Monday, May 8, 2023

Andrew Welsh-Huggins's "The End of The Road"

Andrew Welsh-Huggins is the Shamus, Derringer, and International Thriller Writers-award-nominated author of the Andy Hayes Private Eye series, featuring a former Ohio State and Cleveland Browns quarterback turned investigator, and editor of Columbus Noir. His stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Mystery Magazine, the 2022 anthology Paranoia Blues: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Paul Simon, and other magazines and anthologies. Kirkus calls his new crime novel, The End of the Road, "A crackerjack crime yarn chockablock with miscreants and a supersonic pace.”

Here Welsh-Huggins dreamcasts an adaptation of The End of The Road:
My new Ohio-set crime novel, The End of The Road, tells the story of a young woman, Penny, and her solo journey of vengeance after her boyfriend is shot and left for dead. It’s my eighth novel but my first stand-alone after writing seven books about Columbus-based private eye Andy Hayes. The novel loosely uses the structure of Homer’s Odyssey as it weaves together the stories of three main characters—Penny; Pryor, the villain she pursues after her boyfriend, Myles, is shot; and J.P., a sheriff’s deputy who inadvertently finds himself caught up in the action.

The actor I’d tap to play Penny is Kaitlyn Dever. She’s not a household name—yet—but to my mind, she exhibits the perfect world-weary demeanor and inner strength needed to play Penny, a single mom who’s struggled to make it while Myles was in prison and will now do pretty much anything to eliminate Pryor once and for all. I first saw Dever in the FX series Justified, where she played tough-as-nails teenager Loretta McCready, a girl informally adopted by Kentucky crime boss Mags Bennett (Margo Martindale), after Bennett poisoned McCready’s father. Dever has also had roles in the movies Booksmart and Dear Evan Hansen, and a smaller part in Dopesick, the HBO series about the history of the opioid epidemic.

For Pryor, a vicious, one-eyed thug (my nod to the Odyssean cyclops, Polyphemus), I’d love to see Aaron Paul in the role. Most people know him for his work as Jesse Pinkman, the crystal meth dealer and cooker in the AMC series Breaking Bad and that series’ satisfying movie sequel, El Camino, along with cameos in the Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul. As Pinkman, Paul exuded a spot-on combination of unhinged behavior, struggle with personal demons, and aptitude for revenge, all qualities needed to play Pryor.

J.P., the sheriff’s deputy who unintentionally unites with Penny in her quest, is a shy, introspective man battling a lack of self-confidence as mourns the death of his father, the former sheriff, whose loss has the division spinning out of control. For this role, I’d opt for Harvey Guillen, probably best known for playing a human familiar to a trio of bumbling vampires on the Hulu comedy What We Do in The Shadows. In that show, Guillen’s character, Guillermo de La Cruz, faces (and rises above) crises of confidence that similarly plague the deputy. Guillen’s character also possesses some of the same qualities—fatalism tempered by a quiet sense of rectitude—that ultimately help J.P. overcome the obstacles in his personal and professional life.
Visit Andrew Welsh-Huggins's website.

My Book, The Movie: An Empty Grave.

Q&A with Andrew Welsh-Huggins.

The Page 69 Test: An Empty Grave.

Writers Read: Andrew Welsh-Huggins.

--Marshal Zeringue