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Shari Low
"I’ve written ten books now and one thing has been true of all of them &nda..." More

Tip From Oliver Harris

A successful first chapter can be fast, slow, thoughtful, dramatic, but it will introduce you to a unique world and a distinct voice from which it is inseparable. The voice may belong to a character or to the author themselves, but within a page or two you know if you want more of their company. Reading a novel is a big commitment and the opening is a form of contract: what will we get in return for entering this world? It may be a familiar thrill: that of romance unfolding or a mystery being solved; it may be knowledge of another time and place or just the pleasure of having new thoughts provoked. But a first chapter should contain the seeds of whatever adventure lies ahead. It says: something is happening, something that needs to be told, and every word will count.

Oliver Harris was born in North London in 1978. He has a first-class degree in English literature and an MA in Shakespeare studies from UCL, and an MA in creative writing from UEA. He reviews for the Times Literary Supplement.

Published by Random House, an extract to the author’s own opening chapters can be viewed below. Furiously paced and thrillingly plotted, The Hollow Man is a black love letter to London’s shadow world. It marks the beginning of a seductive contemporary detective series, and the arrival of a future master of the genre.

Detective Nick Belsey is broke. Now it looks like he’s out of a job – something happened last night, something with the boss’s wife…

At dawn, on what should be the last day of Belsey's career, Hampstead CID is ghostly quiet. Belsey checks the overnight files. There’s a missing-person report. But this one’s different. It’s on the Bishops Avenue, London’s richest street. Belsey sees a scam, an escape route.

But he hasn’t got there first.
  View The Hollow Man on Amazon

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