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How to Start a Mystery/Thriller

27 August 2011

Following are the first pages of the top three bestsellers in the Mystery/Thriller section of the Kindle Store:

The books are:

1. Blind Faith by C.J. Lyons

2. The Abbey by Chris Culver

3. Second Son by Lee Child

The first two books are 99 cents each. #3 is a Kindle Single selling for $1.99. Passive Guy would note that two Kindle books in the top ten of this genre sell for $12.99 and the rest are $1.99 or less.

Since we’ve had discussions about ebook formatting recently, PG will note that Blind Faith is pretty messy.

Bestsellers, Fiction Fundamentals

8 Comments to “How to Start a Mystery/Thriller”

  1. Interesting. Don’t know that I’d read them, but interesting nonetheless.

  2. Thanks for this. I was most pulled into THE ABBEY by Chris Culver.

    I’ve already bought and read SECOND SON by Lee Child–because I love all things Reacher.

    My writing group–we retreat every quarter–spend a lot of time reading openings, trying to figure out what hooks, what doesn’t. So subjective… But more important than ever in the great eBook Sea.

  3. Here’s one:

    On a bright humid morning in June, a sixteen year old girl named Deborah Garrison stepped off the boat from Hyannis, walked ahead of her mother down into the crowded summer streets and set everything in motion.
    As it happened, I was at the Steamship Authority that morning, picking up my Assistant Chief, Haden Krakauer. We actually saw the girl, in her ripped jeans and tank top, but all I said to Haden was, “That one’s going to be trouble soon.”
    She didn’t seem special; just one more pretty girl on a summer island crowded with them. And she didn’t actually do anything; nothing that happened later was her fault. The simple, irreducible fact of her presence was enough. Even years later, the consequences and implications of Debbie’s arrival seem bizarre and implausible, far too much to balance on those thin sunburned shoulders.
    It was like setting off an avalanche with a sigh.

    –From Locals

    • Now this I would read. Oh yes. My interest is piqued!

      • Whereas I’d put it back, because I’ve got a pet peeve (that keeps getting bigger!) about “if only I’d known then what would happen” kinds of things. One sentence tweaks me enough; two big paragraphs and a sentence? I’m outta here!

        De gustibus non disputandum est! (And, in this case, all th’ more book for you!)

  4. The first thing I noticed in the Blind Faith excerpt was the redundancy of “blue-CHECKED” with “gingham.” Gingham, by definition, means “checked.”


  5. Had already bought _Second Son_, and just went and downloaded a sample of _The Abbey_. I’m a sucker for a good opening.

  6. I’m a firm believer that a great opening can make or break a novel. I think it’s absolute fact that it will affect sales, particularly in this age of “Download Sample”.

    Which is what I just did.

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