I picked up a copy of The Postcard by Tony Abbott the other day. It won the Edgar for Best Juvenile Novel (it’s a middle-grade), and since the Mystery Writers of America people really know their stuff, I started reading right away.
The story opening is pretty simple: Jason’s dad calls from Florida, because his grandma died. Not all that interesting or original in itself. But then we find out that grandma had Alzheimer’s (still not that original, but okay), that she was in a wheelchair but insisted she could fly (curiosity piqued), and that she claimed she was in danger and had to escape (I’m intrigued now). Add to this that Jason’s parents seem to be splitting up (which he’s figured out before they tell him), the humorous St. Petersburg depiction, and I am so IN.
Hooked by page three. Cool character, interesting story, and intriguing, fun mystery, all established without the dreaded info-dump. Now that’s some writerly skill. Chapeau, Mr. Abbott.
Of course, I’m already on page 122 now. Who wants to stop at page three when it’s that good, right?