In no particular order, these are some of the opening lines from books I’ve read over the last twelve months that drew me in.
In the summer of 1886 I went down South to find and kill a man. It’s not what I would have chosen, and when I first arrived in the territory, I didn’t want to admit that’s what I was about. Nevertheless, I was well suited to the task – by my past and the shadows it cast in my soul.
As soon as she awakened, MacKenzie knew he meant to kill her. There was no confused, fumbling recollection of what had happened. On the contrary, she remembered everything with horrifying clarity.
Strobes of late morning sunlight sliced through the gaping shells of ruined buildings in radiant lances, stabbing a city long since dead.
I am not alone. Ghosts and spies surround me. I cannot run, nor hide. Shapes seem to move in the darkness about me.
Louis Armstrong ran down the platform as the Panama Limited was departing, his cardboard suitcase in one hand, his cornet case and tickets in the other.
Wind rips through the crags a thousand feet above, nothing moving in this godforsaken town, and the mule skinner knows that something is wrong.
It is the moon that wakes her.
It is always the moon that tells her, somehow, that sends the rush of fight-or-flight chemicals into her blood, galvanises her body with a warning of danger, a command to wake and act.
I’m maybe three or four metres away when he sees me. The gun swings across to point at my face. The barrel opening glints in the sun, a perfect circle.
Thirty seconds after the jury announced its verdict, I decided to kill my client.
Death one step in front of her. Death behind.
Innes Munro stood at the edge of the world, and a cold, watery grave lay ready to take her.
As the bitter wind howls through the night, attempting to prevent me from entering the cavern housing the Altar of the Gods, its chill pulls my breath forth in smoky puffs that I barely notice.
They’ve cordoned off the house by the time she gets home. A uniformed stranger is unwinding police tape, methodically.
Marnie watches from the safety of the car, her fingers icy on the ignition key, the engine running as if she might make a quick getaway, drive past and keep driving…
The night waited. She could hear the flakes of snow as they pillowed on the ground, heard the hoot of an owl, hidden in the brush of the pines. And somewhere, deep beneath the surface of that heavy silence, she could hear the beating of her own heart.
He laid out the body with almost fatherly care, stretching each limb wide, allowing the air to circulate freely around her skin. She was ashen but peaceful, her eyelashes bold against the greyness of her face, lips colourless.
The last time I saw my father alive he was strapped to a padded prison gurney, arms outstretched like he was about to be crucified.
On the rare occasions she’d pondered on such a thing, Dora had imagined the moment of her death to be profound, intense, even beautiful – a flash of joyous memory, a vision of God, the face of her beloved mother welcoming her into the next world.
Eleanor Raven had used the room before but not with the same guy. That would have been a mistake and she didn’t make mistakes: there was too much at stake.