Monday, November 19, 2012

David Carnoy's "The Big Exit"

While David Carnoy lives in New York City with his wife and children, his novels take place in Silicon Valley, where he grew up and went to high school (Palo Alto). His debut novel, Knife Music (2010), was a Top-10 bestseller on the Kindle and also a bestseller on the Nook. More medical thriller than high-tech thriller, to research the novel Carnoy spent a lot of time talking with doctors, visiting trauma centers, and trailed a surgeon at a hospital in Northern California to help create the book's protagonist, Dr. Ted Cogan.

The Big Exit (2012) isn't a sequel to Knife Music per se. However, a few of the characters from Knife Music figure prominently in the story. His second novel has more of a high-tech slant and reflects Carnoy's experiences as an executive editor at, where he currently works and is trying resolve his obsession with consumer electronics products.

Here Carnoy dreamcasts an adaptation of The Big Exit:
A blogger recently asked me who I'd cast as my protagonist in the movie version of The Big Exit and I drew a blank. The truth is I didn't really have anybody in mind as I was writing the character of Richie Forman. In my first novel Knife Music, I really saw my lead, the surgeon Ted Cogan, as George Clooney or Bradley Cooper (Cooper would be my first pick today). But Forman was just Forman.

The irony is that when I was creating him I thought some big actor would want to play him, even if I didn't have one in mind. That's because he's a Sinatra impersonator and I suspect that plenty of actors would want to play Sinatra without actually playing him.

So after flailing with that first blogger, I decided to think about it some more. Luckily, of course, there's been a lot of talk about Scorsese doing a Sinatra biopic, and the Web is filled with lists of actors who might play Sinatra in that film if it ever comes to fruition.

I'm a big fan of Leonardo DiCaprio, the guy who tops most Scorsese Sinatra lists. But I think Matt Damon might be better for the role of Richie Forman. That's because Forman, who's fresh out a prison in the book (he did time for vehicular manslaughter), is a former dot-comer, and Damon probably fits the bill a little better as a Silicon Valley guy. Of course, it's unclear whether Damon can sing (DiCaprio has apparently been taking lessons). I also think Jake Gyllenhaal would probably work, but he doesn't have blue eyes. Bring on the contacts.

As for the secondary roles. I like Kevin Spacey for Detective Madden, who's also in my first book. Madden is an older detective who has a drop foot (from a bout of polio as a kid) and walks with a limp. As we know, Spacey does a mean limp. Earlier this year I saw on stage in Richard III and who can forget him as "Verbal" Kint/Keyser Soze in The Usual Suspects.

My lead female character is Carolyn Dupuy, a troubled lawyer "coping with an off-and-on doctor boyfriend and a ticking biological clock," according to Kirkus Reviews. She's on a cycle of IVF while helping to solve the murder and I think Jennifer Aniston would be good in the role. Dupuy's sexy, tough, vulnerable, manic, and a bit comedic at times. She's got more of a Mediterranean complexion, so Aniston would have to go with dark hair (she does come from partial Greek/Italian lineage).

I also have Richie's ex-fiancee, Beth (that image on the cover of the book is supposed to represent her). I see her as a younger version of Madeleine Stowe. Maybe Jennifer Garner?

Who knows. My agents are trying to sell the Fi/TV rights now. We'll see if anything pans out. I'm pessimistically optimistic.
Learn more about the book and author at David Carnoy's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Big Exit.

--Marshal Zeringue