Great thread, Shadow! Applying your suggested test, I would read on or request more of all the paragraphs so far. Which would make me a rather busy agent...
Many commenters ask a lot of questions, which is reasonable, since the purpose of any first paragraph is to raise more questions than answers. How and when the writer answers those questions is the next test.
Your first paragraph? You don't waste time! A fight, two important characters, a life ot death dilemma, a family falling out. What's not to like?
Falls Apart, I like how you challenge the reader not to be drawn in. My protagonist also addresses the reader directly, which I use to rationalize the detailed nature of some of his later descriptions.
Charlotte49ers, the questions Pwtucker asks will need to be answered eventually, but I see no need to answer them in the first paragraph. The cuts Jrosemary suggests sound useful.
Jrosemary, as Dankrubis said, there are many things worse than either visiting a graveyard or paying your respects to a man you put there! But I get your point. And I like short paragraphs.
Sbs_mjc1, I take it the definite article 'the' should be inserted before the word 'Gordons', as Jrosemary suggested? Otherwise excellent. If anyone asks what a 'feilidh-mhor' is, rewrite it in the old Gaelic script and really confuse them!
Josin, poetic and evocative in the best sense of those words! And no need to introduce the protagonist or any character yet, unless the dead count.
Dankrubis, yikes! You don't believe in the gradual buildup, do you? But I'm not complaining. Unlike some, I quite like waking up beginnings, and a shitty bathtub makes a change from a bed. I would probably divide it into several paragraphs, but that would not stop me reading on.
Aimee, you might specify your narrator's friend's mother is missing three FRONT teeth. And doesn't believe in dentures!
Ghostwriter, I like Jrosemary's suggested cuts, but your opening is strong in any case.
Sierra, good start, but are the following typos are am I misunderstanding your intent?
The steel sword was heavy in his hands and pulled on his already taxed arms. His feet slid shoulder width apart and bore down into the sand as he pressed (AGAINST?) to one of the rocky pillars spread about the desert. He could see Thomas as a dark spot in the distance, and was able to differentiate him from the stone (BY THE?) for constant bobbing and weaving he did as he worried. Carmine spat to the side to clear the sand from his mouth and waited.
Kay, should '...only that he chose to see...' read '...only WHAT he chose to see...'? Like Jrosemary, I wonder if by 'life on Earth' you mean ALL life or just intelligent life? Or is the question deliberate and answered later on? And I would read on.
Sundance, if your behavior is psychotic, then so is much of the general population! Stop apologizing! You sound like Dobby in the Harry Potter books. Your paragraph is awesome. Literally.
So, without further ado, the first paragraph of my currently untitled YA Steampunk series:-
'WELCOME TO MY WORLD.'
My name is Jimmy Fort. I am sixteen. Mr. Abel Sunderland, proprietor of the Daily Globe, and Mr. Marshall Mahon, its editor, have asked me to write an ongoing account of the Globe Expedition to the Equatorial Lost City, and my part in it. When (and if) we reach the Lost City, a copy of this account will be among the many items to be sealed in a time capsule and buried there to commemorate our (hoped-for) success. Therefore I am instructed to record and explain some things which may seem obvious to a present-day reader. Marshall Mahon will edit a shorter version to appear in installments in the Junior Section of the Globe.