The First Two Pages: “Nostalgia” by James McCrone

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.

Three is a magic number—at least that’s what the old Schoolhouse Rock told us—and today James McCrone completes a series of three two ways. His First Two Pages essay is the third post by contributors to the new anthology Low Down Dirty Vote, Volume 3, edited by Mysti Berry and centering on the theme “The Color of My Vote.” The earlier essays were by Eric Beetner on “Pick a Color” and Sarah M. Chen on “Riviera Red,” and the anthology features 19 additional authors, from veterans to first-times. But this is also Jamie’s third appearance at the First Two Pages blog. I first welcomed him to discuss his novel Dark Network, the second book in his Imogen Trager trilogy, and he also contributed an essay on “Number Don’t Lie,” his contribution to the previous Low Down Dirty anthology. Each volume of Low Down Dirty benefits a new charity, with proceeds from earlier volumes benefiting the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center, and this one helping Democracy Docket, “an organization that is successfully fighting against voter suppression in the United States.”

Jamie and I first met at the Deadly Ink Mystery Conference several years ago, and I’ve been a fan of his work ever since. Publisher’s Weekly described the first Imogen Trager novel, Faithless Elector, as a “fast-moving topical thriller,” and Jamie succeeds in all his work with balancing those aspects of brisk pace and thoughtful topicality, as you’ll see in his essay below too. And I was pleased to provide one of the blurbs for the third and final book in the series, Emergency Powers—here’s what I wrote:

Emergency Powers brings the Faithless Elector trilogy to a nail-biting finale. A dynamic mix of political intrigue and high-stakes personal drama, ultimately offering keen portraits of true patriotism—its weight, its costs, and the courage that drives it.

You can find out more about Jamie at his website here.

And be sure and pick up Low Down Dirty, Volume 3—a great collection and for a great cause too!

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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