First Impressions 3.29.13

By popular demand—OK, one person asked—I’m bringing back the First Impressions post, at least for today. You may have seen last week the pics of all the books that have entered my home.

I read the first chapter of everything that comes in to determine if the book goes on my to-be-read pile or the one that gets donated. If a book opens with detailed descriptions of scenery, weather, or someone’s clothes, it usually heads straight to the latter group. Here are three books that passed the first-impressions test.

Silken Prey by John Sanford (Putnam, May 7)


Tubbs was half asleep on the couch, his face covered with an unfolded Star Tribune. The overhead light was still on, and when he’d collapsed on the couch, he’d been too tired to get up and turn it off. The squeak wasn’t so much consciously felt, as understood: he had a visitor. But nobody knocked.

Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf, June 11)

On the hottest day of July, trolling in dead-calm waters near Key West, a tourist named James Mayberry reeled up a human arm. His wife flew to the bow of the boat and tossed her breakfast burritos.


The Never List by Koethi Zan (Pamela Dorman Books, July 16)

There were four of us down there for the first thirty-two months and eleven days of our captivity. And then, very suddenly and without warning, there were three. Even though the fourth person hadn’t made any noise at all in several months, the room got very quiet when she was gone. For a long time after that, we sat in silence, in the dark, wondering which of us would be next in the box.

I’m a little scared, but this opening has me hooked. Will make sure Mr. PCN is always home while I read it.

Any of these look good to you? Which would you pick up first?

Happy Friday! Hope you have good reads for this weekend!



  • Reply
    March 28, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Yowza! Adding The Never List to my reading list as soon as I’m done here. That one wins best opener for me, hands down.

    To be fair, I’m already looking forward to new Davenport and when I looked at the Hiiasen, all I could think of was this:

    Crazy similar.

    Thanks, PCN, love this column!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      March 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      Ha! I hadn’t heard of MONKEYS.

      Glad you like this! We can discuss NEVER LIST after you read it.

      • Reply
        March 30, 2013 at 5:16 pm

        Definitely will read List. Also anxious to see what you think of first Davenport. That’s a fun series and characters have changed a lot so will be interesting to see what you think of present day Lucas.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Well, I read all of the Prey books automatically, but that last one could be scary good 🙂

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      March 30, 2013 at 4:37 pm

      I’ve read the Virgil books, but this will be my first PREY. Will report back re: NEVER LIST.

  • Reply
    March 31, 2013 at 10:35 am

    I’ve read one of John Sandford’s books and was very impressed. I’ve not yet ventured into the Prey series though.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Love the Davenport books, adore the Virgil books! Looking forward to Silken Prey. The Never List will be on my list. The first line of Bad Monkey leaves me wanting. I really don’t go into “tossing her breakfast burrito” lines.

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