• The cover of the book No Way to Treat a First Lady

    No Way to Treat a First Lady

    In No Way to Treat a Lady, Christopher Buckley satirizes the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal with overly ambitious First Lady Beth McMann, who’s accused of murdering her philandering husband after she catches him with a Marilyn Monroe-esque mistress. Most of all, the book mocks the media circus around Beth’s case, which resembles the O.J. Simpson trial.

     
  • The cover of the book Cartwheel

    Cartwheel

    Cartwheel adopted its outline from college student Amanda Knox, accused of murdering a housemate during study abroad, her supposed guilt compounded by her odd behavior. However, DuBois creates specific details—like Lily Hayes performing a cartwheel during her interrogation—that separate the story. The fact that Knox’s fate was uncertain when the book was published in 2013 further helps Cartwheel stand on its own.

     
  • The cover of the book The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress

    The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress

    Ariel Lawhon drew inspiration not only from the 1930 disappearance of New York City judge Joseph Crater, but from his wife Stella’s odd tradition every year after to toast him on this bizarre anniversary. Speaking through Stella, she also added Crater’s fictional maid and mistress for a strange, three-pronged, delightfully interconnected tale.

     
  • The cover of the book House of Leaves

    House of Leaves

    Throughout “The Navidson Record,” war photographer Will Navidson appears haunted by someone he calls Delial. We later discover that Delial is the name he gave to a famine-stricken girl, stalked by a vulture, whose photo he took rather than help her. This subject was real, albeit nameless, immortalized by Pulitzer-winning photographer Kevin Carter (who later took his own life).

     
  • The cover of the book After

    After

    After has a compelling protagonist in Devon, a type-A student with an uninspiring maternal figure of her own, who is so in denial about being pregnant that she tries to throw her newborn into the trash. While the setup draws in readers, the follow-through is weak, more about “dumpster babies” than the helpless mothers who abandon them.