Hey guys! I wrote the other day about my addiction to podcasts, namely, Serial. And since I can never stop at just listening to one thing or reading one thing, I put together a list of books for other podcast fans. Both fiction and nonfiction, these books have similar story lines, or mysteries, or characters, to some of the very real people we’ve been hearing about these past weeks. Since this week is Thanksgiving and we won’t be getting another installment until December 3rd, sit back with one of these and get lost in a new mystery!
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. A classic work of nonfiction, In Cold Blood has captured audiences and been taught in schools for decades now. In 1959, the Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas were brutal murdered, shot at point blank range by an unknown gunman who left almost no clues. Capote explores the investigation, the motive for murder, and the trial and execution of the killers.
Perfect for Serial fans because: Truman Capote explores the 1959 murder in a way that podcast listener will finds familiar. He creates suspense and keeps readers engaged until the last page, just as Koenig does every week.
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. All of Flynn’s books have that similar feeling of darkness, or something sinister at work. Dark Places is the story of Libby Day, a woman who witnessed the murder of her family at an incredibly young age, and was never the same. Her brother, Ben, was tried and convicted for their murder. Years later, Libby is contacted by the “Kill Club,” a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes, and is convinced of her brother’s innocence. As she looks at the evidences of the case given to her by the Club, the case is reopened in her mind and she tries to finally make sense of that traumatic night so many years ago.
Perfect for Serial fans because: If you’re listening to a podcast about a cold murder case, you probably have something in common with the members of the Kill Club. Libby’s investigation into her own past will have you as riveted as Serial often does.
Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little. Janie Jenkins is released from prison ten years after being convicted of murdering her mother. The media was obsessed with her case, and now that Janie is free once again, they are more convinced than ever that she got away with murder. Janie is determined to find out what really happened all of those years ago, desperate to find out if she could really be capable of murder.
Perfect for serial fans because: Someone who is convicted of murder yet convinced they couldn’t have done it. America is transfixed by the case. This story line sounding familiar to anyone else?
A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain by Adrienne Harun. A small logging town in British Columbia. Woods that have seen numerous disappearances of young girls. Men that come and go with no explanation. A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain is the story of evil that sometimes lurks in our midst with no explanation.
Perfect for Serial fans because: An essential detail of Hae’s case is the fact that she was found in Leakin Park, in the woods, after disappearing. The novel has that same sense of unease in the woods, that feeling that something is not quite right.
In the Woods by Tana French. Detective Rob Ryan was a young boy in Dublin in 1984 when he was playing in the woods with his friends. The boys disappear, and Rob is found hours later alone in the dark woods, with blood in his shoes and no memory of the hours past. Years go by and Rob now goes by Adam. He’s a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad, when someone else goes missing in the very same woods, calling back all of those memories from 1984.
Perfect for Serial fans because: The novel, like Serial reminds us that we can run from the past, but we can never quite escape it.
The Little Friend by Donna Tartt. A Mother’s Day crime ends with a sister determined, twelve years later, to solve the mystery that has haunted her family for over a decade. Harriet is a precocious girl used to spending her days with her nose in adventure novels, and has only her friend, Hely to help her on her ambitious mission. The girls cross deeply set lines of race and class in Mississippi as they push toward the truth.
Perfect for Serial fans because: The issue of race, the long dormant crime, the family torn apart: the fictional The Little Friend is all too real at times.
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin. This Edgar Award winning novel is also set in Mississippi, and tells the story of Larry Ott and Silas Jones, boyhood friends from the opposite sides of the tracks. Larry is poor, and Silas is middle class. Larry takes a girl to the movies one night and she is never seen again. He never confesses, but the town assumes him guilty for the rest of his life, while Silas grows up to be the twon constable. The two don’t speak again until twenty years later, when another girl goes missing, and Larry is once again the suspect. Silas and Larry are forced to face the past they had buried long ago head on.
Perfect for Serial fans because: Friends turning into enemies and strangers is a theme that is all too common, but one that plays an especially important role in Serial and Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter.