Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mark Troy's "The Splintered Paddle"

Mark Troy is the author of Pilikia Is My Business, a private eye novel published in 2001 and republished in 2010. Pilikia was nominated for a Shamus Award by the Private Eye Writers of America for Best 1st P.I. Novel. Game Face, a collection of short stories featuring P.I. Val Lyon, was published in 2011. The Rules, the first story in the Ava Rome series, was published as an ebook and audiobook in 2013.

Here Troy dreamcasts an adaptation of his new book, The Splintered Paddle, the latest book in the Ava Rome series:
I haven't really thought about casting The Splintered Paddle, but some real actors and the characters they've portrayed, as well as some non-actors, have inspired the characters in the book. So this is a great experiment to see how they fit in the story.

The heroine, Ava Rome, is a woman of action and determination. She was tough enough to be an MP in the Army, so she is knowledgeable about guns and personal combat. If the movie were made thirty years ago, Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in the Alien series would have been ideal for the role of Ava. More than anything else, what attracts me is the set of Sigourney's jaw that says, “I’m going to kill monsters.”

Athletes are my greatest source of inspiration for Ava—Gabby Reese and Misty May-Treanor, for two. But if I could pick anybody, it would be U.S. Olympic goal keeper, Hope Solo. She has the body, the face, and the eyes filled with aggression. Looking in those eyes, you do not want to be a guy who breaks her heart. As a goalie, Hope Solo embodies the attitude that I see in Ava. She’s the last defense when everyone else on the team has been beaten. After she makes the save, she starts the offense. She stands alone for the team while the opposition lines up to take their shots. Also, she’s got the perfect name for a hardboiled PI, after Guy Noir, of course.

Ava has a tough-guy sidekick named Moon Ito. For Moon, I pick Daniel Dae Kim of Hawaii Five-O. Again, it’s the eyes. There is that no nonsense expression that reveals nothing but hints of the violence that could be unleashed if crossed.

The bad guys drive the story in a mystery. The Splintered Paddle has two main bad guys. Norman Traxler is a psychopath seeking revenge. I have always thought of him as resembling Max Cady of Cape Fear played by Robert Mitchum. (Robert DeNiro played Cady in the remake, but Mitchum is who I see in this role.) If cast today, I would give the nod to Michael Madsen, Mr. Blonde in Reservoir Dogs. The other bad guy is an ethically challenged police detective who is both smooth and brash. Someone such as Charlie Sheen would be great for the part.

Working girl, Jenny Mordan, the victim of Ron Nevez’s harassment and later Traxler’s target, is strong-willed and stubborn, which puts her in frequent conflict with Ava who is trying to protect her. Jenny's unpredictability endangers both her and Ava. Miley Cyrus would be great for that role.

Director: Quentin Tarantino or Martin Scorsese. There will be bloodshed and bad words.
Visit Mark Troy's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Splintered Paddle.

Writers Read: Mark Troy.

--Marshal Zeringue