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.
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. Continue reading
The selections below are a few of my favourites, which invited, pulled or hauled me into the story. I’d love to read opening lines that draw you into a book, so please feel free to leave any favourites in the comments.
The best trick I ever pulled off was watching myself die. I did a respectable job of it too – the dying, I mean, not the watching.
Tricked by Kevin Hearne
She thought of Chaos, and the original confusion, and felt as if she were part of that tumult. Earth and sea and heaven and hell were mixed up, and everything inside her was a whirligig. The Greek chorus was screaming in her head, all of them wanting out.
Multiple Wounds by Alan Russell
London, 1860. Dream world of pain and pleasure, of fantasy and phantom. It is midnight, a full moon and a cold mist rising up from the river.
Diamonds and Dust by Carol Hedges
The blood-orange sun rode low on the horizon, a seething scar of vibrant colour slashing the otherwise gray sky. A distant horn blared for the fourth time, and Jackson knew he’d pushed the limits as far as he could afford.
Three by Jay Posey
He’d been gone a week. Once I hadn’t wanted him around me, now I longed for his return. Strange how things could change, I mused, as I brought the ponies in from the field.
Before the Dawn by Georgia Rose
“What’s your name?”
The dream is always the same. I’m in jail. No, I’m in an interrogation room, being questioned for an alleged crime. A murder. My own murder.
Elvis Has Not Left The Building by JR Rain
The stone walls stood as they had for more than two centuries, simple, sturdy and strong. Mined from the hills and the valleys, they rose in testament to man’s inherent desire to leave his mark, to build and create.
The Next Always by Nora Roberts
The arrows came out of nowhere, showering down on the clearing like an early rain, making people gasp and scatter, darting for cover. Those who were not hit helped the wounded, dragging them along into the bushes as another volley burst from above.
The Peacekeeper by Zoe Saadia
Jack Gregory felt strong hands shove him into the moonlit alley, only dimly aware of the half-dozen men that encircled him as his focus shifted to the man that waited in the center of that ring. These self-appointed referees had brought them together here for two reasons: to watch a death match between Americans and to make sure Jack wasn’t the one who walked away.
Once Dead by Richard Phillips
The course of my best friend Harry Lanchester’s life was dramatically altered one rainy afternoon in August 1971, when his elder brother, Alex, fell to his death from a sheer rock face along the Llanberis Pass in North Wales.
Kings and Queens by Terry Tyler
Daniel Ash locked eyes with Olivia Silva, his gun held out in front of him. For a moment it was as if time itself had frozen solid. Then the corner of her lip curled up in the slightest of smiles.
Oh God. No!
Even as he thought this, he squeezed the trigger, but her finger was already plunging towards the ENTER key.
Pale Horse by Brett Battles
I’m pretty much f***ed. That’s my considered opinion.
Six days into what should be the greatest two months of my life and it’s turned into a nightmare. I don’t even know who’ll read this. I guess someone will find it eventually. Maybe a hundred years from now.
The Martian by Andy Weir
Claire Danielson didn’t know he was tracking her until the trees noticed him. Despite Academy training, her fieldwork was never more than adequate. But her workout run today was through the home wood, where her family had been casting for the past hundred years.
Just For The Spell Of It by Barb Taub
Three miles straight down were the men he’d come to kill. He stood in the open doorway of the aircraft as the one-hundred-fifty-mile-an-hour slipstream buffeted him, trying to pull him closer to the emptiness that lay beyond. It was a moonless night and there was nothing below him but the darkness of the windswept desert.
Zero Separation by Philip Donlay
I was a savage brought in from the wild, untameable and capable only of venting primitive furies upon the necessities of urban domesticity.
Inkker Hauser; Part 1 ~ Rum Hijack by Phil Conquest
The first memory that Nicola had of hating her mother was in 1969. Gene Pitney was playing on the radio, as the seven year old Nicola hopped from one foot to the other in a desperate attempt not to wet herself.
Dare To Lose by EL Lindley
I wake up on a pile of smouldering garbage and leaves in the old Hollywood Forever cemetery behind the Paramount Studio lot on Melrose, though these last details don’t come to me until later. Right now all I know is that I’m back in the world and I’m on fire.
Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
Alice pulled her cloak tightly round her as she pushed her way through the crowds. The gruesome shadow of the gallows loomed ahead, five rope nooses creaking in the bitter wind that whipped through Halstead’s bustling square.
The Black Hours by Alison Williams
With a steady hand he picked up a thin tube and attached it to the needle embedded into the woman’s smooth, pale skin. He’d insisted on doing this part of the procedure himself, as he’d done with his children. The President leaned towards his wife, kissed her lips, and wiped a tear from her cheek.
The Dead Lands by Dylan J Morgan