All Posts By

Peter Malone Elliott

The Nickel Boys

By Spotlight - Must-Reads

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead literary Doubleday – July 2019 Inspired by a true story. Nowadays, we see this phrase, or variations on it, in plentiful amounts across the spectrum of film, TV, books, and theater. Oftentimes, this language is implemented for more of a superficial reason—producers or creatives looking to protect themselves against a potential lawsuit—and other times it’s used to tip off the audience that there is a deeper, larger story lurking beneath the surface of the fictional piece they are about to consume. The Nickel Boys, without a doubt, falls into the latter category. And it is one of the most vital works of fiction of the last decade. Colson Whitehead’s haunting, powerful, and altogether wrenching novel is inspired by the story of the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida. Dozier was a “reform school” responsible for the widespread abuse and murder of countless young…

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The Glass Hotel

By Spotlight - Must-Reads

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel literary Knopf – March 2020 Since I started writing reviews for Book Pipeline, I’ve examined novels and works of nonfiction that I feel have crossover potential: The Silent Patient, The Churchgoer, and She Said. These books—two novels and a piece of nonfiction, respectively—are all incredibly well-written, engaging creations easy to imagine being adapted to film or television. In fact, two of them already have been put in development by major Hollywood production companies/studios. When I picked up The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel, the author of illustrious works like Station Eleven, I assumed I was in for a similar reading journey. What I got instead was something entirely different—The Glass Hotel makes no attempt to be conducive for film/TV adaptation. Instead, this rich, haunting, utterly absorbing, and deeply thought-provoking literary novel focuses on telling its story in a way that…

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She Said

By Spotlight - Must-Reads

She Said by Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey nonfiction Penguin – September 2019 Investigative journalism. The backbone of free, democratic society. A powerful counterbalance that ensures all voices are heard and represented. It is a high-powered surgical instrument—a vital implement that lays bare the rampant corruption, pervasive wrongdoing, and criminal hierarchical structures that corrode the well-being of society. When it comes to the Pulitzer Prize winning work of New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey? They are not just journalists. They are luminaries who uncovered the epidemic-like, decades-long sexual abuse perpetrated by Harvey Weinstein, and in doing so, spearheaded the culturally defining #MeToo movement. Their words had a seismic impact on the entire world, leading to a shift in global conversation surrounding sexual assault, gender inequality, and pervasive sexist practices. In other words, Kantor and Twohey are modern-day superheroes. In She Said, a work of nonfiction released in…

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The Churchgoer

By Spotlight - Must-Reads

The Churchgoer by Patrick Coleman literary / crime Harper Perennial – July 2019 Slow-burn, atmospheric, literary noir—a subgenre of crime fiction that’s rich with history in the publishing world. Some of the finest writers to ever dip their quills into ink—Raymond Chandler, James Ellroy, and Patricia Highsmith, for example—were masters of literary noir, preeminent in pushing the subgenre to the forefront of the book industry. A prospective work of the genre must not only adhere to the classic plot structure of crime drama, but also serve as a deep psychological probe into the minds of its morally ambiguous, oftentimes self-destructive characters. Said work also can’t skimp on ambience. In order to be considered literary noir, the backdrop and tone of the story should be vivid, dripping in subtext and intrigue at every turn, and serve as practically its own character. It is a high bar, and is one that many…

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The Silent Patient

By Spotlight - Must-Reads

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides psychological thriller Celadon Books – February 2019 The page-turning psychological thriller. It’s a genre absolutely saturated with thousands upon thousands of novels. Especially in today’s marketplace—where readers increasingly demand lightning quick stories that satisfy their bottomless hunger for suspenseful plot twists—it is a difficult task for authors to balance those demands while also sculpting a piece with deeply-layered characters and high emotional resonance. Achieving all those elements—or hitting the “bullseye”—with equal skill and visceral effect is a tall, tall order. The Silent Patient not only strikes that bullseye right in its center, but blows it out of the water. The book is an electrifying debut from screenwriter-turned-novelist Alex Michaelides about a criminal psychotherapist (Theo Faber) and his obsession with a mental institution inmate (Alicia Berenson), a woman who has taken a vow of silence ever since she was convicted of murdering her husband. As…

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