Culture Crash 20-48

Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture. What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.

As the days of fall turn colder and darker, I always find myself turning more and more toward finding new books to read. As such, I wanted to share a few page-turners that I’ve torn through lately that might help you through some of those long, cold days.

Alex Michaelides’ The Silent Patient is a quiet mystery/thriller revolving around a therapist obsessed with unraveling the truth of one of his patients, an artist famously accused of killing her husband, but who hasn’t spoken since the murder. The narrative doesn’t stray far from Theo, the therapist, and Alicia, the patient. It’s really a fun read and one of those books that I finished and immediately set on my wife’s nightstand so she could read it as soon as possible.

Another thriller, this one with a bigger cast of characters, is Lucy Foley’s The Guest List. An Agatha Christie-inspired murder mystery full of twists and turns. The story revolves a wedding on – where else – a remote island with little cell reception. Alternating perspectives and timelines, the story slowly and expertly reveals its secrets to readers in due time. It’s the kind of book you pull out on a stormy night and tear all the way through, realizing only once you’ve finished that it’s 3 a.m. and you should really get some sleep.

Finally, Rumaan Alam wrote what is probably my favorite book of the year, called Leave the World Behind. The novel tells the story of two families forced under one roof after a blackout sweeps through New York City, knocking out all forms of communication. Though it is something of a thriller, Leave the World Behind is actually more like literary fiction, exploring the same parenting and racial issues families face on a daily basis through the prism of this extraordinary situation.

There’s very little that I love more than a tense ride as a reader and all three of those novels kept me guessing until the very end. 

I’m Evan Rook.