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