Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Tracy Clark's "What You Don’t See"

Tracy Clark is a native Chicagoan who writes mysteries set in her hometown while working as an editor in the newspaper industry. She is a graduate of Mundelein College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, and the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she earned her MA.

Since reading her first Nancy Drew mystery, Clark has dreamed of crafting mysteries of her own, mysteries that feature strong, intelligent, independent female characters, and those who share their world. Cass Raines, ex-cop turned intrepid PI, is such a character.

Here Clark shares some thoughts on the cast of an adaptation of her latest novel, What You Don’t See:
What You Don’t See is book three in the Cass Raines Chicago Mystery series. In this story, the protagonist, Cassandra Raines, an ex-homicide cop with the Chicago Police Department turned hard-driving PI, is tasked with protecting an arrogant, high-handed magazine publisher named Vonda Allen, who is being terrorized by someone who wants her dead. Cass’s simple personal protection detail, however, quickly turns deadly when Vonda’s staffers begin turning up dead, Cass is confronted with personal tragedy, and the killer shows no signs of letting up. Cass must then figure out what Vonda is hiding from her past, avenge an attack on someone she holds dear, and chase down a vengeful killer before another innocent person dies.

I wasn’t thinking about movie adaptations or casting while I was writing this book and didn’t while writing any of the others. Crime fiction is my bubble, my sweet spot. I pretty much stick to the words on the page, the characters and their individual arcs, that sort of thing. I have no idea how Cass would play on the big or small screen.

Cass has a strong, distinctive voice and worldview and very much conforms to the conventional PI archetype, with updated exceptions. She’s independent almost to a fault, brash, extroverted, snarky, brave, intrepid, often foolhardy. She’s extremely loyal to the makeshift family she’s cobbled together for herself, but intensely private and self-contained. She is part champion of the underdog, part flawed reluctant hero, part mess. She’s described in one of the books as rough and spiney on the outside, but sweet and vulnerable inside, like a pineapple.

I’ve no idea who could play her, right off the top of my head, I’m thinking of actresses like Paula Patton or Naomie Harris, but if it ever comes to the adaptation stage, I wish whoever might one day get the task of casting all the luck in the world.

As for directors, I can just go with one I like a lot, Kathryn Bigelow. My favorite film of hers is 1990’s Blue Steel, starring Jamie Lee Curtis. It wasn’t a hit, but the gritty realism the film highlighted really stuck with me. I wouldn’t mind it one bit if one of my books got the Blue Steel treatment.
Visit Tracy Clark's website.

Q&A with Tracy Clark.

--Marshal Zeringue