We’re pretty obsessed with True Detective here at Culture Binge. Now that the show has reached its weighty conclusion, our lives seem empty and meaningless. But as we all know, time is a flat circle and it will come around again. Until then we’re filling the void with some of our favorite novels that do what TD did so well. These books are part detective thriller, part eerie American gothic, part philosophical meanderings, and all completely riveting. (If you need a bit more to ease your withdrawal, we highly recommend these short stories by series creator Nic Pizzolatto: “Ghost-Birds” and “Between Here and the Yellow Sea.”)
Dirt by David Vann
Twenty-two-year-old Galen lives in seclusion with his emotionally dependent mother, supported by a family inheritance. A devoted New Age believer, he dedicates his life to magical transformation — “to free himself from the corporeal, to be as weightless as air, to walk on water.” When his young, attractive cousin enters his life, Galen is overcome with manic desire and realizes that he can achieve transcendence but it will be a treacherous path.
You Should Read It If… you like stories about the dark (and we mean really dark) aspects of human nature and the fuzzy line between belief and insanity.
Culture Binge Mashup: Top of the Lake meets Cormac McCarthy meets Bon Iver
The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
In Los Angeles, icy cool private eye Philip Marlowe befriends hapless war vet Terry Lennox. When Lennox’s wealthy nymphomaniac wife is violently murdered and Lennox flees across the border, Marlowe is thrown into the middle of a larger conspiracy. He has to navigate Mexican gangsters, corrupt tycoons, fast-talking dames, hard-boiled cops and an alcoholic novelist to solve a crime where the clues just don’t add up.
You Should Read It If… you like razor-sharp dialogue, plot twists upon plot twists, and gin gimlets.
Culture Binge Mashup: Humphrey Bogart cool meets LA Confidential meets Veronica Mars
The Little Friend by Donna Tartt
In Alexandria, Mississippi, a young boy, Robin Cleve Dufresnes, is brutally murdered and found hanging from a tree. Twelve years on, his murder goes unsolved and his family is haunted by grief. His plucky younger sister Harriet and her friend Hely take on the case and uncover murky secrets of the town and the family’s past.
You Should Read It If… you like page-turning whodunits, idealistic heroines, and chilling, thrilling conclusions.
Culture Binge Mashup: To Kill a Mockingbird meets Beasts of the Southern Wild meets Harriet the Spy