5 Sessions via Zoom Thursdays, 7:00 pm EST - 8:30 pm EST March 4 to June 24, 2021
The ‘With Books’ option includes all titles required for this group at a 15% discount.
3/4, 4/1, 4/29, 5/27, 6/24
From Hitchock to the Coen brothers, the books selected for this group have captured the attention of filmmakers (and moviegoers) through the decades. Explore five gripping crime fiction novels set in the context of American history and culture.
Session I: Compulsion by Meyer Levin
A fictionalized account of the Chicago 1924 “thrill killing” of young Bobby Franks by Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb. An entry in Ellroy’s L.A. Quartet, the book is “cop neo-noir” set in 1950s Los Angeles. The book is influenced by Ellroy’s own biography and Hollywood history. Adapted as a movie by the same title, starring Orson Welles as famed defense attorney Clarence Darrow, released in 1959. The case was later inspired three other movie adaptation, including Alfred Hitchcock’s post-World War II film, Rope (1948), starring James Stewart, and Murder by the Numbers (2002) starring Sandra Bullock, and Swoon (1992), that returned to the original details of the case.
Session II: No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
The book is set on the Mexican-Texas border and involves a drug deal gone wrong, a man who seizes a dubious opportunity, and the relentless hit man on his trail. It was adapted as a Coen Brothers film by the same title in 2007, starring Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, and Javier Bardem.
Session III: The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
Set in Boston, 1919, the novel focuses on the Coughlin family, their African American housekeeper, and an African American ball player who migrates from Tulsa to Boston during this turbulent year. Lehane draws on the details of the real-life Boston police strike and the Great Molasses Massacre. A movie featuring the youngest Coughlin son (Live by Night) has been made. However, The Given Day, the first book in the family saga, has been developed as a movie concept but is still pending.
Session IV: Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosley
This series of fourteen short stories featuring ex-prisoner Socrates Fortlow is set in Los Angeles in the 1990s. It was adapted as an HBO cable network film starring Laurence Fishburne as a convicted murderer who faces a challenging reentry into his community.
Session V: Double Indemnity by James M. Cain
This slender novel is based on the real-life 1920s Ruth Snyder-Judd Gray murder case in New York City. Moved to Los Angeles, the book was adapted as a 1940s film noir featuring Barbara Stanwyck as the femme fatale and Fred MacMurray as the insurance salesman who come together to kill her husband. The movie also starred Edward G. Robinson as the insurance investigator.
Frankie Y. Bailey, Ph.D. is a professor in the School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany (SUNY). She studies crime and justice in American culture, focusing on crime history, mass media/popular culture, and material culture. Frankie is the author, co-author, or co-editor of a number of books on crime and media/popular culture and on local history. Her recent scholarly publications include Crimes of the Centuries: Notorious Crimes, Criminals, and Criminal Trials, a three-volume encyclopedia co-edited with Dr. Steven Chermak. She is the author of five mystery novels featuring Southern crime historian Lizzie Stuart (Death’s Favorite Child, A Dead Man’s Honor, Old Murders, You Should Have Died on Monday, Forty Acres and a Soggy Grave (currently being reissued), and two alternate-history police procedural novels featuring Albany, New York police detective Hannah McCabe (The Red Queen Dies and What the Fly Saw). Frankie’s current non-fiction projects are a reference book about gangster movies and a book about four hundred years of dress and appearance in American crime and justice. She is also working on a historical thriller set in 1939 and her sixth Lizzie Stuart mystery.
Frankie is a past EVP of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime National. She is the project director of the Justice and Multiculturalism in the 21st Century project in the School of Criminal Justice.
About this series
Whether you’re looking to catch up on great novels or you’re interested in exploring a new writer or literary period, our reading groups offer high-level literary discussion led by experts in the field.
Plotting the Perfect Crime (Story) with Jonathan Santlofer (Sold Out)$150
Wednesday - Friday 2:00 pm EST - 4:00 pm EST January 27 to January 29, 2021
Inside Criminal Minds: Crafting Psychological Suspense with Alison Gaylin$150
Friday - Sunday 2:00 pm EST - 4:00 pm EST January 29 to January 31, 2021
Writing Sex in Fiction with Regina M. Porter$395
Once a week Wednesdays, 6:00 pm EST - 8:00 pm EST February 3 to March 10, 2021
Building Page-Turning Thrill Rides for Readers with Duane Swierczynski$150
Thursday - Saturday 3:00 pm EST - 5:00 pm EST February 4 to February 6, 2021
From Family Lore to Narrative Fiction with Maisy Card (Sold Out)$395
Once a week Tuesdays, 6:30 pm EST - 8:30 pm EST February 9 to March 16, 2021
Dialogue: Letting Your Characters Do More of the Work with De’Shawn Charles Winslow$495
Once a week Wednesdays, 6:30 pm EST - 8:30 pm EST February 10 to March 31, 2021
Users and Suckers and Steady Bad Luckers: Writing Complex Characters with William Boyle (Sold Out)$150
Friday - Sunday 2:00 pm EST - 4:00 pm EST February 12 to February 14, 2021
Members Only: The LiterariansFree
Wednesday, 12:30 pm EST - 2:00 pm EST February 17, 2021
How to Write Character-Driven Plot with Lauren Wilkinson (Sold Out)$150
Once a week Thursdays, 6:00 pm EST - 8:00 pm EST February 18 to March 4, 2021
New Ways to Jumpstart Stalled Stories with Sahar Mustafah$150
Saturday & Sunday 2:00 pm EST - 4:15 pm EST February 20 to February 21, 2021
What’s Italian? A Journey through 20th Century Italy with Antonio Romani
6 Sessions via Zoom Tuesdays, 6:00 pm EST - 7:30 pm EST February 23 to May 4, 2021
Reading the Other Americas with Kaiama L. Glover
4 Sessions via Zoom Wednesdays, 7:00 pm EST - 8:30 pm EST February 24 to May 26, 2021
The Art of Fiction Writing with Diane Zinna$495
Once a week Saturdays, 10:00 am EST - 12:00 pm EST February 27 to April 17, 2021
Criminal Justice in Fiction with Jennifer Baker
5 Sessions via Zoom Sundays, 1:00 pm EST - 2:30 pm EST February 28 to June 27, 2021
Elena Ferrante: The Early Works with Rebecca Falkoff
4 Sessions via Zoom Mondays, 7:00 pm EST - 8:30 pm EST March 1 to May 24, 2021