My 3 Favorite Dramatic Crime Reads of the Past 5 Years.

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As the summer progresses and the warm weather-induced laziness sets in, I’ve found myself longing for a good summer read. This has caused me to reflect on some of my most recent favorites that I’ve enjoyed either by reading the entire novel in an afternoon on the beach or on a cool summer evening by a backyard fire pit. As so many of us book lovers do, I then wanted to share some of these favorites, so that if you too are looking for your next summer read (and you haven’t read them already), you can give them a look!

1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

This is a thriller you could easily read in just a day or two. Admittedly, the flow of the book takes a bit of getting used to, as each chapter is narrated by one of three main characters, but it is certainly worth any initial confusion you may experience (particularly if you’ve trained up by reading the whirlwind of character narratives that is worldwide sensation A Song Of Ice and Fire!). The entirety of the plot is complicated to explain in just a short review, but it involves an alcoholic who can’t trust her own memory, abusive husbands and ex-lovers, a suspect therapist, and a missing woman holding onto a shocking secret. And, as you can guess from the name, this all centers around one woman’s daily train commute to the suburbs of London – a routine that had become mundane until drama began to unfold. As you may know, the book was turned into a a film starring Emily Blunt (who did a lovely job) as lead character Rachel, and though some major creative liberties were taken, it was still quite a strong adaptation. As usual though (always??), the book is best!

2. Molly’s Game by Molly Bloom

This story is especially captivating given the fact that it is based on true events and was written by the antagonist herself. The full title of the book explains the plot pretty well: Molly’s Game: The True Story of the 26-Year-Old Woman Behind the Most Exclusive, High-Stakes Underground Poker Game in the World! . Molly Bloom had trained for years to become an Olympic skier, but after a career-ending injury, she was forced to pick up a new hobby, and wound up running underground celebrity poker games Part of the charm of this story is in fact how it introduces poker games reminiscent of mobsters playing in Prohibition-era speakeasies, or even Rounders-style back rooms, where there was always more on the line than just money. This is certainly in contrast to the gambling world of today, where the expanding availability of online casinos is slowly digitizing and individualizing the experience, further relegating physical poker rooms to the past. In other words, the atmosphere of this book is somewhat intoxicating! And once you give it a read, this one, too, produced an excellent film adaptation (starring Jessica Chastain).

3.Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

Give Me Your Hand is a particularly good read because of its relatable nature: at it’s core, this is a novel about two women competing for a position in the male-dominated field of science and technology. Of course, Abbott let her imagination run wild with this common situation and turned it into one of the best crime dramas of 2018. This book is unique in that it flips the usual victim-oriented plot and instead delves into what can happen when a woman’s rage is bottled up for too long. As was eloquently explained by a New Yorker review, this book takes a slightly feminist twist and “explores what characters who have been beaten down and confined by sexism might be capable of.” Unlike the first two selections on my list, Give Me Your Hand has not yet been made into a movie. But if you give it a read you’ll still experience high drama, and likely believe (as do I) that an adaptation is likely in the cards at some point!

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