Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Janet Fitch's "Chimes of a Lost Cathedral"

Janet Fitch is an American author and teacher of fiction writing.

She is the author of the #1 national bestseller White Oleander, a novel translated into 24 languages, an Oprah Book Club book and the basis of a feature film, Paint It Black, also widely translated and made into a 2017 film, and an epic novel of the Russian Revolution, The Revolution of Marina M.

The journey that began with The Revolution of Marina M. concludes in Fitch's new novel, Chimes of a Lost Cathedral, in which passionate young poet, lover, and idealist Marina Makarova emerges as a woman in full during the transformative years of the Russian Revolution. Having undergone unimaginable hardship, she’s now at the height of her creative power and understanding, living the shared life of poetry--when the revolution finally reveals its true direction for the future.

Here Fitch dreamcasts an adaptation of The Revolution of Marina M. and Chimes of a Lost Cathedral:
I definitely use actors as I’m thinking of my characters. They allow me to observe physicality, characterize gestures and voices, that certain flavor of bodily presence. I can use photographs and films to formulate descriptions of facial expressions and physical attitudes, and more than that, the feel of a certain personality—often a meld between the actor and a specific performance of theirs.

The actress I would imagine playing Marina Makarova would be a young Franka Potente as I saw her in The Bourne Identity—pretty sometimes, but also plain if in a bad situation, very physical and passionate and unrestrained, quick to laugh, a fighter, always authentic to her own nature.

Her father I always saw as Bergman’s great star Erland Josephson—bright and a bit arrogant, with a current of sensuality behind his image of control. Her spiritualist, society matron mother I imagined as a prematurely silverhaired Vanessa Redgrave.

Her friends? The avid Marxist Varvara I could imagine as Helena Kallianiotes from Five Easy Pieces—the obsessive hitchhiker--or maybe Geraldine Chaplin in her no-shit mode in Remember My Name. Mina Katzevs I always imagined as Julia Sawalha as Saffy from Ab Fab, the resentful good girl. Zina Ostrovskaya I always saw as Helena Bonham-Carter.

Marina’s lover Kolya, her grand passion, I imagined along the lines of a young Klaus Maria Brandauer--that sly, clever, charming rascally guy. What we call a Charming Bastard. Genya, the revolutionary poet and Marina’s husband, is physically like the very young Gerard Depardieu, but more and more I saw his young Brando-like complexity, the bursts of bravado, heroism or violence, also the extreme tenderness as well as a tendency to sulk.

The crime boss Arkady von Princip I always saw as Bergman’s remarkable star Max von Sydow and the one-armed Stepan Radulovich as the Russian star Nikita Mikhalkov. Ukashin, the mystic, was an intense Ben Kingsley.

What director would I like to film Chimes of a Lost Cathedral? Andrei Tarkovsky, of course. I watched The Mirror over and over in the writing of the book. Tarkovsky’s father was a famous Russian poet, too, so it would complete the circle.
Visit Janet Fitch's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Revolution of Marina M..

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Angie Kim's "Miracle Creek"

Angie Kim moved as a preteen from Seoul, South Korea, to the suburbs of Baltimore. She attended Stanford University and Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review, then practiced as a trial lawyer at Williams & Connolly. Her stories have won the Glamour Essay Contest and the Wabash Prize in Fiction, and appeared in numerous publications including Vogue, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon, Slate, The Southern Review, Sycamore Review, The Asian American Literary Review, and PANK. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband and three sons.

Here Kim dreamcasts an adaptation of Miracle Creek, her first novel:
I wrote Miracle Creek between 2012 and 2015, and during that time, I was obsessed with the TV show, The Americans. So it’s probably not surprising that I pictured actors/actresses from that show playing the characters in my novel. Young Yoo, the Korean immigrant mother, for example, I pictured being played by Ruthie Ann Miles, the amazing Tony-award-winning actress who portrayed the Korean immigrant character Young-hee. Elizabeth, the mother on trial for murdering her 8-year old son, I pictured being played by Keri Russell (who played Elizabeth Jennings in The Americans), and I thought Matthew Rhys would make an amazing Matt Thompson, who plays the doctor being treated for infertility in the pressurized oxygen chamber. Finally, even though he wasn’t in The Americans, I pictured Daniel Dae Kim as Pak Yoo, the Korean immigrant father and the paralyzed owner/operator of the oxygen chamber at the center of Miracle Creek.
Visit Angie Kim's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 26, 2019

Christopher Ruocchio's "Howling Dark"

Christopher Ruocchio is a graduate of North Carolina State University, where a penchant for self-destructive decision-making caused him to pursue a bachelor’s in English Rhetoric with a minor in Classics. An avid student of history, philosophy, and religion, Ruocchio has been writing since he was eight years old and sold his first book —Empire of Silence— at twenty-two.

Here the author dreamcasts an adaptation of Howling Dark, the second novel of his galaxy-spanning Sun Eater series:
I’ve not wavered in my determination that Harry Lloyd (Viserys Targaryen from Game of Thrones) is still the perfect actor for Hadrian. Not only does he have the look, but I’m consistently impressed with his depth and range in each role I see him in, and have no trouble seeing him as both the romantic, Byronic figure that Hadrian is and the Bonaparte/Darth Vader-esque terror he must become. I have reconsidered Valka. I rewatched Skyfall recently and very much enjoyed Berenice Marlohe’s too-brief turn as Severine. She was pure class with a sharp-edged cruelty in her mannerisms that were pure Valka to me.

I’ll do a couple new ones. The Undying, the Lord of Vorgossos, is in my mind played by the great Ken Watanabe. The Undying is simultaneously a very old man kept alive by machines that feed his mostly replaced-by-machines body and an almost god-like half-machine entity that rules over and controls the resources of an entire planet, and Watanabe could capture both facets I think very well, with that dark timbre, one can easily imagine his voice booming from speakers the size of houses.

It’s no secret that Hadrian is hunting the alien Cielcin, and no spoiler really to say he finds them in the end. The chieftain he meets, Prince Aranata Otiolo, would be played excellently by someone like Zachary Quinto. I’ve been a Quinto fan since his villainous turn on Heroes back in the day, and I hear he’s great in NOS4A2. But putting him in prosthetics and letting him loose to chew scenery with the best of them would be bloody marvelous.
Follow Christopher Ruocchio on Twitter.

My Book, The Movie: Empire of Silence.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Emily Devenport's "Medusa in the Graveyard"

Emily Devenport has written several novels under various pseudonyms including one which was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick award.

Here Devenport dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Medusa in the Graveyard:
I thought up a cast for Medusa Uploaded while I was still writing it, and I'm still happy with the people I pictured in those roles: Ruth Negga as Oichi, Vanessa Williams as Lady Sheba, Nichelle Nichols as Lady Gloria, Michelle Yeoh as Oichi's mother, Neal McDonough as Gennady Mironenko, Mehcad Brooks as Nuruddin, Sendhil Ramamurthy as Captain Nemo, Chiaki Kuriyama as Medusa. I pictured them all while I was writing the sequel, Medusa in the Graveyard, but a few of the new characters may be more challenging to cast.

For instance, there's Cocteau, an engineer on the Union Ship, Merlin: Her hair was so white, I wondered if she lightened it. The contrast with her dark skin made her look like a magical creature. A fairy godmother? An elf? Yet despite her apparent age, her skin was smooth, and Cocteau’s accented voice possessed the timbre of a fine instrument...

Cicely Tyson is the first actress who comes to my mind, but possibly that's because I'm American. Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge are also easy to picture. I'm not as familiar with African actresses, or French, or British. Someday soon I may see a movie or TV show in which the perfect Cocteau is a player.

Merlin's captain, Epatha Thomas, is much easier to peg. I knew who she was as soon as she appeared on the page: S. Epatha Merkerson, who played Anita van Buren on Law & Order. As far as I'm concerned, they should have called that the S. Epatha Merkerson Show.

Baba Yaga, the world engineer, is another challenge. In stories and movies, she has been depicted as an evil crone, her features sometimes ridiculously distorted. I think it makes more sense for her to be played by an elderly Lidiya Vertinskaya, who played the Phoenix/Siren in Aleksandr Ptushko's film, Sadko. Lidiya has the sort of demeanor you would expect from a woman who could hatch plots for thousands of years.

If you remember the young Keisha Castle-Hughes from the cover of the Whale Rider DVD, you can picture Ahi, and I would be tempted to cast Grace Park as Fire. While we're on the subject of Polynesian actors, I'd like to state, for the record, that any resemblance between Jay Momoa, scion of Momoa movers, and the actor Jason Momoa is purely coincidental. However, should Jason Momoa decide he would like to play a role in Medusa in the Graveyard, that would be so awesome!!

Dr Mirzakhani, another Merlin crew member, might be played by Tala Ashe – and while I'm mining the cast of Legends of Tomorrow, I think Keiynan Lonsdale, who plays Wally West, would make a perfect Ashur. Representative Lee, an expert negotiator, should be played by the peerless B.D. Wong.

Communications Officer Narm could be played by Lee Min-ho. Dress him all in black, and he's there. When I think of Ambassador Argus Fabricus, I can't help picturing Max von Sydow in his heyday, from The Seventh Seal. Cocteau's colleague, Engineer Wilson, is also a Scandinavian type, so maybe Alexander Skarsgård has the right vibe for him.

Last but not least is Bomarigala, survivor of OMSK and muckety-muck of the Weapons Clan. Picture Mark Chao from the Detective Dee movies, and you'll have a good idea what he's like.

The cast of Medusa in the Graveyard is a lot more diverse, so much so that many of the characters will have to be depicted through CGI. At least I wrote in a ready-made soundtrack.

Cue the Default Majesty Music, roll credits...
Visit Emily Devenport's blog.

My Book, The Movie: Medusa Uploaded.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 22, 2019

Jennifer Honeybourn's "Just My Luck"

Jennifer Honeybourn is a fan of British accents, Broadway musicals, and epic, happily-ever-after love stories. If she could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, she’d have high tea with Walt Disney, JK Rowling, and her nana. She lives in Stratford, Ontario with her husband, daughter and cat in a house filled with books.

Here Honeybourn dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Just My Luck:
I think it’s probably every writer’s dream to see one of their books made into a movie. One of the first things I do when I start a new book is cast the characters in my head — and for some reason, I usually pull from Disney Channel stars. For Just My Luck, I imagined:

Marty Taylor: Laura Marano. She starred on the Disney Channel’s Austin and Ally and, more recently, in The Perfect Date on Netflix. I especially loved her character in that movie.

Will Foster: Noah Centineo. He was really great in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, the Netflix adaption of Jenny Han’s wonderful book. And, coincidentally, he starred opposite Laura Marano in The Perfect Date. Plus, it wouldn’t take much to style his hair into Will’s trademark pompadour.

Hayes Foster: I think Bradley Steven Perry, who was on Good Luck Charlie, has the perfect look for Hayes, Will’s spoiled and very entitled younger brother.

Ansel Taylor: Ansel is a redhead, so I think KG Apa, the actor who stars as Archie Andrews on Riverdale would fit the part.

Nalani xx: Auli'i Cravalho, the actress who played Moana. She’s also a beautiful singer, so maybe she could sing something for the soundtrack!

Director: I would love for Ali Wong to direct Just My Luck. I loved Always Be My Maybe and I think her sense of humor would elevate the book.
Visit Jennifer Honeybourn's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Carrie Jones & Steven E. Wedel's "In the Woods"

About In the Woods by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel:
It should have been just another quiet night on the farm when Logan witnessed the attack, but it wasn’t.

Something is in the woods.
Something unexplainable.
Something deadly.

Hundreds of miles away, Chrystal’s plans for summer in Manhattan are abruptly upended when her dad reads tabloid coverage of some kind of grisly incident in Oklahoma. When they arrive to investigate, they find a witness: a surprisingly good-looking farm boy.

As townsfolk start disappearing and the attacks get ever closer, Logan and Chrystal will have to find out the truth about whatever’s hiding in the woods…before they become targets themselves.
Here Jones dreamcasts an adaptation of the novel:
Chrystal – She’s strong. She’s talented. Her dad is a bit eccentric. So is she. She quote Kierkegaard and has a bass guitar. She’s got the Maya Hawke vibe going on. So Maya Hawke?

Logan – He’s trying to be a poet. He’s kind of failing. He’s got farm boy arm strength and some kind eyes and a ridiculously charming smile. He’s occasionally sexist, but he’s trying. So, maybe Roshon Fegan?

Mr. Lawson-Smith (Chrystal’s dad) – Quirky? Eccentric? Basically Doctor Who as a kindergarten teacher/cryptozoologist? I’m going for Matt Smith. Oh! But if Maya Hawke is Chrystal it would be tremendous for her dad to be her actual dad. I think Ethan Hawke could pull off the vibe here.

The Monster – I can’t tell because it would be such a spoiler. Such a spoiler.
Visit Carrie Jones's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Carrie Jones & Tala.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Chris Tebbetts's "Me Myself & Him"

Chris Tebbetts is the New York Times bestselling coauthor of James Patterson’s Middle School series. Originally from Yellow Springs, Ohio, Tebbetts is a graduate of Northwestern University. He lives and writes in Vermont.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, Me Myself & Him:
I love questions like this—in part because I was a film major in college; I’m a freak for movies in general; and when I write, some part of me is always imagining my scenes on the screen. I think about where I’d put the camera (aka, what I want to show the reader), when to use a long shot (description of the setting), when to go in for a close up (get inside the character’s head), etc., etc., etc.

As for my prospective actors, I saw a preview the other day for Spiderman: Far From Home, and I have to say, Tom Holland has that average-guy, accessible-but-funny feel to him that I associate with my character Chris (who is, of course, partially based on myself). And Zendaya has impressed me ever since launching off from the Disney Channel (is that where she came from?). She’d be perfect for Anna. As for the character of Wexler, I’d love to see what Thomas Barbusca (who was so good in the movie version of another of my books, Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life) could do with that role.
Visit Chris Tebbetts's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 15, 2019

Keely Hutton's "Secret Soldiers"

Keely Hutton is a novelist, educational journalist, and former teacher. She is the recipient of the Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop scholarship at Chautauqua.

Hutton has worked closely with Ricky Richard Anywar to tell his story in her first novel, Soldier Boy.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest novel, Secret Soldiers:
If I could cast a movie adaptation of Secret Soldiers, I would pick the following talented actors for the main roles.

Thomas – Noah Jupe, the young British actor who played Marcus Abbott in A Quiet Place could handle the emotional range of the 13-year-old Dover miner desperate to get to the Western Front.

George – Levi Miller, the young Australian actor who played Peter in Pan and Calvin in A Wrinkle in Time could bring the charismatic London street urchin to life.

Charlie – Jacob Tremblay, the young Canadian actor who played Auggie in Wonder and Jack in Room would break hearts as the vulnerable runaway.

Frederick – Finn Wolfhard, the young Canadian actor who plays Mike Wheeler on the show Stranger Things could handle the character arc of the arrogant Eton student.

James – Tom Holland, the British actor who plays my favorite Spider Man ever would be an amazing older brother for Thomas.

Bagger – Jerome Flynn, the British actor who played Bennet Drake in Ripper Street (one of my favorite characters on one of my favorite shows) and Bronn on Game of Thrones would nail the tough, but loveable crew leader.

Mole – Paul Anderson, the British actor who plays Arthur Shelby Jr. in Peaky Blinders, the show that inspired my research into the WW1 tunnellers, would slay as the crew’s kicker.

Boomer – Naveen Andrews, the British actor who played Jafar on the show Once Upon a Time in Wonderland would be amazing as the crew’s explosion expert and Thomas’s mentor.

Bats –Raphael Corkhill, the British actor who narrated the audiobook for Secret Soldiers and plays Kaiser Wilhelm II in the upcoming film The German King would be fantastic in the role of the crew’s listener.

For a composer, I’d love John Williams, Alan Silvestri, or Hans Zimmer. I listened to all three composers’ work while writing Secret Soldiers and love the emotional impact their scores bring to films.
Visit Keely Hutton's website.

My Book, The Movie: Soldier Boy.

The Page 69 Test: Secret Soldiers.

Writers Read: Keely Hutton.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 13, 2019

J. Todd Scott's "This Side of Night"

J. Todd Scott was born in rural Kentucky and attended college and law school in Virginia, where he set aside an early ambition to write to pursue a career as a federal agent. His assignments have taken him all over the U.S and the world, but a badge and gun never replaced his passion for books and writing. He now resides in the American Southwest, and when he’s not hunting down very bad men, he’s hard at work on his next book.

His debut novel, The Far Empty, was published in 2016.

Here Scott dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, This Side of Night:
This is a more interesting question now that I’ve been more actively involved in the “Hollywood side” of things on several projects, including the adaptation and development of my own books. Throughout the process, I’ve met both actors and directors, and I find the whole book-to-script-to-screen process fascinating…and slow…and frustrating….

That being said, I love the idea of making films, and often visualize how I’d “shoot” my own novel scenes as I write them. I’ve always had a “pocket list” of directors I’d be thrilled to see work on the Big Bend novels (and frankly, This Side of Night is probably the most “cinematic” of the three), but there are some great female directors working now I’d love to see tackle my stuff, particularly since America Reynosa is such a central character. In no particular order: Jennifer Kent, Sarah Polley, and Karyn Kusama.
Visit J. Todd Scott's website.

The Page 69 Test: High White Sun.

My Book, The Movie: High White Sun.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Julie McElwain's "Betrayal in Time"

Julie McElwain is a national award-winning journalist. Born and raised in North Dakota, she graduated from North Dakota State University (Go, Bison!), and moved to Los Angeles, where she worked for a fashion trade newspaper. Currently, she is an editor for CBS Soaps In Depth, covering the No. 1 daytime drama, The Young & The Restless.

Her first novel, A Murder In Time, was one of the top 10 picks by the National Librarian Association for its April 2016 book list, and was selected as the mystery to read in 2016 by OverDrive Inc., a digital distributor serving more than 34,000 libraries around the world. The novel was also a finalist for the 2016 Goodreads’ readers choice awards in the Sci-fi category, and made Bustle’s list of 9 Most Addictive Mystery series for 2017.

The series continues Kendra Donovan’s adventures in Regency England with A Twist in Time, Caught in Time, and Betrayal in Time.

When McElwain is not on her laptop, she enjoys traveling, exploring different cultures, spending time with family and meeting friends for Happy Hour. She lives in Long Beach, California.

Here the author dreamcasts an adaptation of Betrayal in Time:
When my first book, A Murder in Time, was published, many people asked me who I envisioned as Kendra when I was writing the book. Honestly, I didn’t have anyone in mind when I was writing the novel. Kendra was purely a figment of my imagination. However, since A Murder in Time was optioned for a TV series, I have had a chance to fantasize a bit. I love that there are a lot of action-oriented roles for women in Hollywood these days — where a woman saves the day rather than waiting to be saved. Kendra is a super-smart, slightly awkward, kick-ass woman who saves the day. Based on that, I can see several actresses in the role, but narrowed them down to the following four. Cobie Smulders, who showed off her comedic skills in How I Met Your Mother, and then flexed her muscle (literally) by playing Turner in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back as well as Maria in the Avengers movies. Summer Glau. She was the Terminator in the TV series. Really, does anything more need to be said? Priyanka Chopra, who played an FBI agent in the TV series Quantico, and also has an international reputation as being an action star. And, finally, Sofia Pernas, who is playing an action role on CBS’ summer adventure series, Blood & Treasure.

If I’m fantasy casting, I might as well cast Kendra’s love interest, Alec, with Aidan Turner. The guy has already sent temperatures rising with his role as Ross Poldark in the Masterpiece Theater TV series, Poldark. I think the uber-talented Turner would fill Alec’s Hessian boots quite nicely, thank you very much!
Visit Julie McElwain's website.

The Page 69 Test: Caught in Time.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Adam Mitzner's "A Matter of Will"

Adam Mitzner is currently the head of the litigation department of Pavia & Harcourt LLP in midtown Manhattan and the author of several acclaimed novels, including Dead Certain, A Conflict of Interest, A Case of Redemption, Losing Faith, The Girl from Home, Dead Certain and Never Goodbye.

Here Mitzner dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, A Matter of Will:
As it turns out, A Matter of Will is already under option for film treatment by Company X and Emily Siegel. We haven’t discussed actors yet, but if they let me cast it (and I know they won’t), I’d go with:

Will Matthews — Ansel Elgort. I loved him in Baby Driver, and he is a graduate of New York City’s high school of performing arts, which both my daughters attended.

Sam Abaddon — The part calls for someone too handsome to be believed, with a definite dark side. Jon Hamm could do it justice, but it might hew too close to his Don Draper character. Idris Elba would also kill it, and a British accent would be great.

Gwen Lipton — I’m a huge fan of Nina Dobrev, and I think she’d be perfect as Will’s love interest who is not only beautiful, but clearly smarter than he is.

Eve Deveraux — Once again, the part calls for beauty and an intelligence the audience recognizes, but the other characters might not. There’s a plethora of great age appropriate actors: Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Connelly, Halle Barry, please have your agent call me.
Learn more about the book and author at Adam Mitzner's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Matter of Will.

Writers Read: Adam Mitzner.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 5, 2019

Domenica Ruta's "Last Day"

In Domenica Ruta’s Last Day,
the end of the world comes once a year. Every May 28, humanity gathers to anticipate the planet’s demise—and to celebrate as if the day is truly its last.

On this holiday, three intersecting sets of characters embark on a possibly last-chance quest for redemption. In Boston, bookish wunderkind Sarah is looking for love and maybe a cosmic reversal from the much older Kurt, a tattoo artist she met at last year’s Last Day BBQ—but he’s still trying to make amends to the family he destroyed long ago. Dysfunctional Karen keeps getting into trouble, especially when the voices she’s been hearing coax her to abandon everything to search for her long-lost adoptive brother; her friend Rosette has left the Jehovah’s Witnesses to follow a new pastor at the Last Kingdom on Earth, where she brings Karen on this fateful day. Meanwhile, above them all, three astronauts on the International Space Station, Bear, an American; Russian Svec; and billionaire Japanese space tourist Yui, contemplate their lives as well as their precious Earth from afar.
Here Ruta dreamcasts an adaptation of the novel:
Sarah Moss should be played by Kiernan Shipka, the prodigiously talented actress who played Sally Draper on Mad Men.

Kurt should be played by either Mark Ruffalo or Robert Downey Jr in their early 40s incarnation.

Bear should be played by Ed Harris.

Karen should be played by Rebel Wilson.
Visit Domenica Ruta's website.

The Page 69 Test: Last Day.

Writers Read: Domenica Ruta.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Ashley Dyer's "The Cutting Room"

Ashley Dyer is the pseudonym for prize-winning novelist Margaret Murphy working in consultation with policing and forensics expert, Helen Pepper.

Dyer's new novel is The Cutting Room.

Here Murphy dreamcasts an adaptation of The Cutting Room:
An Oscar-winning Hollywood production company actually did show an interest in the Carver & Lake series even before Splinter in the Blood (book #1) was published. It was heady stuff for a time, and slightly surreal, having transatlantic discussions over the phone, as well as meeting with British film and TV producers. Ultimately, it all came to nought, but it was fun while it lasted. It was only after producers asked if I had a dream cast in mind, that I gave this some thought, because as a rule, although I have a picture of the protagonists in my head, I rarely base them on actors.

In The Cutting Room, Carver and Lake are on the trail of a social media savvy serial killer who calls himself the ‘Ferryman’; a sadistic narcissist with artistic pretensions who makes his victims the centrepiece of his art works.

Emily Blunt would be perfect as Ruth Lake. Ruth is reserved, though far from shy, and has a phenomenal inner strength and integrity. She’s serious, and can be tough, but has a sense of humour, and she’s compassionate. Although she isn’t always honest with Carver or her colleagues, she is honest with herself—and she is harbouring a dreadful secret—at least some of which is revealed in this novel, when a man comes back into her life who was very special to her in her teens and early twenties. Emily Blunt is superb in every movie I’ve ever seen her in, from the kick-ass action heroine in Edge of Tomorrow, to a vulnerable-but-stoic FBI agent in Sicario; and she conveyed such raw emotion in A Quiet Place—much of it without dialogue—that I know she could bring all of Ruth’s many-layered complexities to life onscreen.

Greg Carver, meanwhile, is slowly regaining his strength after an attack that nearly ended him and he can’t seem to shake the hallucinations and bewildering auras which are a legacy of his injuries. He is grateful to Ruth who covers for him at work, but terrified that the after-effects of his head trauma, together with the PTSD flashbacks he’s suffering, will finish his career, so he’s pushing himself too hard, too fast, and is in deep denial—sometimes even building barriers against Ruth. But the auras—blurs of coloured light which ‘halo’ people he interacts with—seem to correspond to their mood, and Carver begins to regard his infirmity as a strength. Jake Gyllenhaal has a tremendous range and seems completely fearless in the roles he takes on. I’d love for him to play Carver, knowing that he would convey Carver’s intensity and vulnerability, his terror and bewilderment, and also the courage and determination that make him a great cop.

As for the director ... I toyed with the Christopher Nolan (and there aren’t many who can say that!), because he creates such strong visual experiences and dizzying disorientation in his films, notably Memento, and Inception. But in the end, I think Martin Scorsese would be the director for me: Shutter Island, adapted from Dennis Lehane’s novel, was highly inventive, creating truly startling images in the hallucinatory sequences and conveying the weirdness and dark gothic tone of the book brilliantly. I’d love to see what he’d do with Greg Carver’s flashbacks, visions and auras, as well as the seriously twisted ‘artworks’ the murderer creates.
Visit Ashley Dyer's website and Facebook page.

Writers Read: Ashley Dyer.

The Page 69 Test: The Cutting Room.

--Marshal Zeringue