger than the palm of his hand, and when Mike thought about the terrible license and risk exhibited on the tape, as well as its resultant destructive power, it was as though the two-by three plastic package had been radioactive.

Discussion:

The first chapter  should come with a warning. I took the book with me to read while waiting to get my car’s oil changed. Within minutes I realized that the intense description of sexual acts on the video weren’t something I felt comfortable reading in public. It made me squirm with embarrassment and I had to put it away. That is the first time I’ve ever had that happen. (I did my grocery list instead).

Have you ever had to quit reading a book because of similar circumstances?

What do you think? Would you read Testimony?

#BookBeginnings A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Today we’re looking forward to starting the next book in The Bestseller Code 100 challengeA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

book-beginnings-button-hurwitz

A Visit from the Goon Squad* by Jennifer Egan

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Summary:  Written like a collection of loosely-knit short stories, the novel centers on a two characters, a recording executive named Bennie and his employee, Sasha. The stories move through different times and settings.

First Sentence:

It began the usual way, in the bathroom of the Lassimo Hotel. Sasha was adjusting her yellow eye shadow in the mirror when she noticed a bag on the floor beside the sink that must have belonged to the woman whose peeing she could faintly hear through the vaultlike door of a toilet stall. Inside the rim of the bag, barely visible, was a wallet made of pale green leather.

Discussion:

Do you think she’s going to take the wallet or not?

While in a therapy session, Sasha reveals that not taking the wallet is a bigger challenge than stealing it.  Showing her unusual response to what is essentially an everyday occurrence gives the reader a deep insight into her character right at the start.

I can see why Jennifer Egan won the Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for this novel.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Or have you already read A Visit from the Goon Squad?

#BookBeginnings American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

Today we’re starting the next book in The Bestseller Code 100 challengeAmerican Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

book-beginnings-button-hurwitz

American Wife* by Curtis Sittenfeld

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Summary:  When quiet school librarian Alice Lindgren meets Charlie Blackwell, the charismatic son of a powerful Republican family, she doesn’t think they have much in common. That doesn’t prevent her, however, from falling in love and marrying him.  Before she knows it, he’s governor of their state and then president. As first lady, she must decide how to cope with the challenge of loving her husband, but disagreeing with many of his beliefs and actions.

According to a preface in the book,

“American Wife is a work of fiction loosely inspired by the life of an American first lady. Her husband, his parents, and certain prominent members of his administration are recognizable.

Although not identified by name, the protagonist is apparently modeled after Former First Lady Laura Bush, who was recently in the news.

First Sentence of Prologue,  American Wife :

June 2007, the White House

Have I made terrible mistakes?

The paragraph that follows goes on to tell the reader how Alice deals with her husband’s snoring. She admits she has difficulty sleeping for other reasons, too.

First Sentence, Chapter One

In 1954, the summer before I entered third grade, my grandmother mistook Andrew Imhof for a girl.

This sentence is intriguing. It makes me wonder what this has to do with Alice’s future.

What do you think? Have you read American Wife? Would you like to read it?

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