First Chapter First Paragraph: Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

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.

My first paragraph this week is from Only Child by Rhiannon Navin, which will be published on 8 February 2018.

It begins:

The Day the Gunman Came

The thing I later remembered the most about the day the gunman came was my teacher Miss Russell’s breath. It was hot and smelled like coffee. The closet was dark except for a little light that was coming in through the crack of the door that Miss Russell was holding shut from inside. There was no door handle on the inside, only a loose metal piece, and she pulled in with her thumb and pointer finger.

“Be completely still, Zach,” she whispered.

“Don’t move.”


“We went to school that Tuesday like normal. Not all of us came home . . .” Huddled in a cloakroom with his classmates and teacher, six-year-old Zach can hear shots ringing through the corridors of his school. A gunman has entered the building and, in a matter of minutes, will have taken nineteen lives. In the aftermath of the shooting, the close knit community and its families are devastated.

Everyone deals with the tragedy differently. Zach’s father absents himself; his mother pursues a quest for justice — while Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses  himself in a world of books and drawing. Ultimately though, it is Zach who will show the adults in his life the way forward — as, sometimes, only a child can.

∼ ∼ 

I was just going to look at this, not start reading it but before I knew it I was hooked and well into the story. What do you think – would you read on?

11 thoughts on “First Chapter First Paragraph: Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

  1. This instantly made me think of the Dunblane shootings and yes, that opening had me hooked. The synopsis has me convinced by giving a clue about the direction the novel will take. Thank you for bringing this one to my attention, I hadn’t come across it before.


  2. I too, thought of Dunblane and the other more recent incidents in schools around the world. Would I read it? I’m not sure. It’s certainly a tense opening but I don’t know about the subject matter. I’ll look forward to your review though, Margaret 🙂


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