First Chapter First Paragraph: The Ghost by Robert Harris

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.

I’m currently reading The Ghost by Robert Harris, about a ghostwriter, not a tale of the supernatural.

The Ghost

 

The moment I heard how McAra died I should have walked away. I can see that now. I should have said, ‘Rick, I’m sorry, this isn’t for me, I don’t like the sound of it,’ finished my drink and left. But he was such a good storyteller, Rick – I often thought he should have been the writer and I the literary agent – that once he’s started talking there was never any question I wouldn’t listen, and by the time he had finished, I was hooked.

Blurb:

Britain’s former prime minister is holed up in a remote, ocean-front house in America, struggling to finish his memoirs, when his long-term assistant drowns. A professional ghostwriter is sent out to rescue the project – a man more used to working with fading rock stars and minor celebrities than ex-world leaders. The ghost soon discovers that his distinguished new client has secrets in his past that are returning to haunt him – secrets with the power to kill.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

First Chapter First Paragraph: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

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.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is one of the books I’m currently reading. It’s the first book in the All Souls Trilogy series.

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls, #1)

The leather-bound volume was nothing remarkable. To an ordinary historian, it would have looked no different from hundreds of other manuscripts in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, ancient and worn. But I knew there was something odd about it from the moment I collected it.

Blurb:

When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it’s an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she’s kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires.

Sensing the significance of Diana’s discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire genticist.

Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels…

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

I wasn’t at all sure that I wanted to read this book as I don’t often read books about witches or vampires, although I have read Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian. It was the opening paragraph that made me decide to try it – for several years I worked in the Archives Department of a County Council, so anything to do with ancient manuscripts fascinates me. I’m up to chapter 7 and it’s slow, easy reading and Diana is as much a reluctant witch as I am a reluctant reader of vampire stories.

First Chapter First Paragraph: Down to the Woods by M J Arlidge

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.

Down to the Woods by M J Arlidge is one of the books I’m currently reading.

Down to the Woods (Helen Grace #8)

She reached out and found only emptiness. The silky fabric was cool to her touch, which confused her. Where there should be a warm sentient being, there was just … a void.

Blurb:

There is a sickness in the forest. First, it was the wild horses. Now it’s innocent men and women, hunted down and murdered by a faceless figure. Lost in the darkness, they try to flee, they try to hide. In desperation, they call out for help. But there is no-one to hear their cries here…

DI Helen Grace must face down a new nightmare. The arrow-ridden victims hang from the New Forest’s ancient oaks, like pieces of strange fruit. Why are helpless holidaymakers being targeted in peak camping season? And what do their murders signify? Is a psychopath stalking the forest? Is there an occult element to the killings? Could the murders even be an offering to the Forest itself? Helen must walk into the darkness to discover the truth behind her most challenging, most macabre case yet.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

This is the 8th DI Helen Grace thriller. I haven’t read any of the earlier books but although it’s obvious there’s a lot of back story, it doesn’t seem to matter as I’m following this fast paced mystery with no problems. And it’s scary, set in the depths of the New Forest where evil is at large.

First Chapter First Paragraph: Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton

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 book this week is one of the books I’ve been thinking about reading soon. It’s Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton.

Dead Woman Walking

 

‘This woman – Jessica Lane – should have died. Eleven people were killed in that crash. Not only did Lane survive, she walked away. She’s still walking.

‘So, I want to know where she’s going. I want to know why she hasn’t been in touch. Why she isn’t seeking help. Why she’s deliberately avoiding the police.

‘I want to know who she’s running from.

‘Most of all I want her found.’

Blurb:

Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor.

She’s seen the killer’s face – but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime.

Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe – but it could be the most dangerous place of all . . .

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Well, I will – I want to know the answers too. And as I always find that Sharon Bolton is a brilliant storyteller I may just start reading it today.

First Chapter First Paragraph: I’ll Keep You Safe 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.

My book this week is one of the books I’m planning to read soon. It’s I’ll Keep You Safe by Peter May.

I'll Keep You Safe

First from the Prologue:

All she can hear is the ringing in her ears. A high-pitched tinnitus drowning out all other sounds. The chaos around her has no real form. Flaming fragments from the blast still falling from the night sky, bodies lying on the concrete. The shadows of figures fleeing the flames extend towards her across the square, flickering like monochrome images on a screen.

and from Chapter One:

The last hours of their life together replayed themselves through a thick fog of painful recollection. Did people really change, or was it just your perception of them? And if that was true, had you ever really known them in the first place?

Blurb (Amazon):

WHATEVER HAPPENS

Niamh and Ruairidh Macfarlane co-own the Hebridean company Ranish Tweed. On a business trip to Paris to promote their luxury brand, Niamh learns of Ruairidh’s affair, and then looks on as he and his lover are killed by a car bomb. She returns home to Lewis, bereft.

I’LL ALWAYS BE THERE FOR YOU

Niamh begins to look back on her life with Ruairidh, desperate to identify anyone who may have held a grudge against him. The French police, meanwhile, have ruled out terrorism, and ruled in murder – and sent Detective Sylvie Braque to shadow their prime suspect: Niamh.

I’LL KEEP YOU SAFE, NO MATTER WHAT

As one woman works back through her memories, and the other moves forward with her investigation, the two draw ever closer to a deadly enemy with their own, murderous, designs.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Peter May is one of my favourite authors so I’m anticipating that I’ll really enjoy this book, set mainly on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. The blurb seems to tell a lot of what happens in the book placing it as a crime thriller novel, but then the reflective, philosophical tone of the opening of  paragraph of Chapter One seems to me to indicate that maybe this book is more than that …

First Chapter First Paragraph: The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola

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 book this week is one of the books I’m reading at the moment, The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola.

The Story Keeper

September 1857

Shrieking split the leaden sky and Audrey looked up to see a host of birds, their wings ink-black against the grey.

‘Storm coming, d’you see? They know the wind’s changing.’ The man gestured upwards, but his eyes were on Audrey. ‘They feel it long before we can tell.’

Blurb (Amazon):

Audrey Hart is on the Isle of Skye to collect the folk and fairy tales of the people and communities around her. It is 1857 and the Highland Clearances have left devastation and poverty, and a community riven by fear. The crofters are suspicious and hostile to a stranger, claiming they no longer know their fireside stories.

Then Audrey discovers the body of a young girl washed up on the beach and the crofters reveal that it is only a matter of weeks since another girl disappeared. They believe the girls are the victims of the restless dead: spirits who take the form of birds.

Initially, Audrey is sure the girls are being abducted, but as events accumulate she begins to wonder if something else is at work. Something which may be linked to the death of her own mother, many years before.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

I was captivated by the opening chapters of this book. Now, I’m nearing the end and it is still captivating me. It’s mysterious, full of folk and fairy tales, with a sense of foreboding.

 

First Chapter First Paragraph: Out of Bounds by Val McDermid

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’ve chosen the last book I bought just a few days ago. It’s Out of Bounds by Val McDermid, the fourth Karen Pirie book and her 30th novel.

Out of Bounds (Inspector Karen Pirie, #4)

 

‘Some night, eh. boys?’ Ross Garvie flung a sweaty arm round the neck of Wee Grantie, his best mate in the world.

‘Some night, right enough,’ Wee Grantie slurred. The two youths swung their hips in rough unison to the deep dark bass beat that shuddered through the club.

Blurb (Amazon):

‘There are lots of things that ran in families, but murder wasn’t one of them . . .’

When a teenage joyrider crashes a stolen car and ends up in a coma, a routine DNA test could be the key to unlocking the mystery of a twenty-year-old murder inquiry. Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie is an expert at solving the unsolvable. With each cold case closed, justice is served. So, finding the answer should be straightforward, but it’s as twisted as the DNA helix itself.

Meanwhile Karen finds herself irresistibly drawn to another case, one that she has no business investigating. And as she pieces together decades-old evidence, Karen discovers the most dangerous kinds of secrets. Secrets that someone is willing to kill for . . .

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

The Karen Pirie books read well as standalone books, but as they continue Karen’s own story I think they are best read in order – and for once I am reading these books in order! I wasn’t sure after I’d read the third book, Skeleton Road that I’d read any more in the series, but this one does tempt me and I like the combination of a cold case linked to a current case.

I see that the fifth Karen Pirie book, Broken Ground is to be published on 23 August 2018.