First Chapter First Paragraph: Coffin Road by Peter May

Every Tuesday First Chapter, First Paragraph/Intros is hosted by Vicky of I’d Rather Be at the Beach sharing the first paragraph or two of a book she’s reading or plans to read soon.

This week I’m featuring a book that I’m thinking of reading soon – Coffin Road by Peter May.

Coffin Road

It begins:

The first thing I am aware of is the taste of salt. It fills my mouth. Pervasive. It dominates my being, smothering all other senses. Until the cold takes me. Sweeps me up and cradles me in its arms. Holding me so tightly I can’t seem to move. Except for the shivering. A raging, uncontrollable shivering. And somewhere in my mind I know this to be a good thing. My body is trying to generate heat. If I wasn’t shivering I would be dead.

I have written so many times that the use of the present tense is not my preferred tense – so why am I even thinking of reading this book? Well, it’s by Peter May and I’ve enjoyed all of his books that I’ve read. And I think this opening paragraph is so good at describing such extreme cold – the short sentences showing how hard it is to breathe – and at the same time without saying so lets you know this scene is by the sea. I hardly even noticed it’s written in the present tense!

This paragraph entices me to read this book – I want to know more. Why is this person in this situation?

The blurb tells you more:

A man stands bewildered on a deserted beach on the Hebridean Isle of Harris. He cannot remember who he is. The only clue to his identity is a folded map of a path named the Coffin Road. He does not know where this search will take him.

A detective from Lewis sits aboard a boat, filled with doubt. DS George Gunn knows that a bludgeoned corpse has been discovered on a remote rock twenty miles offshore. He does not know if he has what it takes to uncover how and why.

A teenage girl lies in her Edinburgh bedroom, desperate to discover the truth about her scientist father’s suicide. Two years on, Karen Fleming still cannot accept that he would wilfully abandon her. She does not yet know his secret.

Coffin Road follows three perilous journeys towards one shocking truth – and the realisation that ignorance can kill us.

∼ ∼ 

What do you think – would you read on?

25 thoughts on “First Chapter First Paragraph: Coffin Road by Peter May

  1. I think Peter May is incredibly talented, Margaret. He’s so good at creating an atmosphere, and at drawing the reader in, I like his characters, too. So, yes, I would definitely read on!


  2. I would definitely read it and will read eventually. I knew this one was out there, but I think I forgot that it was also set on Harris. Lovely! Hope you enjoy it, Margaret! Peter May’s books are absolute delights to me.

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  3. I read this one fairly recently, the first by the author for me. I did enjoy it but with some reservations. I didn’t find the main character to be likeable.

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  4. I did read on, and enjoyed it very much. It’s different from his other Lewis books – more like his earlier straight thriller style which he also does brilliantly. I may be wrong, but I seem to think it’s not all in present tense – I think he does the back story in past tense. But it’s a while since I read it…

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  5. I’ve never read anything by Peter May, but this beginning definitely grabs my attention, along with the blurb. I’d keep reading.


  6. I seem to be one of the few who don’t have a problem with the present tense. Either way, this opening certainly had me hooked, as did the blurb. I’ll look forward to your full review, Margaret 🙂


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