On the excellent 4MA mailing list, one of the standard questions each month is "What is the first paragraph on Page X of the book you are reading?" I get loads of book recommendations that way, so I thought I would start a similar discussion here, as I am always looking for suggestions for books to read.

So what is the first paragraph or two of the book you are currently reading?

I've just started TO KISS OR KILL by Day Keene from 1951. Here's the first few paragraphs as they are short:

'You never can tell what a big tough Polish boy will do when he finds a nude blonde in his bathroom. Especially if he is a heavyweight fighter who was born back of the yards, is married to a million dollars, and has a psychiatric record.

He might do a number of things. He might tell her to get out. He might yell for his wife. He might blow what's left of his top. He might even do what Barney Mandell did, come to his addled senses.

It really happened, in Chicago. It happened to Barney Mandell on the afternoon on the day he was released from the asylum as cured, because he hadn't wrung a parrot's neck in two years.

Oh, yes. The nude blonde was dead.'



Isn't that marvellous? What a start. Tells you enough about Barney Mandell to make you want to know more.

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You have to learn to cheat, and not type it yourself. Google Books, and Amazon usually have the first chapter on their sites, so you can just cut and paste. So does my library in their catalog. Cheat, Cheat.
'Seventy-four to Control.' The paramedic's voice was tight. Sophie Phillips leaned forward and turned up the volume of the ambulance radio. "Seventy-four, go ahead," Control said. "We've got two children code two, post house-fire. Request urgent back-up". Sophie grimaced. Two kids in cardiac arrest. Jesus.

Frantic by (Crimespace's own) Katherine Howell
I've added a few of these to my list! What is that from, Douglas? I grabbed Diane Mott Davidson's The Cereal Murders on my way out of the house this morning. It's pretty light reading for my lunch break.

"I'd kill to get into Stanford."

A you've-got-to-be-kidding laugh snorted across one of the dining tables at the headmaster's house. "Start playing football," whispered another voice. "Then they'll kill to get you."
"All he had was her address. Rude des Pistoles, in the old neighborhood. It was years since he'd last been in Marseilles. But he didn't have a choice. Not now."

-from TOTAL CHAOS, by Jean-Claude Izzo, translated from the French by Howard Curtis.

Pretty good, so far. I assumed you wanted the paragraph of whatever fiction we're reading. I've got a ton of non-fiction on my desk, all open to different pages (research, research, research!) right now as well.
Jenny Williams sucked in a lungful of smoke. Her eyes followed the woman down the front walk, but her thoughts were still on Tanner. His hands had been steady because he wasn't taking his medicine. Which was also why his eyes wouldn't meet hers. And the damned fool told her he had himself under control. Yeah, yeah. She'd heard that story for the past ten years.

-from Fire Prayer by Deborah Turrell Atkinson (Aug. 2007) I'm not quite halfway through the latest Storm Kayama mystery, set in Hawaii, but this one is the best yet.
Here's the first paragraph of the book I'm starting next.

I have my arms around her, my chest pressed into her back, the tops of my thighs against her hamstrings, and I can feel a vibration from deep inside of her. Or maybe it is my own trembling. She has been quiet for what seems like an hour now, but time is hard to judge. There should be heat building from our shared body temepratures, so close together. But instead of a trickle of sweat between my shoulder blades there is a feeling of coldness on the back of my neck. It is a reaction that I recognize from too many police ops and I don't have to ask Sherry if she is feeling the same thing. Clinging together against the kitchen counter in this unfamiliar Everglades encampment, we are about as physically close as a man and woman can be but it has nothing to do with loe at the moment and everything to do with fear.

This is from Jonathon King's new book, Acts of Nature. I love King's descriptions, and can't wait to start his new book.
IN THE SOUTHERNMOST TIP of the island kingdom of Antyre, etc.

Good grief. I trust the prose isn't so overloaded once the plot starts?
THE REINCARNATIONIST, M.J. Rose

"Rome, Italy -- sixteen months ago

"Josh Ryder looked through the camera's viewfinder, focusing on the security guard arguing with a young mother whose hair was dyed so red it looked like she was on fire. The search of the woman's baby carriage was quickly becoming anything but routine, and Josh moved in closer for his next shot."

Very fast paced suspense takes us to another level of thrillers by adding intellectual and psychological exploration. On the second page we are dropped in a cold panic into 4th century Rome, then teeter vividly back and forth between times.

After dashing through the opening I paused for breath. I was amazed to discover I had already read 100 pages. I'm told THE REINCARNATIONIST is a major departure from the author's previous books, but haven't read any of the others -- yet.
You figure now you got me in your clutches, you going to read me, like a book, right?- going to look right into my brain and you going to read it page by page, like I was some cheap-jack midnight entertainment to make you forget the mess you're in-right? Get you chuckling, get your greasy thumbprints all over my thought, get you through another miserable lonely night, right, Stuyvesant?

From The Caveman's Valentine, a truly unique and amazing mystery by George Dawes Green. I strongly recommend it, if you haven't read it already. You will be in awe.
Moon. Glorious moon. Full, Fat, Reddish moon, the night as light as day, the moonlight flooding down across the land and bringing joy, joy, joy. Bringing too the full-throated call of the tropical night, the soft and wild voice of the wind roaring through the hairs on your arm, the hollow wail of starlight, the teeth-grinding bellow of the moonlight off the water.

From "Darkly Dreaming Dexter," by Jeff Lindsay

Am I the only one who hasn't read all the Dexter books? I'm so slow on the uptake. My hubby and daughter love the Showtime Series, but I wanted to read the books first. First person is so tough to write well!
Go, Dexter! I am so excited that the season premiere is Sept. 30th. I feel just like it's Christmas, although Santa is a serial stalker and Dexter has a microscope slide with his name on it.
Funny thing is, I love the tv show but couldn't finish the first book.

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