Join our community of Solution Seekers!

Best Summer Books

Four Fabulous First Lines

True, you can’t always judge a book by its beginning. But these new offerings, with great starts, will keep you hooked to the end. And for more great summer reads, click here.

By Sara Nelson
Hardback books Josephine Schiele

The Devil’s Company, by David Liss (Random House, $25,

In my youth I suffered from too close a proximity to gaming tables of all descriptions, and I watched in horror as Lady Fortune delivered money, sometimes not precisely my own, into another’s hands. As a man of more seasoned years, one poised to enter his third decade of life, I knew far better than to let myself loose among such dangerous tools as dice and cards, engines of mischief good for nothing but giving a man false hope before dashing his dreams. However, I found it no difficult thing to make an exception on those rare occasions when it was another man’s silver that filled my purse. And if that other man had engaged in machination that would guarantee that the dice should roll or the cards turn in my favor, so much the better. Those of overly scrupulous morals might suggest that to alter the odds in one’s favor so illicitly is the lowest depth to which a soul can sink. Better a sneak thief, a murderer, even a traitor to his country, these men will argue, than a cheat at the gaming table. Perhaps it is so, but I was a cheat in the service of a generous patron, and that, to my mind, quieted the echoes of doubt.
 Excerpted from The Devil’s Company, by David Liss, Copyright © 2009 by David Liss. Excerpted by permission of Random House Group, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Beverly Hills Adjacent, by Jennifer Steinhauer and Jessica Hendra (St. Martin’s Press, $25,

The trouble with starring in a network television show about a bipolar dentist who is looking for love on the Internet is that no matter how deft the flossing puns, or how diverting the high jinks with your Puerto Rican hygienist, it all comes down to the time slot. For Mitch Gold, this was the unpleasant axis upon which his world spun.
“Mitch Gold, please.”
“This is Mitch.”
“Hello, Fiona from Creative Artists here. Can you hold for Tim Zelnick?”
“Hi, Mitch, it’s Tim, and Angie Varone is on the line too. How’s our favorite bipolar dentist?”
“Hi, guys! So how did Molar Opposites do last night?”
“Well,” Tim answered, “it came in fourth.”
Mitch stared out the window and noticed the parched garden. “Fourth? Yikes.”
“Hey,” Tim said, “what do you want? You’re up against American Idol. But I talked to ABC. They’re still very committed. They’re gonna run a bunch of promos during Brothers & Sisters and see if they can bring in more women. They want it to do a little better every week.”
Mitch took a breath. “What were the numbers?”
 Excerpted from Beverly Hills Adjacent, by Jennifer Steinhauer and Jessica Hendra. Copyright © 2009 by Jennifer Steinhauer and Jessica Hendra. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin’s Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Read More About:Books & Entertainment

What do you think about this article? Share your own solutions and ideas

View Earlier Comments

Quick Tip

Illustration of suitcases

Packing for a family vacation? Travel versions of favorite games won’t crowd suitcases, and playing them will keep kids from begging to watch TV at night. Get more tips.