You’ve Got Five Pages, #StormWatch by #CJBox, to Tell Me You’re Good. #FirstChapter #BookReview #Podcast

If someone’s been writing about a character for over twenty novels, one runs the risk of that character coming off as boring in a stale storyline readers are far too picky to waste their time reading. Thankfully, we’re not seeing that today.

As writers, we hear all the time that we’ve got to hook readers in just the first few pages or else. We’ve got to hook agents in the first few pages or else.

Whether you’re looking to get published or just hoping to hook your reader, first impressions are vital. Compelling opening scenes are the key to catching an agent or editor’s attention, and are crucial for keeping your reader engaged.


Well then, let’s study those first few pages in other people’s stories, shall we?

Today I snagged from the New Release shelf:

Storm Watch: A Joe Pickett Novel by C.J. Box

C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett is not a boring protagonist, nor do the opening pages of Storm Watch feel stale. This game warden clearly has principles when it comes to treating wildlife with dignity and respect, whether it’s putting an elk out of its misery or capturing a wolf before it kills another creature–cattle, or human.

If you do not see the audio player above, you can access the podcast here.

But it’s the first few lines that really impressed me with Box’s prose: Late March in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains wasn’t yet spring by any means, but there were a growing number of days when spring could be dreamt of. For Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett, this wasn’t one of those days. This was a day that would both start and end with blood on the snow.

Right off the bat, we get a sense of the narrator’s dry sense of humor. (As a Midwesterner, I can empathize with the sentiment, too.) That touch of humor comes right along with important information about our protagonist, where he is, what the environment is like, and what he has to deal with: bloodshed. Now what’s really cool is that the “blood on the snow” is NOT just an allusion to his work with wildlife; in fact, we as readers know from the dust jacket that there is a mysterious death to be solved in this hard wilderness. So Box’s turn of phrase here is particularly effective: it connects to the opening scene and the protagonist’s profession as well as foreshadows the rise in action to come.

No matter what the season brings, keep reading!

Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!