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

I deduce we are entering a Holmesian tale, my dear Watson!

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 Devil’s Blaze: Sherlock Holmes 1943 by Robert J. Harris

Sherlock is back, but not with the gas lamps and hansom cabs of the 1890s.

As a young child, I devoured Doyle’s original stories just like my father did. We enjoyed collecting stories written by other writers as well, who took Holmes to places like Paris and the American Midwest. So trying Robert J. Harris’ series with Holmes living in WWII was a no-brainer for me. I’ve watched Basil Rathbone play Holmes tackling the Nazis, after all!

This particular installment is The Devil’s Blaze, which struck me as a combination of Doyle’s titles “The Silver Blaze” and “The Devil’s Foot.” The first chapter may feel a little slow to those who’ve not read much Holmes, but Harris clearly shows he understands the narrative voice of Dr. John Watson as he engages with a bored Sherlock Holmes before a client arrives with a strange tale. The client must, of course, share his life story (they all do in Doyle’s stories), but even in that info dump I found myself chuckling at the red flags Doyle so often included in his cases that show signs of nefarious activity afoot. For those who enjoy watching Sherlock at work, or for those who love a period mystery, I’m sure Harris’ The Devil’s Foot will fit scratch that itch.

No matter what the season brings, keep reading!

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