My favorite first line of all time comes from Jodi Picoult’s book, SECOND GLANCE. Here’s the line: “Ross Wakeman succeeded the first time he tried to kill himself, but not the second or the third.” (Isn’t that delicious?)

Again, more first lines from novelists’ work. Which make you really want to read more?

When Cooper saw the deputy creep around the corner of the warehouse, he knew it would end badly.

From the untitled WIP sequel to “Hell in a Briefcase”, by Brad Whittington.

My brother was dead and I couldn’t find his body. From “Mozart’s Sister” by Nancy Moser.

For pure nastiness, it’s tough to beat wolf spit. John Robinson, the Joe Box series

Ever notice how right before some people go off or blow or explode, their eyelids flicker, their lips squeeze together, and then those tendons in the neck turn into rope strands? From GRACE NOTES, by Dandy Daley Mackall

“Sisters, girlfriends and troublemakers (you know who you are) you are fearfully and wonderfully made! In other words, God doesn’t make junk. Thankfully his children do, and that’s why we have been blessed with fleamarkets.” (From Sisterhood of the Queen Mamas Annie Jones, Dec 06)

The colored fellow came early in the morning, poling a pirogue through mist so heavy on the river you could not see a stone’s throw out. – From River Rising, by Athol Dickson

The whimper came, no more than a note of longing—or fear—in a child’s throat.—from WAYFARERS (working title) by Kristen Heitzmann

Adam Mackintosh tied his horse’s reins to a post and followed his liege lord, Robert the Bruce, into Greyfriars Church. from Circle of Honor, by Carol Umberger

Icy rain pelted Louise Howard Smith, stinging with the northeast wind that blasted against the entrance of Time for Tea as she tugged at the door. From Rosemary for Remembrance by Sunni Jeffers

On New Year’s Eve, Lucy Jameson saw her Mama’s face in the fire. From Grave Risk. Hannah Alexander

Merit Sullivan pressed the accelerator to the floor and held her breath as her minivan squirted through the tail end of a yellow light.

from Like it Always Was, by Robert Elmer

If I had known what success would cost me, I would have paid my fees for failure and called it a day. From Split Ends, by Kristin Billerbeck

Sometimes, when the wind blows just right over the fields, I can still smell the spice of her perfume. from Veil of Fire by Marlo Schlaseky

Ivy Griffith stood beside her pink-and-silver snowmobile, her breath turning to vapor in the late afternoon chill, her gaze set on the giant cottonwood tree that marked the secret grave like a towering headstone. From EVER PRESENT DANGER by Kathy Herman

“Stealing came easy today.” From NIGHT LIGHT, by Terri Blackstock

“Rafe Noble, two-time world champion bull rider and current king of the gold buckle, had never met a bull that he feared.” From TAMING RAFE by Susan Warren

‘She was being watched.’ From Eden Hall by Veronica Heley

Laurel Kincade, surrounded by reporters in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building, suddenly understood the propensity of her great-great grandmother to shoot Yankee invaders on sight and ask questions later. Elizabeth White–Off the Record,

“Reba Pride Cahill keeps losing things–her keys, her contacts, her car–now she can’t find her husband.” –From Pride of Bitterroot County cozy mystery series, by Stephen and Janet Bly

“I need to get in shape,” I said one early summer day as I sat at my desk in the newsroom. “For the wedding.”

From CAUGHT REDHANDED, by Gayle Roper


1 Comment

  1. Erica Vetsch

    These are great. My favorite first line comes from TO THE HILT by Dick Francis.

    “I don’t suppose my step-father much minded dying; that he almost took me with him wasn’t really his fault.”


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