Monday, December 30, 2019

Lee Goldberg's "Lost Hills"

Lee Goldberg is a two-time Edgar Award and two-time Shamus Award nominee and the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including the Ian Ludlow thrillers Killer Thriller and True Fiction, King City, The Walk, fifteen Monk mysteries, and the internationally bestselling Fox & O’Hare books (The Heist, The Chase, The Job, The Scam, and The Pursuit) cowritten with Janet Evanovich. He has also written and/or produced many TV shows, including Diagnosis Murder, SeaQuest, and Monk, and is the co-creator of the Hallmark movie series Mystery 101. As an international television consultant, he has advised networks and studios in Canada, France, Germany, Spain, China, Sweden, and the Netherlands on the creation, writing, and production of episodic television series.

Here Goldberg dreamcasts the lead in an adaptation of his new novel, Lost Hills:
I wrote Lost Hills first as a screenplay, just to get the story down and satisfying myself that it worked. I then used the screenplay as a detailed outline for my novel. Initially, I had actress Erin Cahill in mind as my heroine, Eve Ronin, the youngest female homicide detective on the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. You may not recognize Erin by name, but millions of viewers know her face from the 875 Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movies she's starred in over the years. Erin is actually too old to play the part now, but she was in her mid-to-late 20s, the same age as Eve, when she starred in my film Fast Track: No Limits. It was Erin's voice and face that were in my mind when I wrote Lost Hills...and even now, as I finish up the sequel, Bone Canyon, where the talk of a movie version of Eve's adventures, and who should play her in them, is a subplot in the storyline.
Visit Lee Goldberg's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 27, 2019

Darcie Wilde's “And Dangerous to Know”

Darcie Wilde is the award-winning author of the Rosalind Thorne Mysteries, a Regency-set historical mystery series inspired by the novels of Jane Austen. The new book in the series is And Dangerous to Know.

Here Wilde dreamcasts a big screen adaptation of the novel:
I’m not one of those authors who pictures a particular actor or person when they’re writing. The characters evolve too quickly into being their own people in my mind for me to hold onto a “real life” image for them. That said, the casting game is always a fun one, especially for a series. So, here we go…

And Dangerous to Know is a period mystery, set in Regency era London (think Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes), so we need somebody who can handle the language, and look good in the clothes. My two lead male characters are Adam Harkness, who is a member of the London’s proto-police force the Bow Street Runners, and Lord Casselmaine, an English aristocrat. They should be played by Zac Efron and Hugh Jackman, respectively. John Barrowman would of course be acceptable for Adam Harkness (Dr. Who fans will get the joke), but he’d have to dye his hair blond for the role.

For our second “runner,” the careful, thoughtful, Sampson Gautier, the only available choice is Idris Elba, because I think Mr. Elba should be in everything.

Likewise, for Lady Melbourne, our hostess and mistress of the haut ton who is threatened by blackmail and scandal, the only possible choice is the great Dame Maggie Smith.

That leaves my two female leads. We’ve got the best friend,“tiny, dark, quick” Alice Littlefield, who is a journalist and social gossip writer. She should be played by Keira Knightley, or maybe Minnie Driver, from about the time she was in An Ideal Husband (hey, it’s all a fantasy, we can do time travel if we want, right?).

Which brings us to my lead character, Rosalind Thorne. Rosalind is an aristocratic woman who finds herself in what got called “reduced circumstances,” after her father deserts the family. What that actually meant was she’s been left without any money and had to fend for herself. Rosalind manages by helping other women with particular problems. Like blackmail, scandal, and murder.

The problem with casting Rosalind is she’s a tall woman with an hourglass figure, which, as we know, is not a popular look with Hollywood casting directors. Come to that, it wasn’t a popular look in Rosalind’s own time. It turns out this thing we do where we judge women by how well they fit the current clothing fashions, or compare to popular celebrities, is not new. But anyway. I think here I’d have to time-travel again and say who I’d really like in the part would be either Kate Winslet, from about the time she was doing Sense & Sensibility, or her co-star, Emma Thompson, from about the time she was playing Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.

Lights, camera, action!
Visit Darcie Wilde's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

L.C. Shaw's "The Network"

L.C. Shaw is the pen name of internationally bestselling author Lynne Constantine who also writes psychological thrillers with her sister as Liv Constantine. Her family wonder if she is actually a spy, and never knows what to call her. She has explored coral reefs all over the world, sunken wrecks in the South Pacific, and fallen in love with angelfish in the Caribbean. Constantine is a former marketing executive and has a Master’s in Business from Johns Hopkins University. When editing her work, she loves to procrastinate by spending time on social media, and when stuck on a plot twist has been known to run ideas by her Silver Labrador and Golden Retriever who wish she would stop working and play ball with them. Her work has been translated into 27 languages and is available in over 31 countries.

Here Shaw dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The Network:
If The Network is made into a movie, I’d love to see Charlie Hunnam cast as Jack. The first time I watched Sons of Anarchy, I thought, that’s Jack Logan. He looks like what I imagine Jack to look like and I think he would capture Jack’s personality.

Natalie Portman would be the perfect Taylor Phillips. I admire her versatility and talent and think she would make Taylor really come alive on the screen.

Damon Crosse is the most enigmatic character in the book, and requires an actor with a strong presence. Al Pacino is my dream Damon. He has the range and the charisma to make Damon Crosse a villain viewers would love to hate.
Visit L. C. Shaw's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Lynne Constantine & Greyson.

Writers Read: L.C. Shaw.

The Page 69 Test: The Network.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 20, 2019

Lisa Preston's "Dead Blow"

Lisa Preston turned to writing after careers as a fire department paramedic and a city police officer. She is the author of the highly acclaimed, best-selling novels, Orchids and Stone and Measure of the Moon and the Horseshoer Mystery Series. She is also the author of several non-fiction books and articles on the care and training of dogs and horses.

Here she shares some thoughts on casting an adaptation of her new novel Dead Blow, the second Horseshoer Mystery:
In struggling to answer the question of which actors I’d like to star in a film based on Dead Blow, I realized my first fail on this came about fifteen years ago. I was running down a trail a few miles into an impromptu ride-and-tie (R&T). Don’t ask. Wait, you asked? Okay, R&T is an obscure sport in which every team is composed of two runner-riders and one horse. The saddle is tricked out to accommodate riders dressed only in running togs, and the bridle includes a lightweight rope to allow the runner-riders to tie the horse to a handy tree. At the start, the rider is faster, thus gets ahead of the running teammate. Maybe a mile out, the rider ties the horse and runs solo down the course. When the back runner gets to the horse, she unties, hops on and rides ahead then ties the horse up where it waits for the partner runner-rider. All the way to the finish line, we leapfrog each other with the horse.

Yes, R&T is a real thing, and the fastest way to move two people with one horse.

During a race, you spend more time with competitors than your teammate. So, there I was running alongside a sixteen-year-old who was part of another team, gabbing about the sport, explaining that in the early days, Robert Redford had entered a R&T.

“Who?” she asked.

“Robert Redford.”

Blank look.

At the time, I was around forty and suddenly felt old in the face of the pop culture gap between me and the girl. Now I’m fifty-five and couldn’t identify by name any two actors in their twenties, couldn’t pick ’em out of a line-up.

When writing The Clincher, (the first novel in the series), I had in mind the young Reese Witherspoon’s rendition of the pre-teen country girl in The Man in the Moon as I imagined Rainy ten years younger, struggling through some tough childhood times. But I never had a twenty-something in mind for the barely adult Rainy as she faces a day-to-day life of shoeing horses, finding her place in the world, and solving a murder or two along the way.

Rainy affects a cowboy twang, which her partner and readers come to see stems not a little from reaction to her uprooted childhood. She admires, adopts, and revels in being country. Who can impersonate that different way rural folk talk, and more than that, what actors can carry themselves like cowboys?

Actually, any good actor. Watch the movie Loving and appreciate the Australian actor Joel Edgerton’s portrayal of the wonderful redneck Richard Loving. Edgerton doesn’t carry himself that way, speak that way, or even eye another cast member in that manner except when he portrayed the role of Richard Loving. Watch Ledger and Gyllenhaal in the adaptation of Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain, but watch the supporting roles too, watch the country wives—Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway. I’ll write books and trust the pros to accomplish good casting, directing, and acting.

When my publisher (Skyhorse) released The Clincher as an audiobook, the actress Megan Tusing voiced the entire novel. She adopted an accent, did a great job, and is young enough to play Rainy Dale, the 23-year-old series heroine. Can Tusing ride or beat a horseshoe on an anvil? I don’t know, but Rami Malek couldn’t sing or dance before he trained to play Freddie Mercury, and Malek knocked it out of the park. Megan Tusing could certainly train enough as a shoer and rider to do a wonderful job in acting the role of Rainy Dale.
Visit Lisa Preston's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Kylie Brant's "Down the Darkest Road"

Kylie Brant is the author of more than forty novels, including Cold Dark Places in the Cady Maddix series, the Circle of Evil Trilogy, and the stand-alone novels Pretty Girls Dancing and Deep as the Dead. A three-time RITA Award nominee, five-time RT Award finalist, and two-time Daphne du Maurier Award winner, Brant is a member of the Romance Writers of America, including its Kiss of Death mystery and suspense chapter; Novelists, Inc.; and the International Thriller Writers. Her books have been published in thirty-four countries and have been translated into eighteen languages.

Here Brant dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Down the Darkest Road:
I recently attended a screen-writing workshop in Vancouver where I learned the difference between concepts suited to movies vs TV. Strong female leads flourish in television and series, I was told, so the small screen is where Down the Darkest Road would fit. While I usually have difficulty visualizing actors to play the parts in my books, I looked up actresses with strawberry-blonde hair and there was Cady Maddix. Well, sure, she goes by the name of Rachel McAdams, but she’d be perfect for my formidable, commitment-phobe US Deputy Marshal. Cady has a dark and damaged past, in some ways reminiscent of McAdams’s tough cop, Ani Bezzerides, on True Detective Season 2. Both are survivors, and their personal journey is fascinating.

Fifteen-year-old Dylan Castle is also a main character in the book. He brings to mind Ethan Andrew Casto. The actor always manages to look tragic in his roles, and that’s how I picture Dylan. Haunted by a past he can’t quite remember and hunted by a killer he can’t forget, Dylan epitomizes tragedy.

Tom Hardy is arguably Hollywood’s best bad guy and his performances as Alfie Solomon in Peaky Blinders and John Fitzgerald in The Revenant are both chilling in their casual brutality. That trait characterizes Bruce Forrester in the story. Without a moral code, he seeks to satisfy his own needs first, with a careless disregard for whoever gets in his way.
Visit Kylie Brant's website.

The Page 69 Test: Down the Darkest Road.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 16, 2019

Miles Cameron's "Bright Steel"

Miles Cameron is a full time writer who lives in Canada with his family. He also writes historical fiction under the name Christian Cameron.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of the newly released Bright Steel and the other books of the Masters and Mages series:
Perhaps I’m an outlier, but I don’t usually imagine movie actors in the roles of my books; I usually picture people I know. For the Masters and Mages series, however, I’m delighted to start casting, the more so as I tried to write the books to be movies in terms of plot movement and action…

The first character I cast (because I saw him in my head as soon as I started writing) is a minor character known only as Harlequin in the first novel. Later, this mercurial, imposing mage turns out to be one of the pivotal characters in the whole over plot. As the character is one of the most powerful mages in my world and hales from my Africa-analog, I always imagined that Lira-Qna as Idris Elba.

Dahlia Tarkos is one of the protagonists; she’s an aristocrat, a swordsperson of exceptional skill, and a potent magos, a woman with natural authority and charisma. My choice for the role is Jade Eshete; if she had blonde hair and a sword she’d be the very image (Byzas aristocrats often have dark complexions and light hair.)

Myr Alicia Benvenutu is the Master of Arts, the most powerful mage and the head of an Academia of magick in a city that combines ancient Constantinople with Venice and Istanbul. My choice to play her is Shohreh Aghdashloo who I encountered in the brilliant TV adventure, The Expanse.

Aranthur Timos is the main character, the farmboy turned hero in a time of immense change. My choice to play him (a 19 year old) is Andrew Rotilio, another actor from the Sci-Fi hit The Expanse.

Aranthur’s eventual partner, who is a thousand-year-old alien entity trapped in a dead woman’s body by the supposedly good necromancers who are Aranthur’s allies, should be played by Frankie Adams.

Prince Ansu is an ally from distant Zhou, another expert swordsman and magos. To play Prince Ansu, I’d really like the Canadian actor Simu Liu.

General Tremaine is the Emperor’s cousin; another potent swordswoman, she is a middle-aged military commander trying to deal with insurmountable odds. For that role I’d like to see Lena Headey (Circe Lannister from Game of Thrones).

And finally, the master spy of my very complex plot is Tiy Drako, a swashbuckling rogue who is also a patient hunter, and for that role, I’d like to have Timothy Olyphant from Deadwood and Justified.

Hope you enjoyed my visualizations; someone please sell it to Hollywood, or at least Netflix. Oh, by the way, all the actors need some serious fight coaching. Can I be my own fight master?
Visit Miles Cameron's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Jacqueline Firkins's "Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things"

Jacqueline Firkins is a writer, costume designer, and lover of beautiful things. She's on the fulltime faculty in the Department of Theatre & Film at the University of British Columbia. When not obsessing about where to put the buttons or the commas, she can be found running by the ocean, eating excessive amounts of gluten, listening to earnest love songs, and pretending her dog understands every word she says.

Here Firkins dreamcasts an adaptation of her new YA rom-com, Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things, a modern retelling of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park:
I work in film and theatre as a prof and designer. I loosely based the appearances of my teenage characters on some of the acting students I was working with while I wrote the first draft. However, if a movie was made, I know star power would hold weight. So for my central trio, I’d propose the following:

-Edie Price: Millie Bobby Brown. As seen in Stranger Things, she’s brilliant at conveying a lot with silence, which works well for a character who likes to observe others. She can be angry but vulnerable at the same time. Strong but self-doubting. She does complicated well.

-Sebastian Summers: Asa Butterfield. He nails adorably awkward, sensitive, earnest, and self-deprecating. He’s the guy you can’t help but root for, no matter what role he plays. And he has amazing blue eyes that can fill a frame.

-Henry Crawford: Jacob Artist. He’s good at playing sensitive guys, but I think he can pull off a bad boy, too. He’s drop-dead gorgeous and he does a great job emitting rock-solid confidence. He’d give Henry emotional complexity.

While it may be type casting, I have two dream directors. One is Amy Heckerling, who adapted Austen’s Emma into the incomparable Clueless. She gets the sweetness of love without shying away from sexuality or the embarrassments we undergo when we're figuring ourselves out. The other director would be Patricia Rozema, who did such an amazing job adapting Mansfield Park for the screen within its period setting. Both directors know how to merge Austen’s wit and social scrutiny with big mushy feelings and a contemporary sensibility.

And of course, I’d want to design the costumes.
Visit Jacqueline Firkins's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Jacqueline Firkins & Ffiona.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Ronni Davis's "When the Stars Lead to You"

Ronni Davis grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where she tried her best to fit in—and failed miserably. After graduating from The Ohio State University with a BA in Psychology, she worked in insurance, taught yoga, and became a cat mom.

Now she lives in Chicago with her husband Adam and her son Aidan. By day she copy edits everything from TV commercials to billboards, and by night she writes contemporary teen novels about brown girls falling in love. When she’s not writing, you can catch her playing the Sims, eating too much candy, or planning her next trip to Disney World.

Here Davis dreamcasts an adaptation of her debut novel, When the Stars Lead to You:
If they When the Stars Lead to You into a film, here’s who I'd like to play the lead role(s).

Of course, this depends on timing. It takes so long for these things to come to fruition, if at all, and because my book stars teenagers who grow up really fast, I know that true casting would be super tricky, simply because teens change so much.

But I’d want Chloe Coleman to play Devon. Chloe just turned ten years old, so again, timing, but she has the exact skin color and precociousness I see in Devon. Also, her hair is magnificent and exactly what I pictured when I was writing the book.

The actual person I pictured when I was writing the book is a model named Rose Bertram. I’ve been following Rose’s career for many years now and she’s one of my favorite models ever. Of course, Devon had to be based on her.

As for Ashton… well, he was based quite a lot on the actor Theo James, who is obviously way too old to play an 18-year old. So, I’d likely want to do a casting call and get an unknown for that role, but one who is similar to Theo. (For reference, here is the Theo James I had in mind when I was writing the story.)

Both of my fan casts are the wrong ages and way too far apart in age, but maybe the stars will align and I will be able to find lead actors who will fit the bill! I can dream about it, anyway.
Visit Ronni Davis's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 8, 2019

A. R. Moxon's "The Revisionaries"

A. R. Moxon is a writer who runs the popular twitter handle @JuliusGoat. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Here the author shares his vision for an adaptation of his new novel, The Revisionaries:
When I think of movie I tend to think of directors, not actors—in fact, a movie by a director I admire with unknown or little-known actors can frequently provide an experience a more familiar face, due solely to familiarity, can’t deliver. So, I’m going to make some perhaps unorthodox choices by focusing on “casting” not only on director, but a filmic style. The movie of my dreams based on The Revisionaries would be directed by Richard Linklater, made in the mode of his movies Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly—both of which (see them if you haven’t) utilize an advanced rotoscoping method to create a dreamlike sense of highly naturalistic performance other animation styles can't capture, coupled with a constant dreamlike sense of shift and flow well-suited to my book’s shifting viewpoints, perspectives, and realities, utilizing an artistic style that match the book’s own themes and motifs like none other I can imagine. Linklater’s own style, which I’d describe as laconically cerebral, also seems a nice fit for the strangeness to come—in which a man might believably turn to a pile of salt, or to sandals, in which a circus might hide a cult, or vice versa, in which a scratch-off lottery ticket might be more than it seems…

Once I have Richard Linklater and the rotoscoping, the rest will fall nicely into place. Perhaps Linklater could attach a big name as our hero, the anti-orthodox street priest Father Julius, who could draw studio dollars and audience interest (I think Jeff Bridges would make a good pick), and then fill the ranks of the other characters—Bailey, Donk, Boyd, Jane Sim, her daughter Finch, Morris Love and his wicked ancestor Isaac, the stammering loon Tennessee, the mysterious Landrude Marskson, and of course Gordon Shirker, the elusive flickering man of Loony Island—with a diverse cast of talented unknowns. I’d buy popcorn for that movie.
Visit A. R. Moxon's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Kimberly Gabriel's "Every Stolen Breath"

Kimberly Gabriel started writing in fourth grade when she wrote, bound, and gave away books of terrible poetry to family and teachers as holiday gifts. Today she is an English teacher, who still squanders all free minutes to write and uses it as the best scapegoat for her laundry avoidance issues. When she is not teaching or writing, Gabriel is enjoying life with her husband and her three beautiful children in the northern suburbs of Chicago.

Every Stolen Breath is her debut novel and a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection.

Here Gabriel dreamcasts an adaptation of the novel:
When I wrote Every Stolen Breath, the scenes played out in my head in a very cinematic fashion and I pictured actors playing each of these roles. However, because I don’t watch a lot of television, almost all of the actors I had cast would be too old to play my teen characters. Many of my answers include the younger teen version of the actors I listed below.

Lia, my main character: For Lia, I pictured a teen version of Jessica Chastain with whitish blonde hair. While writing, I would often think of Chastain’s portrayal of Maya in Zero Dark Thirty as a smart, serious woman with an unstoppable drive, which is very similar to Lia’s character in Every Stolen Breath. Chloë Grace Moretz might be perfect for Lia.

Ryan, the mysterious boy who may or may not have been responsible for her father’s death: I pictured a younger (more vulnerable) version of Channing Tatum like the Dear John version of Channing Tatum. Because there is so much mystery surrounding Ryan, the actor would need to have both the vulnerable side but also someone who is physically capable of fighting off attackers similar to Theo James’s portrayal of Four in the Divergent series.

Adam, Lia’s unapologetic best friend: Adam looks like Adam Lambert in my mind. Daniel Doheny might be a good fit for him, or the teenage version of Max Greenfield.

Emi Vega, the perhaps unethical reporter: I picture Eva Mendez for Emi.

Lia’s mom: Gwyneth Paltrow would be a perfect fit for Lia’s mom.

Katie, her introverted friend with a flair for art and protesting: Katie was very much based off of a student I had in my classroom. Liu Yifei would play Katie well.

Mayor Henking, Chicago’s smarmy politician: George Clooney.

Richard, the mayor’s right-hand man: Jeremy Piven.
Visit Kimberly Gabriel's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Steve Robinson's "The Penmaker's Wife"

Steve Robinson is a London-based crime writer. He was sixteen when his first magazine article was published and he’s been writing ever since. A love for genealogy inspired his first bestselling series, the Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mysteries, and he is now expanding his writing to historical crime, another area he is passionate about.

Here Robinson dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, The Penmaker's Wife:
I’ve had several social media discussions about this over the years with my earlier books, about who might play the characters if a TV or film adaptation was made. It’s always fun to imagine such things. The main character in The Penmaker’s Wife is a femme fatale called Angelica Chastain. I chose the surname for its French origins because Angelica was born in France, although she moved to England when she was quite young. The person I would choose to play her in the movie, shares the same surname, and perhaps this also helped to guide my choice. The actress is Jessica Chastain. She always seems to exude such confidence in her roles on screen, and is often portrayed as a strong woman who knows exactly what she wants. That’s the kind of character I was looking for when I imagined Angelica.

Another key character in the book is called Effie Wilmington-Reed, whom I see as Angelica’s opposite in many ways — a young and naive ‘English rose’ type of character that I can see someone like Emilia Fox (as she was in Pride and Prejudice) playing. There’s also a rather officious character in The Penmaker’s Wife called Violet Cosgrove, and my inspiration for her was drawn from the 1940 adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. I just couldn’t get the the movie’s opening scenes in Monte Carlo out of my head as I was writing Violet. The character from Rebecca is called Edythe Van Hopper, played by Florence Bates.

For Stanley Hampton, the lead man of the story and the pen maker himself, who quickly becomes besotted with Angelica, I can see Benedict Cumberbatch fitting right in. Minus the pipe and deerstalker from his role in Sherlock of course.

It’s an all-star cast! Anyone got the budget?
Visit Steve Robinson's website and Facebook page.

Writers Read: Steve Robinson.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Declan Burke's "The Lammisters"

Declan Burke is the author of Eightball Boogie (2003), The Big O (2007), Absolute Zero Cool (2011), Slaughter’s Hound (2012), Crime Always Pays (2014), The Lost and the Blind (2014), and The Lammisters (2019). Absolute Zero Cool was shortlisted in the crime fiction section for the Irish Book Awards, and received the Goldsboro Award for Best Humorous Crime Novel in 2012. Eightball Boogie and Slaughter’s Hound were also shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards. Burke is also the editor of Down These Green Streets: Irish Crime Writing in the 21st Century (2011) and Trouble is Our Business (2016), and the co-editor, with John Connolly, of Books to Die For (2013), which won the Anthony Award for Best Non-Fiction Crime. Burke was a UNESCO / Dublin City Council writer-in-residence for 2017-18. He blogs at Crime Always Pays.

Here Burke dreamcasts an adaptation of The Lammisters:
It’s been my experience that when readers like a book, they tend to say, ‘That would make a great movie.’ For some reason, with The Lammisters, people have tended to say that it would make a good play. Maybe that’s because The Lammisters is effectively a behind-the-scenes comedy of what happens when a group of characters, abandoned by their author, are cut loose from their expected story and left to fend for themselves.

The book is set in Prohibition-era Hollywood, and features bootleggers and movie stars from the period; in my mind, Vanessa Hopgood, aka the most shimmering star in Hollywood, bears a strong resemblance to what I imagine the young Norma Desmond – played as a fading star by Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard – would have looked like in the early 1920s. Vanessa’s beau, the Irish-American bootlegger Rusty McGrew, is possessed of a piratical mien and a big bushy head of curly red hair – a craggy, carrot-topped version of Douglas Fairbanks Snr would fit the bill nicely. The movie mogul Samuel L. Silverstein is physically modelled on a more rotund version of the young Louis B. Mayer, while the Anglo-Irish aristocrat Sir Archibald ‘Archie’ l’Estrange-B’stard is described as ‘an exquisitely coopered barrel’ – if you can imagine Wallace Reid with plummy vowels and a pumpkin-shaped head, that’s Archie.

I love caper comedies, and especially those about lammisters, or characters who are on the lam. If the Coen Brothers could be persuaded to reprise the arch style and surreally anarchic tone of O Brother, Where Art Thou?, they’d be perfect to direct The Lammisters.
Learn more about the book and author at Burke's Crime Always Pays blog.

Writers Read: Declan Burke.

--Marshal Zeringue