International Thriller Writers each year recognizes the best first lines of new novels submitted by writers who hope to attract the attention of literary agents and publishers.
The first line from my book, The Mermaids, was among the half-dozen or so that were recognized. Here it is along with the entire first chapter:
I knew my number was up when the flamingo stepped on my face.
It wasn’t the bird’s fault. That’s what I got for landing on my back in the middle of Duval Street. And her feathery cousins trampling me would not have stampeded had the douche bag with the shotgun not let loose.
To be fair, he wasn’t shooting at the birds; he was aiming at me.
With certain death at hand, your life is supposed to flash before your eyes. Not sure who returned from the afterlife to report that. But what was passing before my eyes was a sea of magenta feathers, nasty little claws on webbed feet, and a steady spattering of flamingo doo-doo.
It’s not pink, by the way.
Then came the humans dressed in boas, fake wings, and flip-flops. The flamingos were honking, the people were screaming. A fat guy wearing a lavender tutu stumbled, fell on top of me, rolled off, and kept running. He had the right idea.
I jumped to my feet and sprinted as if my life depended on it, because it did. At the same time, I couldn’t help but marvel at the spectacle I’d become part of, and how a few days before I’d been minding my own business aboard my fishing trawler when a woman named after a precious metal showed up.