It’s all on twelve months since I first wrote about my favourite opening lines, so I reckon I’ve read enough books to warrant another selection. So in no particular order, here they are. Clicking on the book title will take you to my review if you’d like more info.
Mabel had known there would be silence. That was the point, after all. No infants cooing or wailing. No neighbour children playfully hollering down the lane. No pad of small feet on wooden stairs worn smooth by generations, or clackety-clack of toys along the kitchen floor. All those sounds of her failure and regret would be left behind, and in their place there would be silence.
Lowcountry Punch by Boo Walker
The Miami I knew wasn’t all G-strings and mojitos. We were undercover, working our way up the stairs of a parking garage in the Latin Quarter, minutes from a cocaine exchange, with no backup. We’d been trying to get to whoever was up there for two weeks and needed to make arrests. I’d be damned if we were going to let them walk away just because there hadn’t been a chance to call it in.
Should I say it was an election year and emotions were running high? Or that the economy was in the tank and people were worried about money? Or that there was a war in the Middle East and in the Balkans and in a small country in East Africa? Or should I just say, this is the way things are and will always be?
Roarke is in the forest again, in the clearing outside the dark house. His breathing is labored…his heart pounding out of control. And the night is alive…with a presence other than his own.
He reaches into his jacket for the Glock – but his shoulder holster is empty.
Paleness slipped into the dark sky and erased the stars as gracefully and peacefully as if nothing had happened. I struggled for breath, my chest shuddering violently each time I pulled in the bitter air. My teeth clattered noisily, and I couldn’t feel my legs. I knew my jeans had been wet earlier, and they were frozen and hard as cement now that the fire had faded.
My sister is a scheming whore. I should have seen it coming, that day I saw Eli ride away from our house, and Megan wasn’t going to tell me he’d been here. And the day she came home late, looking like a tramp, her hair a tangled mess, and her arms full of bunches of stinking daffodils. I know, now, that she had been with him. All the signs were there, but it did not enter my head that she’d play that game again.
I was Mordwand of the Brigantes. Called Dead and cast out when I was alive. People feared me. It was late in the pregnancy of the woman who bore me – too late, the old woman had said. The old woman took her payment, laid her down, and placed the heavy flat stone on her rounded belly, added more weight – it is but one of the ways. She dies, but I survived – small, bloody, blue and broken.
A loud, desperate howl tore the silence. Followed by a jumble of ranting, screaming, and sobbing, it rolled between the plastered walls, shaking the Palace out of its usual afternoon rest, prematurely so.
Coyotl jumped to his feet, his heart pounding. Blinking in the strong light, he tried to concentrate, to understand what had happened.
I remember lying there thinking, so this is dying. It’s OK. Dying’s OK.
Don’t get me wrong, I was scared. The pain in my stomach, where the bullet had hit me – searing hot, then icy cold. My mouth was filling with blood, tasted like rusty metal. I turned my head to the side and spat a mouthful on the carpet.
Ignoring what was happening to me, I closed down, unable to acknowledge the truth of it. Knowing if I did, if I faced what was coming, if I opened that box, all the evils I’d spent so much time locking away deep inside would be loose once more.
Each contaminated raindrop tortures me, stinging my bruises and dribbling like acid into open wounds.
The heat of the past day hung heavily over Suicide Ridge. A rifle shot shattered the still night air. The young woman walking across the gravel pullout took the shot in her back; the bullet smashed through her body, winged out and kissed the air alongside the arm of the man she had been waiting to meet.
I heard my dad say that approximately once a week while I was growing up.
“Actually, I’d have been hanged, unless I was found guilty of heresy, too,” Mum was fond of reminding him. “Burning, as a punishment for witchcraft, only occurred in Scotland and other parts of Europe.”
She’d always been afraid of the dark. The shadows along the corridor of the hospital, the blackness of corners, the sounds, source unseen, on the maternity ward were the stuff her nightmares were made of.
Everything was pain. Everything he felt, everything he remembered. Pain, and pain, and pain. His dreams echoed with the sounds of agony, screams ricocheting through his head, Pain – and blood. Rivers of blood. Scarlet, coppery scented puddles spreading in front of him.
His wife wanted nothing more to do with him.
It was too late now, of course. Late…his first lucid thought of the day always began with the same mantra. The thought of being late sometimes had him leaping out of bed in a lather of anxiety.
Last year’s choices can be found here