The First Two Pages: “Ridgeline” by Peter W.J. Hayes

In April 2015, B.K. Stevens debuted the blog series “The First Two Pages,” hosting craft essays by short story writers and novelists analyzing the openings of their own work. The series continued until just after her death in August 2017, and the full archive of those essays can be found at Bonnie’s website. In November 2017, the blog series relocated to my website, and the archive of this second stage of the series can be found here.

Today’s post continues a short series featuring contributors to the anthology Malice Domestic: Mystery Most Geographical, which officially debuts at Malice Domestic in 10 days—yikes! Don’t miss the anthology launch, signing, and dessert reception on Malice’s opening evening, Friday, April 27, at 9 p.m.!

Last week’s First Two Pages featured Susan Breen, and next week’s features G.M. Malliet. Today brings Peter W.J. Hayes discussing the original opening to his story “Ridgeline” and the many changes that took place with that opening before the final draft.

I first read Peter’s story “Black Hand” from the previous Malice Domestic anthology, Mystery Most Historical, when I was part of the selection committee for that anthology—a fine story to serve as an introduction to his work! It’s such a pleasure to see him part of this year’s anthology as well. Peter’s stories have also appeared or are forthcoming in Black Cat Mystery MagazineMystery WeeklyMysterical-EShotgun Honey, and other publications, and The Things That Aren’t There, the first novel in his Pittsburgh Trilogy, will be published this summer.  You can find out more at

Please use the arrows and controls at the bottom of the embedded PDF to navigate through the essay. You can also download the essay here to read off-line.

Peter Hayes Ridgeline

2 thoughts on “The First Two Pages: “Ridgeline” by Peter W.J. Hayes

  1. Pingback: Ridgeline Excerpt – Peter W. J. Hayes

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