In Medias Res: Dead Inside by Noelle Holten

As the title implies, I’m in the middle of this book, so this is not a review, just some thoughts mid-way through.

It’s been so long since I’ve done one of these, I’d forgotten it was a thing I do. Whoops.

—–

Dead Inside
Dead Inside

by Noelle Holten

Book Blurb:

When three domestic abuse offenders are found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.

The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered. And he is Lucy’s husband.

Now the finger of suspicion points at Lucy and the police are running out of time. Can Maggie and her team solve the murders before another person dies? And is Lucy really a cold-blooded killer?

I’m at the 55% mark — and I’m hooked. Holten’s got this way to get into your head. While I’m loving every second of this book, I’m having a hard time shaking the bleak outlook on life and humanity that seems to be part and parcel of this novel.

Seriously, read a few pages of this book and see if you’re not willing to replace humanity as the apex predator with something careful and considerate — like rabid pit bulls or crack-smoking hyenas.

This is a slow build of a book — given the blurb, I figured the bodies would have piled up by now, but they haven’t (much). Slow, but things are happening and the story telling is gripping – pulling you further and further in with each chapter. I don’t have a clue who the killer is, but I think the motive is clear (but, honestly, if it’s something else, I’d be impressed that she did such a great job faking out the reader). I’ve got a list of candidates for the killer, and could make a case for each one — but again, I halfway expect Holten to shock me.

Unless everything falls apart in the next 40% or so, this is probably going to end up as one of the best Mystery/Crime Fiction novels of 2019.

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May 2019 Report

…also known as that day my wife gets to see what I’ve been up to lately.

21 books for 6094 pages. Not my best, but not a bad month. Especially given the full amount of things going on in Real Life™. But man, I had a lot of fun — and cleared off a good amount of items from TBR (very happy about that). Read some really good stuff this month and it looks like June will be pretty good, too. Hope the same can be said for you.

So, here’s what happened here in May.

Books/Novels/Novellas Read/Listened to:

Death at the Dakota Deadly Secrets Grace Defined and Defended
3 Stars 3.5 Stars 3 Stars
Venators: Promises Forged The Liar Late Eclipses (Audiobook)
4 Stars 4 1/2 Stars 4 Stars
Storm Cursed Firefly: Big Damn Hero The Killing Joke
4 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars
Going Dark Fletch and the Man Who The Controller
4 Stars 5 Stars 3.5 Stars
Killer Thriller Don't Panic Instant Karma
4 Stars 5 Stars 4 Stars
Carioca Fletch Josiah's Reformation The Flintstones, Vol. 1
2 1/2 Stars 3.5 Stars 3 Stars
The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t with Her Mind Stumptown, vol 1 How To Kill Friends And Implicate People
4 Stars 3.5 Stars 4 1/2 Stars

Still Reading:

Rediscovering the Holy Spirit Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 3: Christology      

Ratings

5 Stars 2 2 1/2 Stars 2
4 1/2 Stars 2 2 Stars
4 Stars 8 1 1/2 Stars
3.5 Stars 4 1 Star
3 Stars 4
                                   Average = 3.79

Reviews Posted:

  • Fletch’s Fortune (Audiobook) by Gregory McDonald, Dan John Miller: Possibly the Most Entertaining Entry in this Great Series
  • Death at the Dakota by M.K. Graff: A pleasant little near-cozy mystery/romance that’s sure to earn some fans
  • Deadly Secrets by OMJ Ryan: A fast, taut thriller that’s sure to please.
  • That Ain’t Witchcraft by Seanan McGuire: Annie at the Crossroads (literally, mystically, metaphorically, and probably a couple of other adverbs, too)
  • The Liar by Steve Cavanagh: Another Fantastic Ride with the Wiliest Lawyer in Print!
  • Fletch and the Widow Bradley (Audiobook) by Gregory McDonald, Dan John Miller: An oddly contemporary-feeling Fletch novel that’s good but not really good.
  • Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs: Goblin Royalty, Coyote, the Strangest Zombies you’ve Run Across Combine and an excess of “Next”s
  • The Killing Joke by Christa Faust, Gary Phillips: The Legendary Graphic Novel Gets the Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Treatment
  • Going Dark by Neil Lancaster: An Action-Packed Thrill Ride, an Interesting Spin on the Hero, and a Dynamite Plot
  • Killer Thriller by Lee Goldberg: The Best-Selling Author/Hapless Hero Ian Ludlow Returns to Save the Day Again
  • The Controller by Matt Brolly: The Good, The Bad and The Iffy
  • Instant Karma by Todd Morr: Nasty, brutish, and short (I mean that as a compliment)
  • The Flintstones, Vol. 1. by Mark Russell, Steve Pugh: A Yabba-Dabba-Doo time awaits the reader.
  • Don’t Panic by Neil Gaiman, David K. Dickson and MJ Simpson: An Indispensable Guide to Douglas Adams and his Work

TBR Pile/Mound/Heap:

Physical Books: 2 Added (ONLY 2?!?), 7 Read, 25 Remaining
E-Books: 4 Added, 5 Read, 21 Remaining
Audiobooks: 3 Added, 3 Read, 4 Remaining

Book Challenge Progress:

2019 Library Love Challenge

2019 Library Love Challenge

  1. The Flintstones, Vol. 1. by Mark Russell, Steve Pugh
  2. Stumptown, vol 1: The Case of the Girl Who Took her Shampoo (But Left her Mini) by Greg Rucka, Matthew Southworth (link forthcoming)

While I Was Reading 2019 Challenge

✔ A book with a curse word in the title: The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t with Her Mind by Jackson Ford (link forthcoming)

✔ Read a book with “how to” in the title: How To Kill Friends And Implicate People by Jay Stringer (link forthcoming)

LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge

#LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge

  1. Death at the Dakota by M.K. Graff
  2. Deadly Secrets by OMJ Ryan
  3. Venators: Promises Forged by Devri Walls (link forthcoming)
  4. Going Dark by Neil Lancaster
  5. The Controller by Matt Brolly
  6. Instant Karma by Todd Morr
  7. Stumptown, vol 1: The Case of the Girl Who Took her Shampoo (But Left her Mini) by Greg Rucka, Matthew Southworth (link forthcoming)
2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge

2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge

  1. Death at the Dakota by M.K. Graff
  2. Deadly Secrets by OMJ Ryan
  3. The Liar by Steve Cavanagh
  4. The Killing Joke by Christa Faust, Gary Phillips
  5. Going Dark by Neil Lancaster
  6. Fletch and the Man Who by Gregory McDonald, Dan John Miller(link forthcoming)
  7. The Controller by Matt Brolly
  8. Killer Thriller by Lee Goldberg
  9. Instant Karma by Todd Morr
  10. Carioca Fletch by Gregory McDonald, Dan John Miller(link forthcoming)
  11. Stumptown, vol 1: The Case of the Girl Who Took her Shampoo (But Left her Mini) by Greg Rucka, Matthew Southworth (link forthcoming)
Humor Reading Challenge 2019

Humor Reading Challenge 2019

  1. Killer Thriller by Lee Goldberg
  2. Don’t Panic by Neil Gaiman, David K. Dickson and MJ Simpson
2019 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge

2019 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge

  1. Josiah’s Reformation by Richard Sibbes link forthcoming

How was your month?

April 2019 Report

Only 18 books, 5515 pages, this month. Oh, well, on the whole I enjoyed it — and had some health things come up and distract me (and set me back on reading). It’s not my best month, but it’s nothing to sneeze at, I know. It just seems small when I see it on my screen.

Then once I make peace with that, I see the number of book posts I did. I really can’t believe I wrote so few of them. I know I’m behind, but that’s gotta be one of my lowest months (I’m not going to spend the time verifying that). I’m stunned and a little embarrassed (yeah, yeah, I’m the only one who cares, but I really do)

Anyway, a couple of great books, some good ones and one not. Here’s what happened here in April 2019.

Books/Novels/Novellas Read/Listened to:

Dispatches from a Tourist Trap A Man Called Ove Fletch and the Widow Bradley (Audiobook)
3.5 Stars 5 Stars 3 Stars
Breaking the Lore The Future of Everything KA-E-RO-U Time to Go Home
4 Stars 3.5 Stars 3 Stars
Death Before Coffee I Want You Gone Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss
3 Stars 3.5 Stars 3 Stars
An Artificial Night Saints of the Shadow Bible Venators: Magic Unleashed
3 Stars 4 Stars 3.5 Stars
You Die Next Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Audiobook) Always Grey in Winter
4 1/2 Stars 4 Stars 1 Star
Work: Its Purpose, Dignity, and Transformation Fletch’s Moxie (Audiobook) That Ain't Witchcraft
2 1/2 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars

Still Reading:

Rediscovering the Holy Spirit Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 3: Christology  Death at the Dakota

Ratings

5 Stars 2 2 1/2 Stars 1
4 1/2 Stars 1 2 Stars 0
4 Stars 4 1 1/2 Stars 0
3.5 Stars 4 1 Star 1
3 Stars 5
                                   Average = 3.5

Reviews Posted:

TBR Pile/Mound/Heap:

Physical Books: 3 Added, 3 Read, 29 Remaining
E-Books: 3 Added, 1 Read, 22 Remaining
Audiobooks: 2 Added, 2 Read, 4 Remaining

Book Challenge Progress:

2019 Library Love Challenge

2019 Library Love Challenge

  1. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, Henning Koch (Translator)
  2. Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss by Rajeev Balasubramanyam
  3. Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin
  4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling, Jim Dale

While I Was Reading 2019 Challenge

  • Didn’t have time to do anything here. (again . . . but things are planned)
  • LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge

    #LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge

    1. Dispatches from a Tourist Trap by James Bailey
    2. Breaking the Lore by Andy Redsmith
    3. KA-E-RO-U Time to Go Home by B. Jeanne Shibahara
    4. Death Before Coffee by Desmond P. Ryan
    5. I Want You Gone by Miranda Rijks
    6. Venators: Magic Unleashed by Devri Walls
    7. You Die Next by Stephanie Marland
    8. Always Grey in Winter by Mark J. Engels
    2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge

    2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge

    1. Death Before Coffee by Desmond P. Ryan
    2. I Want You Gone by Miranda Rijks
    3. You Die Next by Stephanie Marland
    4. Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin
    5. Fletch and the Widow Bradley by Gregory Mcdonald, Dan John Miller — forthcoming
    6. Fletch’s Moxie by Gregory Mcdonald, Dan John Miller — forthcoming
    Humor Reading Challenge 2019

    Humor Reading Challenge 2019

      whoops. Missed this one this month…
    2019 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge

    2019 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge

      Nothing. Drat.

    How was your month?

    March 2019 Report

    20 Books, 6258 pages (finished — a few were started earlier, and I’ve never done that page count before, and now I feel tired), an average of 3.8ish (my indecision on a couple of titles is stopping me from having a hard number — but I have to write my way to a conclusion on those). Overall, a decent month here. I hit a couple of hot streaks — there’s a few books here that will be in contention when I do the Best of 2019 lists, but man, there’s a couple I wish I hadn’t read. You take the good, you take the bad, and now you have the same song stuck in my head that I do.

    So, here’s what happened here in March.

    Books/Novels/Novellas Read/Listened to:

    My Lovely Wife Slow Horses And Drink I Did
    3.5 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars
    Killing State Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Audiobook) Rogue Superheroes
    4 Stars 5 Stars 4 Stars
    Who Killed the Fonz? No Country for Old Gnomes Mama's Gone
    4 1/2 Stars 4 1/2 Stars 2 Stars
    The First World Problems of Jason Van Otterloo Crossline Lingering
    3.5 Stars 3.5 Stars 4 1/2 Stars
    Ronan Boyle and the Bridge of Riddles A Local Habitation Postgraduate
    3.5 Stars 3.5 Stars 4 1/2 Stars
    or
    5 Stars
    Fletch’s Fortune (Audiobook) The Fourth Courier Water Week
    4 1/2 Stars Still Deciding 3 Stars
    Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 2: Anthropology The Prayers of Jesus: Listening to and Learning from Our Savior      
    5 Stars 4 Stars      

    Still Reading:

    Rediscovering the Holy Spirit            

    Ratings

    I really don’t like being this flaky.

    5 Stars 2-3 2 1/2 Stars 0-1
    4 1/2 Stars 4-5 2 Stars 1
    4 Stars 3 1 1/2 Stars 0
    3.5 Stars 5 1 Star 0
    3 Stars 3-4
                                                 Average = 3.8ish

    Reviews Posted:

    TBR Pile/Mound/Heap:

    Physical Books: 5 Added, 1 Read, 29 Remaining
    E-Books: 1 Added, 0 Read, 20 Remaining
    Audiobooks: 4 Added, 2 Read, 6 Remaining

    Book Challenge Progress:

    2019 Library Love Challenge

    2019 Library Love Challenge

    1. Slow Horses by Mick Herron
    2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling, Jim Dale (Narrator)
    3. Who Killed the Fonz? by James Boice
    4. Ronan Boyle and the Bridge of Riddles by Thomas Lennon, John Hendrix (Illustrations)

    While I Was Reading 2019 Challenge

  • Didn’t have time to do anything here. (again . . . but things are planned)
  • LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge

    #LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge

    1. And Drink I Did: One Man’s Story of Growing Through Recovery by Jay Keefe
    2. Killing State by Judith O’Reilly
    3. Rogue Superheroes by Matt Cowper
    4. Mama’s Gone by Leopold Borstinski
    5. The First World Problems of Jason Van Otterloo by James Bailey
    6. Lingering by Melissa Simonson (link forthcoming)
    7. Postgraduate by Ian Shane (link forthcoming)
    2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge

    2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge

    1. Killing State by Judith O’Reilly
    2. Mama’s Gone by Leopold Borstinski
    3. Slow Horses by Mick Herron
    4. Who Killed the Fonz? by James Boice
    5. My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
    6. Fletch’s Fortune by Gregory McDonald, Dan John Miller (link forthcoming)
    7. The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith (link forthcoming)
    Humor Reading Challenge 2019

    Humor Reading Challenge 2019

    1. No Country for Old Gnomes by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne
    2019 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge

    2019 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge

    1. Reformed Dogmatics: Anthropology by Geerhardus Vos, Richard B. Gaffin Jr. (Translator) (link forthcoming)

    How was your month?

    February 2019 Report

    Been a crazy month around here, thanks to Fahrenbruary. More than twice the views and visitors over last February. Which ain’t half bad. I have some other thoughts about that part of the month that I’ll probably share soon. But even without that, it’s been a decent month. I’d have liked to have read a couple of more books and written a couple of more posts — but I’m not complaining. The quality of what I read was great on the whole, which is the important thing. Still, looking forward to March, I’ve got some great reads coming up.

    Anyway, here’s what happened here in February.

    Books/Novels/Novellas Read/Listened to:

    Baptism: Answers to Common Questions Standing in Another Man's Grave The Barista’s Guide to Espionage
    4 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars
    Circle of the Moon Saving the Reformation: The Pastoral Theology of the Canons of Dort Black Moss
    5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars
    Rosemary and Rue (Audiobook) Seraphina's Lament Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 1: Theology Proper
    4 Stars 4 1/2 Stars 5 Stars
    Dead is Beautiful The Murder Quadrille August
    4 Stars 3.5 Stars 2 1/2 Stars
    Broken Dreams Back Door to Hell Blameless (Audiobook)
    4 Stars 3 Stars 3.5 Stars
    Back Door to Hell Not Everyone is Special The Great Brain (Audiobook)
    4 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars
    The Last Act            
    4 Stars            

    Still Reading:

    Rediscovering the Holy Spirit Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 1: Anthropology Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Audiobook)
    My Lovely Wife            

    Ratings

    5 Stars 4 2 1/2 Stars 1
    4 1/2 Stars 1 2 Stars
    4 Stars 7 1 1/2 Stars
    3.5 Stars 2 1 Star
    3 Stars 4
    Average = 3.9

    Reviews Posted:

    TBR Pile/Mound/Heap:

    Physical Books: 2 Added, 0 Read, 25 Remaining
    E-Books: 3 Added, 8 Read, 19 Remaining
    Audiobooks: 4 Added, 1 Read, 3 Remaining

    Book Challenge Progress:

    2019 Library Love Challenge

    2019 Library Love Challenge

    1. Standing in Another Man’s Grave by Ian Rankin
    2. Blameless by Gail Carriger, Emily Gray
    3. The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald, Ron McLarty

    While I Was Reading 2019 Challenge

  • Didn’t have time to do anything here.
  • LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge

    #LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge

    1. The Barista’s Guide to Espionage by Dave Sinclair
    2. trong>
    3. Seraphina’s Lament by Sarah Chorn
    4. Dead is Beautiful by Jo Perry
    5. The Murder Quadrille by Fidelis Morgan
    6. August by Jim Lusby
    7. Broken Dreams by Nick Quantrill
    8. A Burdizzo For A Prince by Mark Rapacz
    9. Not Everyone is Special by Josh Denslow(link forthcoming)
    10. Back Door to Hell by Paul Gadsby
    2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge

    2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge

    1. The Barista’s Guide to Espionage by Dave Sinclair
    2. Black Moss by David Nolan
    3. Dead is Beautiful by Jo Perry
    4. The Murder Quadrille by Fidelis Morgan
    5. August by Jim Lusby
    6. Broken Dreams by Nick Quantrill
    7. A Burdizzo For A Prince by Mark Rapacz
    8. Back Door to Hell by Paul Gadsby
    9. Standing in Another Man’s Grave by Ian Rankin
    10. The Last Act by Brad Parks (link forthcoming)
    Humor Reading Challenge 2019

    Humor Reading Challenge 2019

    1. Didn’t get anything this month.
    2019 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge

    2019 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge

    1. Reformed Dogmatics: Theology Proper by Geerhardus Vos, Richard B. Gaffin Jr. (Translator) (link forthcoming)

    How was your month?

    January 2019 Report

    A few things you need to know before I start this: 1. Within the last two weeks, my laptop has stopped giving me warnings when my battery goes below 10%; 2 I am an idiot.

    I started this early, I’ve never done that before. In fact, I had this about 40% done Wednesday night when my laptop battery died. Now, for various and sundry reasons, I use Notepad while I’m building these posts, and I had three different Notepad windows open, and was in a good groove working on this. Now, I hadn’t done a good job using the “Save Draft” button in WordPress and had not saved any of the Notepad windows (see #2 above). So when the battery just died on me, I know I yelled. I didn’t cuss/swear/curse/whatever you want to call it out loud, my kids were around and I try to be a good example. But I assure you, I thought a long blue streak. Between the discouragement from that, and my inability to arrange my thoughts about a novel afterwards, I ended up not posting anything Thursday. January in general has seen more days without a post than I like — this week was pretty typical.

    But February will be busier — guaranteed. Fahrenbruary will be good for that, if nothing else.

    Anyway, here’s what happened here in January. Good books, some decent posts (if I do say so myself). 2019 is off to a good start.

    Books/Novels/Novellas Read/Listened to:

    Nature’s Case for God: A Brief Biblical Argument Finders Keepers: The Definitive Edition The Power of the Dog
    3 Stars 3.5 Stars 5 Stars
    In an Absent Dream Flame in the Dark (Audiobook) Flight of the Fox
    5 Stars 5 Stars 4 Stars
    Awakenings Death Valley Superstars Here and Now and Then
    3.5 Stars 3 Stars 4 1/2 Stars
    A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps Slaughterhouse Blues The Reach of Shadows
    3.5 Stars 3 Stars 3.5 Stars
    Immoral Code The Lion's Tail Skin Game (Audiobook)
    4 Stars 3.5 Stars 5 Stars
    The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge Spare Room In Their Own Words
    3 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars
    Unstoppable Arsenal Main Bad Guy Confess Fletch
    3.5 Stars 4 1/2 Stars 5 Stars
    The Whistle Blower The Disasters Shattered Illusions
    3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars

    Still Reading:

    Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 1: Theology Proper            

    Ratings

    5 Stars 5 2 1/2 Stars 0
    4 1/2 Stars 2 2 Stars 0
    4 Stars 3 1 1/2 Stars 0
    3.5 Stars 3 1 Star 0
    3 Stars 8
    Average = 3.79

    Reviews Posted:

    TBR Heap:

    Physical Books: 4 Added/5 Read
    E-Books: 2 Added/0 Read
    Audiobooks: 3 Added/3 Read
    …only 1 net addition. Not bad.

    Book Challenge Progress:

    2019 Library Love Challenge

    2019 Library Love Challenge

    1. Awakenings by Edward Lazellari
    2. The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson, Eugene Yelchin(link forthcoming)
    3. The Disasters by M. K. England(link forthcoming)

    While I Was Reading 2019 Challenge

    ✔ An essay collection: Death Valley Superstars by Duke Haney
    ✔ A book by an author you’ve never read before: Flight of the Fox by Gray Basnight

    LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge

    #LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge

    1. Flight of the Fox by Gray Basnight
    2. A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps by Nick Kolakowski
    3. The Reach of Shadows by Tony J. Forder
    4. Slaughterhouse Blues by Nick Kolakowski (link forthcoming)
    5. Lions Tail by Luna Miller (link forthcoming)
    6. Main Bad Guy by Nick Kolakowski (link forthcoming)
    7. Death Valley Superstars by Duke Haney
    8. Finders Keepers: The Definitive Edition by Russ Colchamiro
    9. Unstoppable Arsenal by Jeffery H. Haskell (link forthcoming)
    10. Shattered Illusions by J.C. Jackson (link forthcoming)
    2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge

    2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge

    1. Flight of the Fox by Gray Basnight
    2. A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps by Nick Kolakowski
    3. The Reach of Shadows by Tony J. Forder
    4. Slaughterhouse Blues by Nick Kolakowski (link forthcoming)
    5. Lions Tail by Luna Miller (link forthcoming)
    6. Main Bad Guy by Nick Kolakowski (link forthcoming)
    7. Immoral Code by Lillian Clark
    8. Spare Room by Dreda Say Mitchell
    9. Confess Fletch by Gregory Mcdonald, Dan Jon Miller (link forthcoming)
    Humor Reading Challenge 2019

    Humor Reading Challenge 2019

    1. Finders Keepers: The Definitive Edition by Russ Colchamiro
    2019 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge

    2019 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge

    1. In Their Own Words by David Calhoun (link forthcoming)

    How was your month?

    Opening Lines – A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps by Nick Kolakowski

    Head & Shoulders used to tell us that, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” That’s true for wearing dark shirts, and it’s especially true for books. Sometimes the characters will hook the reader, sometimes the premise, sometimes it’s just knowing the author — but nothing beats a great opening for getting a reader to commit. This is one of the better openings I’ve read recently. Would it make you commit? How can you not?

    Listen.

    At some point, a poor sap will look at you and say, “This is the worst day of my life.”

    But as long as you have breath in your lungs to say those words, you’re not having your worst day. You haven’t even hit rock bottom, much less started to dig. You can still come back from a car wreck, or that terrifying shadow on your lung X-ray, or finding your wife in bed with the well-hung quarterback from the local high school. Sometimes all you need to solve your supposedly world-ending problems is time and care, or some cash, or a shovel and a couple of garbage bags.

    If you see me coming, on the other hand, I guarantee you’re having your worst day. Not to mention your last.

    Let me show you how bad it can get. How deep the hole goes. And the next time your idiot friend says something about worst days, as the two of you stand there watching his house burn down with his pets and one-of-a-kind porn collection inside, you can tell him this story. It might even shut him up.

    Let me tell you about Bill, my last client.

    from A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps by Nick Kolakowski