A Dark-Thirty First Line Friday

This week is quickly drifting into the weekend, which must mean it’s time for First Line Friday. Each week I grab a book from my shelf (or from wherever books might be resting) and share the first line or so. Featured quotes might be from my TBR pile or an old favorite or even a book I’m not particularly fond of.

This week’s first line is perfect for a dark and stormy night.


When I was growing up in the South, we kids called the half hour just before nightfall the dark-thirty. We had exactly half an hour to get home before the monsters came out.

With October and Halloween just around the corner, now is just as good a time as any to dive into a supernatural book or two … or more. For a collection of spooky stories, there’s perhaps none better than Patricia McKissack’s The Dark-Thirty. Pulling from African American history, each of her individual narratives offers an underlying reflection on the time period it examines— from slavery through the civil rights movement. It’s pulse-pounding, heart-stopping, and packed with historical and cultural value.

And it all starts with a masterful first line in her author’s note that hints at the spine-tingling tales that await.

Title: The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural
Author: Patricia C. McKissack
Illustrator: Brian Pinkney
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: January 1992
Classification: Folklore

McKissack’s Website | Pinkney’s Website | Publisher’s Page | Goodreads

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