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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

‘Winter’s End’ by John Rickards


‘”I don’t know why Jimmy insists on playing him,” Sheriff Dale Townsend says, raising his voice over the hammering rain and the swish of the Jeep’s wipers. “It’s obvious the guy just isn’t on form. His confidence is gone, he’s tensed up and he’s gripping the bat too hard. Jimmy should rest him a couple of games, give him chance to get his head right, then bring him back for the end of the season run-in.”

His companion, Deputy Andy Miller, keeps both hands on the wheel and his eyes firmly on the pool of light in front of the vehicle. “Rendall hit three-eighty last year,’ he says. ‘You can’t write off a guy like that, especially when we could still make the title. He’ll come good.”‘


They say that the first lines of a story, are always the most difficult to set down on paper. It seems to me, that they may also be the most definitive, as I find they often set the scene in my mind, even before I have turned the first page.


I have to say that those first few lines didn’t really ‘do it’ for me, as I am not interested in reading  about sport. I did have to rely quite heavily on the synopsis to make my decision about this one and so far it is clear that those opening lines bear little resemblance to the ensuing story, but are simply a conversation between two colleagues who are in a car together.

So far this has proved to be an excellent, edge-of-the-seat, psychological crime thriller, whose end-game is still far from clear.


As usual, so as to avoid too many unwanted spoilers, I have not included a full synopsis of the book in this post. However to find out a little more about the story before deciding whether it is your ‘cup of tea’ or not, you can click on the book image.


What is ‘Book Beginnings’ and how can you join in the fun?

Would the first few lines of your book make you want to read on?

If so, would you like to share them with us, (without revealing too many spoilers of course) ?

 Click on the link and visit Gilion @ Rose City Reader

You can then leave a link to your own book beginnings post, or just browse for some great reads, there are always plenty of new authors and titles to be discovered.

Don’t forget that Gilion and all the other contributors to this meme love to hear from you, so why not leave a comment or two at the same time.


This book is from my own burgeoning ‘To Be Read’ mountain, where it has obviously been languishing for some time, as I notice that it was first published way back in 2003.


UPDATE 14th APRIL 2012

You can read my thoughts about ‘Winter’s End’ by clicking here



Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • Yvonne — looking at the cover alone captivates my interest in this one. I did enjoy read the “book beginning”, but now have to put it on my list 🙂 Happy Weekend!

    • Hi Diane,

      The cover really doesn’t do the written description of this image justice. Just the thought of this one scene was enough to keep me turning the pages and it keeps getting better, the more I read. This is psychological thriller writing at its best.

      Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend.

    • Hi Linda,

      Despite being published in 2003, this is a fantastic psychological thriller, that has kept me turning the pages avidly. Obviously many of the forensic descriptions and investigations are a little dated, but the tension more than makes up for that.

      I did check out the author and it turns out that this is the first in a series of four books, featuring Alex Rourke, so I definitely have it on my radar to search ou the remaining three titles.

      Great to hear from you, Summer continues here in Somerset, temperatures up near 20 degrees. Hope that you have a good weekend.

    • Hi Laurel-Rain,

      Yes, this is one occasion where the opening lines certainly don’t do justice to the rest of the book and I would definitely have needed sight of the synopsis to make a decision whether to read, or not. However, the story does get going within the first couple of pages, so I can live with that.

      We are having glorious Summerlike weather, here in Southern UK right now and I hope that you are also going to be enjoying some good weather over the weekend.

    • Hi Tea,

      We know that the two men are police, but it isn’t clear whether they are discussing the police team, or an outside event and player.

      As it happens this is just a general conversation between two police officers who are on patrol in their car, and those lines are the only reference to the conversation, as the story takes a definite turn for the worse, in the very next paragraph.

      If you like thrillers, this is a definite for any wish list.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments, I always appreciate them.
      This is turning into a great story, full of suspense and intigue.

  • The present tense jumped out at me in these first sentences and felt odd. It’s a book so this happened in the past sometime. I also found I had to adjust my mental image of Jimmy as the conversation continued. I did like the setting of rain and driving in a Jeep. 🙂

    • Hi Bonnie,

      This whole story is written predominently in the present tense, with just a few references to events in the distant past, it actually works very well and keeps the tenson going nicely.

      Thanks for stopping by and have a good weekend.

    • Hi,

      If you are a fan of psychological thrillers, then forget the beginning! the rest of the book is very ‘dark’ and spooky, a real page-turner.

      Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

    • Hi Gilion,

      Baseball, Softball and American Football, are catching on big time, here in the UK. We get endless stats. thrust at us by my brother and my niece’s husband, who are well into it. I have to say that my eyes start to glaze over during these conversations.

      The sport conversation really has nothing to do with the plot or stoyline of the book, it is just a general conversation between two police officers who are out on patrol together. The scene quickly changes to work, following a gruesome discovery by the pair … and that’s where the horror starts!

      Have a great weekend

    • Hi Jo,

      It just goes to show how important those first few lines can be, as ‘Winter’s End’ is in fact a crime thriller, replete with some fantastic psychological tension. Those first couple of lines are a real ‘red-herring’ in this case.

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are enjoying a good weekend.

  • I agree, the first lines are key. One of my favorite books by Alice Hoffman is The Ice Queen, and the first paragraph is beautiful and haunting.
    Glad to hear you are enjoying Winter’s End 🙂
    Have a nice weekend.

    • Hi Naida,

      This is one of the few books I have read lately, where the first few lines have had no correlation to the rest of the story whatsoever, although the second paragraph was certainly strong and took me right into the action and storyline in very vivid fashion.

      I checked out ‘The Ice Queen’ and found an excerpt from the first few pages. The first lines were, as you say, amazingly haunting, so very descriptive and hooked me emotionally. Needless to say, this is another book for the TBR mountain.

      Hope that you have had a good weekend.

  • I like the cover of the book and am drawn to it by your description of it as a psychological thriller. As for first lines, sometimes they pull me right in, but more often I give the book a few more pages, sometimes a whole chapter, to see where it’s going. Depending on how the author writes, the device of plunking the reader in the midst of dialogue may work well, but sometimes is confusing.

    • The cover image is fully explained within the first two or three pages of the book. Spooky and eerie, which is how that cover seemed to me, don’t even begin to do justice to the scene that the police come across.

      I very seldom fail to finish a book that I start, no matter how disappointing it turns out to be, so even if the first few lines don’t really grab me, I am sure to keep reading on.

      I really do like to feel as though I am right there in amongst the action and I love descriptive writing and relevant dialogue.

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you enjoyed your weekend

  • I wonder how many people the first lines of a story put off? Seems that sport is a poor choice considering ow many people it may have put off here. Perhaps it’s not just the cover people judge a book by?

    • I too would have been put off, if I had only had those first few lines to go by, I have to admit and that really is the whole idea of the meme, a book about sport would not have interested me at all.

      However, carry on a little down the post and people would have noticed that I describe the book as a Psychological thriller and those first lines had no real connection with the story at all, in fact there has been no further mention of sport since.

      Now the story sounds a lot more interesting, which it is. I have desperately been trying to find a spare few minutes to sit down and finish it, but things just haven’t worked out that way. I can’t wait to discover the outcome and see if my theory is the right one!!

      I do generally use the first few lines, together with the synopsis and cover, when deciding if I might enjoy a book or not and I am so glad that I did not let the lines on their own influence me this time.

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you are getting the chance to enjoy some of this lovely weather.

Written by Yvonne