Riot Recommendation: The Dark Side of Small Town Life

Rebecca Joines Schinsky

Chief of Staff

Rebecca Joines Schinsky is the executive director of product and ecommerce at Riot New Media Group. She co-hosts All the Books! and the Book Riot Podcast. Follow her on Twitter: @rebeccaschinsky.

heading out to wonderful robert goolrickThis installment of Riot Recommendation is sponsored by Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick.

It is the summer of 1948 when a handsome, charismatic stranger, Charlie Beale, recently back from the war in Europe, shows up in the town of Brownsburg, a sleepy village nestled in the Valley of Virginia. All he has with him are two suitcases: one contains his few possessions, including a fine set of butcher knives; the other is full of money. A lot of money. Heading Out to Wonderful is a haunting, heart-stopping novel of love gone terribly wrong in a place where once upon a time such things could happen.


We’re never content to let that which appears idyllic and innocent be so, are we? Fiction is filled with small towns that appear quiet and quaint but are actually anything but. And is knowing everyone–and having everyone know you–actually as peachy as it’s chalked up to be?

In today’s Riot Recommendation we want to know: what are your favorite books that expose the dark side of small town life, where people and situations aren’t what they want you to think they are?