Living Columns & Blogs

That’s how they get you

A hook works. It gets your attention — much like a curvy and sharply pointed steel object sunk into your flesh gets your attention.

Captain Hook’s hook was that he had a hook. Dr. Hook had two hooks — that blackguard with the eye patch and the bouncy humor in their songs.

Books have hooks.

Good crime books have hooks and crooks.

Good crime books about gorgeous chefs catering a chess championship at a pastoral British inn that is robbed by thieves too stupid to duck when running to their getaway helicopter have hooks, looks, cooks, brooks, crooks, schnooks and Chinooks.

How’s this for a hook: The dead scrabbled for an entrance to his grave. His wife was among them.

That’s the beginning of Bentley Little’s horror novel “The Rising.” What a hook! After I read that opening in the sample I had downloaded, I immediately went back to and bought the full book. It’s the only time I’ve ever done that.

Terry Pratchett had a unique hook: His novels contain footnotes.

Some hooks are literal. The hook in Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series is the left and right hooks Reacher throws, along with the uppercuts, head-butts, groin kicks and elbows to the face. No character fights hand-to-hand as much as Reacher, and no author can describe a fight as clearly and excitingly as Child.

I’ve never read any of the Harry Potter books, but I have a good guess what their hook is: The lemming population is ever on the increase.

As even you might have guessed, this column’s hook was hooks. You were hooked, weren’t you? Sure you were. I bet you and your goldendoodle simultaneously said, “How hooky.”


Pinch, poke, you owe that dog a Coke.