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

Unconventional narrative, unconventional fun!

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:

The Appeal by Janice Hallett

This review, I’m afraid, is going to be rather short, as this novel is not quite like other novels.

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

Rather than a traditional narrative and/or paragraph structure, Janice Hallett’s The Appeal is created with emails, text messages, and other media snippets compiled for two lawyers to study in preparation for tackling a murder case. On the one hand, this means we’re not getting any details regarding setting or character appearance. On the other hand, we’re getting a wealth of first-person perspectives over a period of time that *should* guide us readers to the ultimate solution of the mystery.

As a reader, I’m definitely intrigued. As a writer, I admire Hallett taking on this risk. It’s a dangerous thing to essentially tell readers, “You don’t have all the materials. Hopefully, it’s in the right order. Good luck!” It’d be all too easy to just withhold all sorts of things so you can just dump it all in the resolution later. Hopefully, Hallett does not do this. The extra challenge is also to make sure the writing voices for all these characters is consistently different. So far, I couldn’t help but chuckle that one character only writes in two-word responses compared to the gushing emails from another character. It’s an interesting dynamic, and I’ve got to continue at least a bit more into the tale to see where these emails take me.


I just have to add that I actually completed this novel in less than 24 hours. It’s a highly enjoyable read where EVERYONE is an unreliable narrator. You’re trying to piece everything together alongside two young lawyers who are trying to connect details, commissions, and timelines shared within this peculiar little theater group. If you’re keen for a different take on a cozy, then I highly recommend this book.

No matter what the season brings, keep reading!

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