Top 30 Opening Words

Some opening words of the latest FASTBACKS from Southampton Library Service top 30 books. What makes you read on?

Top 30 Authors

51g5C9Eo-OL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-66,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_Kate Atkinson • ‘Life After Life’  – A FUG OF tobacco smoke and damp clammy air hit her as she entered the café.

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Sophie Kinsella – ‘Wedding Night’Prologue – Young people!’

Mark Billingham • The Dying Hours’Prologue – ‘How much blood?’

Rosamund Lupton – ‘Forgive Me’ – ‘Prologue – Flora kicked off her shoes, pulled her dress over her head and tossed it on the bed’.

Maeve Binchy 

510RdMOZELL__SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU02_AA160_Ian McEwan – ‘Sweet Tooth’ – ‘My name is Serena Frome (rhymes with plume) and almost forty years ago I was sent on a secret mission for the British Secret Service.’

Dan Brown

51iwRssMi5L__SL150_Stephen King

Jo Nesbo – ‘The Bat’ – ‘Something was wrong.’

Lee Child – ‘Never Go Back’ – ‘Eventually they put Reacher in a car and drove him to a motel a mile away,where the night clerk gave him a room, which had all the features Reacher expected, because he had seen such rooms a thousand times before.’

James Patterson
• Harlan Coben • Lesley Pearse
• Martina Cole • Jodi Picoult
51CDfE2J1FL__SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU02_AA160_ Michael Connolly ‘The Gods of Guilt’ – ‘I approach the witness stand with a warm and welcoming smile.‘                                                     

• Ian Rankin • Ken Follett • Kathy Reichs                                             

Tess Gerritsen ‘Last to Die’ – ‘On the night that thirteen-year-old Claire Ward should have died, she stood on the window ledge of her third floor Ithica bedroom, trying to decide whether to jump.’

Ruth Rendell
• Philippa Gregory • Peter Robinson
• John Grisham •

Karin Slaughter – Unseen’ – ‘Detective Lena Adams winced as she took of her t shirt.’
P D James •

51dPiN0GpoL__SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU02_AA160_Wilbur Smith

Peter James



51XYpK+ffdL__SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU02_AA160_S J Watson




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Splicing and Slicing


I am half way through Karin Slaughter’s latest book, ‘Criminal’. Well written? Yes. Plot, Fairisle knitting, in fact, I decided after a row of exhilarating chapters which threw me forward then back 30 years, I would separate the splices.

I am well aware of the method/tool/ devise of splicing and it can be exciting, BUT Slaughter has made it, for me, irritating.

I devour 1970 then hurtle to ‘present day’, wow, I have indigestion, not good at bed time. I will experiment by reading all 1970, then the rest of ‘present day’. She’s too clever by half.
     I ventured into a detailed and visceral description of a tortured, woman. Slaughter’s mind had been there, looking, recording. Too much for me. I stepped out.
    When the plot drags because author research takes centre stage, I read the first line of every paragraph until she’s finished. This has happened two days in a row.
     Yesterday I thought the book too long, I needed closure. And too plot-driven, even though the characters are strong. A successful writer well into her craft, can loose sight. Patricia Cornwell, a very successful crime writer, did. After ten cracking good stories with Kay Scarpetta, lots of character involvement for the reader, she became boring, tried to get herself out of the hole she knew she was in, but didn’t succeed.
     There is a big difference between ‘flashback’ and ‘splicing’. Lackberg makes enormous use of flashback bordering on splicing. ‘Criminal’ makes use of both. It is indeed a mouthful.
     But, like chocolate, it’s moreish, and gobble-inducing writing causes reader indigestion.
     I did a rough word count; 144.000.
     Shall I jump to the last chapter? Here goes. I shall find out whodunit and whether the three protagonists end up fitting together or not.