House of Cards fans, get ready for a very unromantic Valentine's Day: The new season launches February 14! To prepare ourselves for the impending all-night TV binge (yes Netflix, I'm still watching!), we put together a list of book recommendations to go with each of your favorite House of Cards characters. Be warned: Political corruption, murder, conspiracies, and deceit are in full force.
Comprised of three interconnected novels set in Texas, The Gay Place focuses on governor Arthur Fenstemaker. A Southern politician who will do whatever it takes to enact his will—sounds kind of like conniving, manipulative, barbecue-obsessed Frank. (Image via Salon)
Cold and calculating, Claire Underwood schemes with her husband, Frank, to achieve their joint political ambitions and has an extramarital affair with an artist. Politics and infidelity also drive the narrator of Josephine Hart's Damage, the story of a British cabinet member who has an affair with his son's fiancée. Claire could learn a thing or two from Hart's brilliant novel about obsession. (Image via Feminema)
Representative Peter Russo is manipulated by Frank Underwood, who uses Russo's drug and alcohol addiction to blackmail him. Addiction plagues the four main characters of Hubert Selby Jr.'s classic novelRequiem for a Dream as well. As is the case for Russo, the characters' dependence may be too powerful a force for them to escape. (Image via Daily Record)
As a reporter for the Washington Herald and Slugline, Janine Skorsky could probably relate to the larger-than-life antics of tabloid writer Vera Perl in Bigfoot Dreamsby Francine Prose. A frequent embellisher—and outright liar—Vera runs into trouble when one of the stories she fabricates actually proves to be true. (Image via Buzz Sugar)
Now this is one conspiracy theory that blogger Roy Kapeniak could really get into. In Allen Steele's Jericho Iteration, an earthquake demolishes St. Louis, sending everyone packing who can afford to leave. But Gerry Rosen, a reporter for the Big Muddy Inquirer, isn't going anywhere; he's stumbled on a government conspiracy that won't let him rest until he takes down all those involved. (Image viaNetflix).
When reporter Gini Hunter receives a pair of handcuffs in a mysterious package, she senses that she is about to break the story of a lifetime. But three other journalists have received similar parcels—one of whom is Pascal Lamartine, Gini's former lover. Will Gini be able to keep up with the scandal's paper trail of lies and deceit while rekindling a love affair she thought was lost forever? (Image via Elle)
Although quiet, Frank Underwood's chief of staff, Doug Stamper, is one of the most strategic thinkers on the show. His ability to make things happen behind the scenes while remaining unruffled on the surface is unmatched—even among stealthy politicians. Learn the tricks of Stamper's trade in Secrets of Power Negotiating and you'll be on top in no time. (Image via Sound On Sight)
Rachel Posner is doing the best she can. After dropping out of high school and running away from home and her physically abusive father, she begins turning tricks for extra cash. Posner is there when Peter Russo gets arrested one night, giving her a second chance at life, and an opportunity to show that she's just as savvy as Frank Underwood and Doug Stamper. Little Odessa is a similar story of a girl down on her luck, whose ambitions lead her to become involved with an unsavory crew of double dealers. (Image via Wikia)
Being successful in the Capitol means playing a complex political game—exactly what Oren Chase needs to do to get the best of his nemesis, Frank Underwood. Yellow-Dog Contract by Ross Thomas is a thriller about just this type of power dynamics. A former campaign trail fixer is hired to get to the bottom of a chilling political scandal, leading him through Washington's seedy underbelly. (Image via Wikia)
Lucas Goodwin—Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soulby Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Bud Gardner
Writing is Lucas Goodwin's life. As an editor at theWashington Herald, he strives to uncover DC's sordid secrets while maintaining his journalistic integrity. His relationship with the wily Zoe, however, may be his undoing. Due to the stressful—and dangerous—nature of his work, Lucas should unwind with something warm and comforting. Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul would encourage him to keep fighting the good fight. (Image via Backstage)
There's nothing more important to a Washington lobbyist than being in the know. As Frank Underwood's protégé, Remy Danton needs to keep up with all the political scandals, relationships, and insider deals to ensure that the companies he works for stay happy. He also has no qualms using his connections to make a deal with Claire behind Frank's back. The Death List by Marc Olden is about a drug kingpin's missing little black book—and all the people willing to do whatever it takes to get their hands on it. (Images via Indiewire)