Oline H Cogdill

Readers are grabbed by a novel’s first lines, those sentences that set the tone of the story, and often the characters.

Here are a few first lines that recently intrigued us, and made us want to read these novels.

Hairpin Bridge, by Taylor Adams (Williamm Morrow): “It starts with a bridge. A precarious steel monster with a fierce turn on its south ramp. Spanning six hundred feet across an obscure valley on the fringes of a bankrupt silver-mining town, all rendered perfectly obsolete by the interstate.” (This isn’t the first line but is on page 9.)

Mercy Creek, by M.E. Browning (Crooked Lane): “Everyone had a story from that night. Some saw a man, others saw a girl, still others saw nothing at all but didn’t want to squander the opportunity to be a part of something larger than themselves. To varying degrees, they were all wrong. Only two people knew the full truth.”

The Stranger in the Mirror, by Liv Constantine (Harper): “I’d like to think I’m a good person, but I have no way of knowing for sure. I don’t remember my real name, where I’m from, or if I have any family. I must have friends somewhere, but the only ones I recognize are the ones I’ve made in the two years since the new me was born—every memory before that has been wiped away.”

Razorblade Tears, by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron): “Ike tried to remember a time when men with badges coming to his door early in the morning brought anything other than heartache and misery, but try as he might nothing came to mind.”

Her Last Breath, by Hilary Davidson (Thomas & Mercer): “I didn’t know what to wear to the funeral. Any other day, I would’ve called my sister for advice, because Caro always knew the right way to do things. But she was dead, and I’d never hear her soft, husky voice again."

Unthinkable, by Brad Parks (Thomas & Mercer): “When I came to, breaching that little-understood divide between the murky depths of insentience and the bright conscious world, the first thing I became aware of was my tongue.”