Last Friday, I started to read a romantic suspense book by a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author, and on the third page, two different brands of designer shoes were mentioned.
The first mention was irritating. The second mention had me closing the book. I don’t care about designer shoes, and characters who wear them aren’t interesting to me. If the beginning had been more compelling then I might have read on, but it was a later book in a series (I think the 8th), and in these first few pages the characters were talking about people from previous books. It’s a popular series, but I haven’t read the previous books. I’d picked it up at the library, knowing it wasn’t the first but willing to give it a try. But even if I had read the other books in the series, that uninteresting beginning would very likely have made me set the book down.
I recently critiqued Eyes to the Soul by Dale Mayer, book #7 of her Psychic Visions series, which is on pre-order right now. The blind heroine is in danger on the first page, and that’s how to hook me into a book.
It was torture.
Madeline Magda Monroe stood off to one side of a wooden podium, her hands clasped in front of her strong, slender body and a serious, thoughtful expression on her beautiful face. Next to her, a city official sporting a brown plaid jacket and a gray handlebar mustache droned on and on and on about all the good things that her mother, Mab Monroe, had done for Ashland.
Please. The only good thing Mab had ever done in her entire life was die. Something that I’d been all too happy to help her with.
Then again, that’s what assassins did, and I was the Spider, one of the best.
Every sentence is fascinating, and the writing compels the reader to keep turning the pages. This is how a book should start, no matter if it’s the first or twentieth book in a series.
Last week, I read two books from Kristan Higgins’ Blue Heron series without first checking to see what order they came in. After I started the first book, I didn’t even consider putting it down to see if the other one had been published first. As it turned out, the second was was published earlier, but it didn’t matter. I was enjoying the book too much to switch.
That’s what I want in a book. And if the author needs to mention the brand of the shoes the heroine wears, well, if you’ve hooked me by this time, then I won’t put the book down.
What are your pet peeves that make you stop reading a book?