You’ve Got Five Pages, The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh, to Tell Me You’re Good. #FirstChapter #BookReview #Podcast

Another thriller, another prologue.

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.JEFF GERKE, THE FIRST FIFTY PAGES

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

Today I snagged from the New Release shelf:

The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh

Seriously, is this a thing? Are thrillers required to have prologues in order to achieve publication these days?

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

Not that I’m complaining with this particular prologue. Clare Mackintosh’s The Last Party contains beautiful setting details that could easily be the stuff of prose poetry. The third-person omniscient narrator allows for easy movement through the occasional mutterings of different village characters before the main event: the annual New Year’s Day dive into a lake along the Welsh/English border. Only this year, these villagers are joined by a dead body.

The prologue is long enough that it took me to the end of the episode, and yes, I admit to being a bit silly this time with my movie trailer voice. 🙂 The premise here just reminded me of too many trope movies–the “cop who doesn’t play by the rules,” the “outsider who must become a hero,” and so on. This time, we have “the victim who wanted everyone dead and everyone is a suspect.” Goodness, the dust jacket itself says, “With a lie uncovered at every turn” and “In a village with this many secrets…” It feels a touch absurd with such descriptions, but you know what? Action schlock with those anti-rule cop buddies are still fun. Fantasies that always count on that reluctant hero are still fun. So I bet this mystery with a town full of Edward Gorey-esque suspicious people will be fun, too.

No matter what the season brings, keep reading!

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