“Since Maria had decided to die her cat would have to fend for itself.” — first sentence in Chapter One of Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith
Tom Rob Smith’s novel, Child 44, is about a serial child killer in Stalinist Russia. It is a compelling read, and I plan to read books two and three in this trilogy – The Secret Speech and Agent 6.
I knew the general premise of the story when I picked up Child 44, but the opening line of the first chapter intrigued me. The reader isn’t sure why Maria “had decided to die.” That’s what a good novel’s “hook” does. It pulls the reader in enough to make him or her read the next sentence, and the next sentence, until the reader is “hooked” and can’t stop reading.
My first thought when I read the first sentence of chapter one in Child 44 was that Maria was contemplating suicide. That was not the case. Maria (and lots of other people in her village) were starving to death. She knew the end was near.
Until my next blog post, I hope you have a good book to read. If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.