The First Two Pages: My Darkest Prayer by S.A. Cosby

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.

S.A. Cosby’s My Darkest Prayer kicked off the new year with a bang—and has already been earning killer reviews. Praising its “earthy blend of southern-fried crime noir,” Dan Malmon at Crimespree called the book “a bold, confident debut from a natural storyteller.” At Tough, Rusty Barnes wrote that it’s “a solidly-written and compelling journey into the backroads and sin joints of Virginia.” And at Unlawful Acts, David Nemeth concluded that the book is “a sharp debut novel that will grab you by the throat and not let you go.”

Before this debut, Shawn had already established a fine track record of short fiction, including stories in both magazines and anthologies—and his story “Slant Six” from Thuglit: Last Writes was named among “Other Distinguished Stories” in the Best American Mystery Stories 2017

Shawn and I have crossed paths (in a good way!) at Bouchercon and at Noir at the Bar, and I’m pleased to welcome him here today with a preview of his new novel.

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


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