I know that many of you, if not all of you, can remember where you bought certain books. I can remember exactly the first time I picked up a Dick Francis novel, and in fact I can pick up that exact book anytime I want to. I can see it from where I'm sitting right now. So why don't I just get it down from the shelf.
Okay, there is is on the left. A Berkley paperback from 1967. Not a very good cover, but it was the blurb that grabbed me. I could never resist a blurb like that one.
I was in a little convenience store in Austin, Texas, a couple of blocks from home. I don't remember why I was there. Maybe we needed a loaf of bread. Anyway, I never pass up a spinner rack of paperbacks (or I didn't; now I never see them), so I took a look. That blurb jumped out at me.
I took the book off the rack and read the first sentence: I was never particularly keen on my job before the day I got shot and nearly lost it, along with the rest of my life. Well, that did it for me. I plunked down my 60 cents plus whatever was need for the other stuff I bought, went home, and read the book. After that, I found Francis' earlier books and read them. Since 1967, I've read each of his novels as it appeared, and I've never been disappointed. For me, he was one of the best, top of the line.