First Lines Fridays (4) @nancyjcohen

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature
for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words.
What if instead of judging a book by its
cover, its author or its prestige, we judged
it by its opening lines?

Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your
current read or on your TBR) and open to
the first page. Copy the first few lines, but don’t
give anything else about the book away
just yet – you need to hook the reader first
Finally… reveal the book!


“Ma, I can’t just drop everything and drive over there. You’re forty-five minutes away, and I have a bunch of errands to do this morning. What’s so urgent that it can’t wait until later?”

In the midst of doing chores at home, Marla adjusted her earpiece. She stood in her kitchen, gazing out the window at the brilliant Florida sky.

“There’s a dead guy in our shower. You have to come right now.” Her mother’s voice rose in pitch.

“A dead guy? How is that possible?”

“Does it matter? Reed called the police, and they’re questioning him like he’s a suspect.”

“Why? Is it someone you know?”

“It’s Jack Laredo, the project manager for our bathroom remodel. Lenny Brooks, the tile guy, discovered him when he came to work this morning.”

“That’s horrible.” Marla stared at a fallen coconut outside on the ground. Her mother had recently married Reed, a former literature professor, and they’d moved into a senior living community. This would throw a wrench into the happy life they had planned.


Styled for Murder
A Bad Hair Day Mystery #17
Nancy J. Cohen
Orange Grove Press, November 2021

From the author—

When hairstylist and savvy sleuth, Marla Vail, gets a frantic call from her mother that there’s a dead body in her shower, Marla realizes this wasn’t part of the home renovation plans. The victim turns out to be the project manager, who had an untrustworthy reputation in town. Disgruntled customers, unpaid suppliers, and the design company’s staff are among the suspects. Which one of them wanted the foreman to pipe down about their shady dealings?

Meanwhile, the lead investigator sets his sights on Marla’s stepfather, Reed, who’s keeping secrets from his family. Reed has a past connection to the victim and won’t come clean about what he knows. As Marla drills deeper, she’s showered with suspicions, but nobody’s willing to leak any information. She needs to hammer down the prospects, or time will drain away and the murderer will strike again.

To flush out the culprit, Marla taps into her pipeline of resources. Can she assemble the clues and demolish the alibis to nail a killer? Or has someone designed the perfect murder?