Yeah it’s hot out.  In fact in some parts of the country, it’s hard to think about anything else but how freakin’ hot it is.  But we at Midtown Review are here for you.  Today’s list of cool reads have absolutely nothing in common.  They’re just cool.  And will hopefully prove to be a welcome distraction from the heat.

1 – COOL HAND LUKE by Donn Pearce. This 1965 classic inspired the famous movie starring Paul Newman.  Pearce also wrote the screenplay.  Have you seen the movie?   Now it’s time to read the book.  Coming from his own experiences, the novel depicts the lives of chain gang convicts with brutal honesty and brings us Cool Hand Luke, war hero turned “pretty evil feller,” whose refusal to “git his mind right” becomes part of his fellow convicts’ mythology of survival.
2 – COLD MOUNTAIN by Charles Frazier.  Another highly acclaimed book turned movie to add to your list if you haven’t already read/seen it.  The book tells the story of W. P. Inman, a wounded deserter from the Confederate army near the end of the American Civil War who walks for months to return to Ada Monroe, the love of his life; the story shares several similarities with Homer’s The Odyssey. The novel alternates chapter-by-chapter between Inman’s and Ada’s stories. It was Charles Frazier’s first novel,  a major bestseller, and winner of The National Book Award.
3 – THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD by John le Carré. Graham Greene calls THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD “the finest spy story ever written”.  That’s pretty cool, no?  Written in 1963 by real life MI-5 and MI-6 agent David Cornwell using the pseudonym John le Carré, THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD was also made into a movie starring Richard Burton.  See… even more reasons to stay inside in the air conditioning.  Read the book AND watch the movie.
4 – IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote. If you want to really be chilled to the bone, read Truman Capote’s true crime story IN COLD BLOOD.  The book tells the story of the savage murders of the Clutter family in Holcomb Kansas in 1959 and investigation, capture, trial and execution of the killers.  Probably more famous than the murders themselves is Capote’s own role as observer and the odd attachment he forms with one of the murderers.  Yes, you can also watch the 1967 movie of the same name and/or the 2005 biographical film called Capote.
5 – SO COLD THE RIVER by Michael Koryta. Not in the mood for an old but cool classic?  Then how ’bout a new cool thriller.  This one does not (yet) have a movie made from it.  It just came out in January after all, but Michael Koryta is an award winning author and this book, his first foray into the supernatural, is said to be some page turning, scary goodness.

Enjoy – and stay cool.

— Dana Barrett, Managing Editor