Category: Book Beginnings Meme (Page 2 of 15)

#BookBeginnings Shamed by Linda Castillo

I’m reading this month’s pick by our library’s mystery discussion group, Shamed by Linda Castillo, 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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Shamed by Linda Castillo

Summary:  The 11th novel in the Kate Burkholder series starts with the murder of an Amish grandmother. Soon Kate earns that the woman’s seven-year-old granddaughter is missing. Kate sets off in a race against time to find the girl, but discovers the family, upstanding and respected members of the Amish community, are not telling her all that they know.

First Sentence Prologue:

No one went to the old Schattenbaum place anymore. No one had lived there since the flood back in 1969 washed away the crops and swept the outhouse and one of the barns into Painters Creek.

Love how the sense of place is evoked with the names.

First Sentence:

You see a lot of things when you’re the chief of police in a small town. Things most other people don’t know about — don’t want to know about — and are probably better off for it.

Discussion:

The prologue is in third person with past tense verbs, which gives it a bit of narrative distance. That’s good because  is about the murder, which is quite gruesome. The rest is mostly told in the first person from the point of view of the protagonist Kate Burkholder and present tense, which feels really immediate. I admire anyone who can write in the present tense. It pulls you in and speeds right along.

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The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

The younger man’s eyes dart left and right, as if he’s looking for an escape route in case I attack. He’s just realized where this is going and he doesn’t like it.

When I was looking for the quote, I realized Castillo sprinkles in many words of Deitsch, the language of the Amish.

What do you think? Have you read any books by Linda Castillo?

#BookBeginnings Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Let’s take a look at Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz 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-Gershkowitz

Magpie Murders* by Anthony Horowitz

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

 

A few weeks ago  I dipped my toe into metafiction with The Eighth Detective.  It is an interesting take on a mystery novel, so I dug up another example. Anthony Horowitz has been dabbling in metafiction mystery novels lately, mixing fictional reality and fictional fiction in interesting ways.

Summary:  Alan  Conway writes wildly successful British mysteries featuring detective Atticus Pünd. When his editor, Susan Ryeland, begins to read his newest manuscript, she becomes suspicious there’s more to the story than has been found in the earlier books, one that might involve a real murder.

First Sentence of Magpie Murders by Anthony Horwitz

A bottle of wine. A family-sized packet of Nacho Cheese Flavoured Tortilla Chips and a jar of hot salsa dip. A packet of cigarettes on the side (I know, I know). The rain hammering against the windows. And a book.

The book starts with a chapter from editor Susan Ryeland’s point of view as she sits down to read the manuscript. Except for the cigarettes, it sounds like a good day to me.

First Sentence of Magpie Murders by Alan Conway:

23 July 1955

There was going to be a funeral.

Okay, this is a bit mind boggling. After the first chapter comes a title page (with the same title but a different author, no less), about the author page, book blurbs, everything that you’d expect in a real book. In fact, it took me a few minutes to figure out where things actually started. I had to page back and forth a few times.

What’s really freaky is that the page numbering starts again for the manuscript, except the numbers are found at the bottom rather than the top of the page. The 56 is going to be inside the manuscript text.

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The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

‘He’d kill me,’ she replied. She smiled curiously. ‘Actually, he did try to kill me in a way — after our last row. ‘

It is weird to be looking for clues to more than one mystery within the text. There are the clues to the inside the manuscript mystery — as typically presented in a novel — and the clues to the outside of the manuscript mystery.  Which are which?

I’m beginning to think metafiction is going to require a whole new set of vocabulary words to describe the different layers.

What do you think? Would you give this a try? Have you read anything by Anthony Horowitz?

#BookBeginnings The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi

 

In a real visit to the library, I picked up The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi to read 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

The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:   When editor Julia Hart contacts retired mathematics professor Grant McAllister about republishing the book of seven mystery stories he had written 30 years ago, he agrees. As they read through the old stories, Julia notices inconsistencies. Are the problems mistakes or are they clues to a real life mystery?

First Sentence:

Spain, 1930

The two suspects sat on mismatched furniture in the white and almost featureless lounge, waiting for something to happen.

Discussion:

Based on the date, this is the first story of main character McAllister’s book, therefore a fictional book within a book of fiction.  I love the layer upon layer aspects of metafiction, so I’m excited to get started with this one. I’m already seeing possibilities for deeper meaning.

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The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

“Morning, Maggie,” she said to her sister. “What are you two doing?”

Rose stood up. “It’s afternoon, silly.”

Discussion:

Based on the names of the characters, this is likely another of McAllister’s stories . I haven’t read this far, so I’m not sure what is going on. I do wonder about the mistake with the time of day.

What do you think? Do you enjoy metafiction? Have you read this book?

#BookBeginnings And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall

Today let’s look at And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall 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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And Now She’s Gone* by Rachel Howzell Hall

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:   Novice private investigator Grayson Sykes’ job is to track down Isabel Lincoln, whose doctor boyfriend is concerned about Isabel’s mysterious disappearance. Grayson  is new to investigating, so new that when her pen runs out during her first interview, she’s too embarrassed to ask to borrow one.  Will she be able to unravel Isabel’s secrets and find her, even if she might not want to be found?

First Sentence:

She had to do it.
She had to glance in her rearview mirror.
Because a black SUV was rolling up behind her.

Discussion:

What do you think about the fact we have no idea who this character is? Is it confusing or does it make you want to know more? Often mysteries and thrillers start with the victim’s death. So is this the woman, Isabel, who is missing? Or someone else?

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The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

Pens — I need pens.

Who knew private investigators needed so many pens?

I like how the running pen gag gives a little levity to tense scenes and also keeps reminding us that Gray is new to this.

A few weeks back I read Rachel Howzell Hall’s Land of Shadows (prev. post) and enjoyed both her main character’s fresh voice and her vivid, inventive descriptions. So far, this one has the same strengths.

What do you think? Have you read any of Rachel Howzell’s novels?

#BookBeginnings Land of Shadows by Rachel Howzell Hall

Today I’m reading Land of Shadows by Rachel Howzell Hall 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-Gershkowitz

Land of Shadows* by Rachel Howzell Hall

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

 

Summary:  When a young girl is killed and left at a construction site, Homicide detective Elouise Norton is immediately suspicious  of the owner, who had been linked to the disappearance of Norton’s older sister twenty-five years prior. Norton is determined to get answers this time, but at what cost?

First Sentence:

Two hundred and six bones make up the adult human skeleton.

Discussion:

Over the last six months, I’ve attended many virtual book and writing events, and I’ve discovered so many new authors I want to read. I’d seen Rachel Hall at a couple of events and she seemed intriguing, so I decided I’d try the first book in her Lou Norton series. This first line does not disappoint.

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The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

I called Joey Jackson over and told him to take the warrant request to the courthouse and hand it to Judge Keener as soon as she popped her first can of Diet Coke.

 

This is a pretty standard police procedural, but the author drops in fresh descriptions and details that make it enjoyable. Can’t you just see the judge drinking Diet Coke to fortify her against her busy day?

What do you think? Have you found any new authors via virtual events?

#BookBeginnings The Cipher by Isabella Maldonado

Today I have a thriller by a local author, The Cipher by Isabella Maldonado 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 Cipher* by Isabella Maldonado

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

 

Summary:   FBI Special Agent Nina Guerrera is haunted by her troubled childhood. When a specter from her past starts a killing spree, Guerrera teams with mind hunter Dr. Jeffrey Wade to track him down.

First Sentence:

Nina Esperanza gazed up at the man who held her fate in his hands. Judge Albert McIntyre perused the submitted documents in silence.

Discussion:  Isabella Maldonado is a retired police captain and local Phoenix author. I’ve seen her speak several times, and have read the first book of her earlier series. As you would expect, the police procedures in her novels are spot on.  This one seems to be a lot more deeply violent than I remember her earlier works.

I like that we aren’t quite sure what is going on in the beginning. Is Nina a criminal about to be sentenced?

56

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

Wade lowered his voice. “If any of this becomes uncomfortable, I expect you to let me know.”

She looked him straight in the eye and lied. “I will.” She was already fifty clicks past uncomfortable.

 

Yikes, I know I’m in writer mode when I want to edit the quote. Anyway, the “fifty clicks past uncomfortable” captures her voice nicely.

What do you think? Are you in a thriller mood for Halloween?

#BookBeginnings The Secrets They Left Behind

Let’s take a peek at The Secrets They Left Behind by Lissa Marie Redmond 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

The Secrets They Left Behind* by Lissa Marie Redmond

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  While on Christmas break, three college freshmen disappear, leaving  their cell phones, coats, and purses behind. When the investigation grows cold, twenty-three-year-old Buffalo police officer Shea O’Connor goes undercover, posing as a freshman. Will she get the evidence she needs to find the young women or will she become a target herself?

First Sentence:

Monday, February 20th

If I had known the best thing that was going to happen to me that day was a black eye, I would have called in sick.

 

56

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

“Joe, this is Shea Anderson. She just moved here from Buffalo,” Kayla said in a disgusted voice, as if he smelled particularly repulsive that day.

“Shea Anderson? You sound like a French restaurant.”

“Good one,” I joked. “I’ve never heard that before.”

I recently finished a really dense 466 page mystery by P. D. James, so I’m looking forward to something more straightforward and this looks like just the thing.

I like the tough cop voice in the first sentence. I’m not so sure about the immature college freshman dialogue in the later quote, but I guess it is age appropriate.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Murder in Pigalle by Cara Black Review

A few weeks ago I read Murder in Pigalle by Cara Black for an online book discussion at my local library. It’s time to write my review.

Murder in Pigalle by Cara Black

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Although she wants to slow down her hectic life because of her pregnancy, private investigator Aimée Leduc still rushes to find the missing thirteen-year-old daughter of a friend. She’s afraid the girl’s disappearance may be related to a serial rapist terrorizing the Parisian neighborhood of Pigalle.

Positives:

Setting:

The Paris setting met and exceeded expectations. I was not surprised to learn that  author Cara Black actually tests the routes she writes about in the book. The details about places felt very real.

Protagonist:

Aimée Leduc is half French and half American. In this novel she is expecting her first child and her relationship with its father is complicated, to say the least. I had never read a book with a pregnant protagonist before, especially a private detective. It adds an interesting dimension to the story.

Premise:

The crime is heart wrenching and I really wanted Aimée to find the criminal.

Negatives:

Almost everyone in the discussion group commented on how difficult it was to remember the cast of characters. I finally had to write down a list of names and their roles to keep them straight. Part of the problem might have been that this is book #14 in the series and the author may have assumed we had read the earlier books and didn’t need to be introduced to recurring characters.  All I can say is that other authors have pulled this off much more successfully.

Big Spoiler Alert:

Don’t read any further if you want to read the book. 

Although this book looks like a traditional mystery, it is set up more like a suspense novel. It was disappointing to find out that the perpetrator was briefly introduced on page 193, about two thirds the way through the book. He was not a major character and most of the members of the discussion group admitted that after he was revealed, they had to look back through the text to figure out who he even was.

Conclusions:

Although I liked the Paris setting and the vivacious main character, the flaws in the novel make it unlikely that I will seek out any more of this series.

 

Public Domain Image by Michelle Diagle

#BookBeginnings Among the Shadows by Bruce Robert Coffin

Today I’m reading Among the Shadows by Bruce Robert Coffin 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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Among the Shadows by Bruce Robert Coffin

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  When a retired cop is murdered while in hospice, Detective Sergeant John Byron struggles to find a motive. Why would someone kill a man already so close to death? When second ex-Portland police officer is killed, Byron realizes the cases are linked and that if he doesn’t solve the murders quickly, more cops might die.

First Sentence:

The bitter stench of urine and impending death permeated the small dingy bedroom. Hawk stood next to the bed, looking down at O’Halloran.

Thoughts: 

I have to admit that first bit made me feel a bit squeamish. What about you?

Because we meet the victim and the killer pretty much in the first sentence of the book, this is not a traditional mystery. The publisher calls it a thriller.

56

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

Retired Detective Ray Humphrey, one of Byron’s oldest and dearest friends, had always said:  “If you find your train derailing during the course of the investigation, the best thing you can do is go back to the beginning.”

Discussion:

I recently watched a webinar featuring Bruce Robert Coffin, who — like his fictional protagonist –is a retired detective sergeant from Maine. I was impressed by what he said during the talk, so I picked up his first two books.  If you like police procedurals,  this is a good choice. You can tell the guy knows his stuff and isn’t afraid to put it on the page.

You can’t tell from the excerpts, but the Portland, Maine setting adds a dimension to the story, too.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

#BookBeginnings Murder in Pigalle

It has been way too long since I’ve been able to join  Book Beginnings on Fridays. Today I’m reading Murder in Pigalle by Cara Black for an online book discussion on Monday at my local library.

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-Gershkowitz

Murder in Pigalle by Cara Black

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Although she wants to slow down her hectic life because of her pregnancy, private investigator Aimée Leduc still rushes to find the missing thirteen-year-old daughter of a friend. She’s afraid the girl’s disappearance may be related to a serial rapist terrorizing the Parisian neighborhood of Pigalle.

First Sentence:

Paris, June 1998. Monday 1:15 P.M.

Stepping into the shadowed cool of Passage Verdeau, Aimée Leduc welcomed the reprieve from the late-June heat — but not the barrel of the Uzi blocking her way. Stifling a gasp, she clutched her stomach, felt a flutter,

Discussion:

Do you like this beginning?

I do. It gives a sense of the place, the person, and set a tone for the novel, all in a few words.

56

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

She had a little life stirring inside her. Part of her wondered what she would do to protect it. And it scared her.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with a pregnant protagonist, especially a private detective. It adds an interesting dimension to the story.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

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