Monday, July 31, 2023

John Milas's "The Militia House"

John Milas is the author of the new novel The Militia House. He enlisted in the US Marine Corps at age nineteen and subsequently deployed to the Helmand Province of Afghanistan in support of OEF 10.1. He was honorably discharged from active service in 2012.

After his discharge, Milas earned both his BA and MFA in creative writing. As a student, he studied with writers such as Marianne Boruch, Roxane Gay, Brian Leung, Robert Lopez, Terese Marie Mailhot, Julie Price Pinkerton, Donald Platt, Sharon Solwitz, and others.

Here Milas dreamcasts an adaptation of The Militia House:
My debut novel follows a small team of US Marines deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. The characters are already exhausted by their jobs, weary of each other, and disillusioned by the course of the War in Afghanistan when their routines are interrupted by a haunted house near their current duty station in the Helmand Province. Imagine John Cena acting in The Marine. Now imagine the opposite of that, in addition to ensuring that all of the actors are younger than what we're used to seeing in war films and you're approaching what would be more realistic for an adaptation of my book. We can cast some celebrities, but please no pro wrestlers.

I see a young Peter Sarsgaard as Corporal Loyette after his role in Jarhead, but here he would need to play it cold and bitter and he would need to be younger than he was in Jarhead.

For Blount I envision Dustin Diamond as Screech in a USMC uniform, shaved head and southern accent included.

When I wrote Johnson, I saw Denzel Washington as Peterson from A Soldier's Story, but quiet and seething rather than explosive. However, as Washington was in his late twenties for said role, he would still need to be several years younger for The Militia House.

Jason Isaacs from Black Hawk Down would be perfect for Staff Sergeant Rynker. All he needs to do is take one look at you and you know you're screwed.

I'll finally go with someone current in selecting Erica Hernandez from True Lies (the series) as the lieutenant, but if we stick with fantasy casting then a young Michelle Rodriguez for sure.

I hope these actors don't see this and think I'm implying that they're all old now!

As a bonus, Rob Riggle would obviously have to play the crazed artillery captain as a former Marine Corps officer himself, but with the arrogant, hilarious energy from his role in Step Brothers. I think comedy actors performing in horror films is an interesting way to get viewers off balance from the start.

I'm sure everyone out there wants this guy to direct their horror novel adaptation right now, but I'd go with Ari Aster for sure. His films have been original scripts so far, but I'd be confident in letting him go in his own direction with an adaptation of my book. I know he would at least get the ending right.
Visit John Milas's website.

Q&A with John Milas.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Lisa Black's "What Harms You"

Lisa Black is the New York Times bestselling author of the Gardiner and Renner Novels and the Locard Institute Thrillers featuring Dr. Ellie Carr and Dr. Rachael Davies. As a forensic scientist at the Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office, she analyzed gunshot residue on hands and clothing, hairs, fibers, paint, glass, DNA, blood and many other forms of trace evidence, as well as crime scenes. Now she is a latent print examiner and certified crime analyst for the Cape Coral Police Department in Florida, working mostly with fingerprints and crime scenes. She is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, the International Association for Identification, and the International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts, and has testified in court as an expert witness over 65 times. Her books have been translated into six languages and she was named finalist for the prestigious Sue Grafton Memorial Award for Perish.

Here Black dreamcasts the latest Locard Institute thriller, What Harms You:
Dr. Ellie Carr’s first day at the prestigious Locard forensic institute isn’t going so well. Her keycard won’t let her into the imposing brick building, her snooty predecessor hasn’t bothered to clean out the office Ellie is to occupy, and then the woman turns up dead in a supply closet. Ellie’s new boss Rachael shares her concerns about the death—it doesn’t quite seem like an accident. But the institute, along with research and private cases, conducts training classes on forensic topics for those in the law enforcement community. When there’s another death and it’s clearly not an accident, the women realize their suspect pool consists of cops, death investigators and CSIs. Who else, should they choose to, would make the most successful serial killer?

Former pathologist Dr. Rachael Davies is thirty-eight, divorced, and raising her late sister’s toddler son. She’s given ten years of her life to build the Locard into what she loves it has become. My choice for her part would be Gabrielle Union—older than the role but looks too young for it, and way more beautiful than one would expect a scientist to be. But I think she’d be perfect for the intriguing and brilliant Rachael.

Ellie Carr, also a doctor (of forensics), left the FBI to follow her passion for CSI work. Orphaned at four, she grew up in a succession of relatives’ homes among her large, extremely loving extended family. It left her by turns securely happy but at the same time, searching for her place. She really wants the Locard to be her forever home, but that might be difficult when her arrival seems to kick off a murder spree. Casting her is a tough choice…smart and beautiful, but emotionally a bit clueless, lighthearted without being fluffy. I would love Tatiana Maslany.

As for my FBI agents, Michael Tyler would ideally be filled by the man I’ve pictured every time I’ve turned him into a character for the past thirty years: Michael Ironside. We’d have to turn the clock back thirty years to make him right for the role, but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.

As long as I’m reaching for the stars, I’d love John Leguizamo for agent Luis Alvarez. He has the right combination of strength and humor needed to balance Michael’s seriousness.

And as for the genius, intimidating, icy-cool digital forensics whiz Agnes, let’s get Anya Taylor-Joy. No one can do that preternaturally still, scarily piercing, ‘cut right through you and you can’t even guess why’ stare.

The most fun character in the story, the lively, ambitious, ravenous-to-learn Farida is studying with the radical ambition to become a female CSI in her native Saudi Arabia. I’d love the amazing Karen David, born in India, coy about her age, and star of the super-fun, and hilarious series Galavant. And, though the role doesn’t call for it, she can sing! And dance!

With this cast and a murderer who knows exactly how to win this violent battle, What Harms You the movie can’t miss!
Learn more about the book and author at Lisa Black's website.

My Book, The Movie: Unpunished.

My Book, The Movie: Perish.

Q&A with Lisa Black.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 24, 2023

Bruce Borgos's "The Bitter Past"

Bruce Borgos lives and writes from the Nevada desert where he works hard every day to prove his high school guidance counselor had good instincts when he said “You’ll never be an astronaut.” He has a degree in political science which mostly served to dissuade him from a career in law while at the same time tormenting his wife with endless questions about how telephones work. When not writing, you can usually find him at the local wine store.

Here Borgos dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, The Bitter Past:
I think there are several actors who I think would do a great job in the lead role of Sheriff Porter Beck. I say that because I purposely did not include a description of him in the book that would tell a reader exactly what he looks like. I tried to leave at least a little of that to the imagination. We all know what Jack Reacher or Walt Longmire looks like from reading those wonderful pages by Lee Child and Craig Johnson. The actor I pictured most of the time was Chris Pratt. He's the right age and has the same quick wit as Porter Beck. But there's Ryan Reynolds, too, who would be a good fit. Jeremy Renner could do it. He lives here in Nevada, and he was great in Wind River. He has the grit and the humor. And here's a pick out of left field: Jason Bateman. I don't think he's ever played a rural cop, though he did a terrific job playing an FBI agent in The Kingdom, and he's not a superman. Neither is Porter Beck.

As far as directors go, I would want one that had a great love for the west and who knew how to shoot in the wild. Taylor Sheridan, who directed Wind River, certainly would work. But Robert Redford and Clint Eastwood would be strong candidates (if I were picking. Jason Bateman could do both the lead role and act as director. Ozark was so good!

It's not easy getting your novel on the big screen (or even the small screen), so if it were to happen with The Bitter Past, it would be a real surprise and pleasure to see. I've had lots of early reviews on the book that said it needs to be a movie or TV series, and hopefully the folks we'll get some opportunities to make that kind of deal happen. As the next books in the series hit the shelves, this may become more of a possibility. We'll see!
Visit Bruce Borgos's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Bitter Past.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Simon Toyne's "The Clearing"

Simon Toyne is the author of the internationally bestselling Sanctus trilogy (Sanctus, The Key, and The Tower), The Searcher, The Boy Who Saw, and Dark Objects, and has worked in British television for more than twenty years. As a writer, director and producer he’s made several award-winning shows, one of which won a BAFTA. He lives in England with his wife and family, where he is permanently at work on his next novel.

Here Toyne dreamcasts an adaptation of The Clearing, his second suspense novel featuring forensic expert Laughton Rees:
I kind of think of myself as a failed movie director and whenever I write a book I’m always effectively making the movie in my head then transcribing the action into book form.

With The Clearing, I already had some of the cast as it’s a follow up to my last book, Dark Objects, which also features Dr. Laughton Rees, a young, brilliant academic with a teenage daughter and OCD. DCI Tannahill Khan, half-Irish, half-Pakistani, an outsider within the traditionally predominantly white institution of the London Metropolitan.

Laughton is very much in the mould of Clarice Starling, smart, brave, feisty, a small woman but with a big person’s energy. Laughton is also the smartest person in the room but is often underestimated, particularly by men, because she’s young, pretty and small. She’s also based on my oldest daughter Roxy, who is all of these things too, but to play her on screen I always saw her as Vanessa Kirby, who was amazing as the young Princess Margaret in The Crown and heart breaking in Pieces of a Woman. She’s also about to star as Josephine opposite Joaqhin Phoenix in Ridley Scott’s Napoleon.

For Tannahill I would go for Riz Ahmed, who was amazing in Sound of Metal and is great in everything he does. He’s also Anglo-Pakistani so has the right mixed heritage and experience - and he’s really handsome, which is important for all kinds of reasons.

Laughton and Tannahill work together on the central mysteries of each book and are also very attracted to each other, which adds an extra frisson to the regular thrills. So, if it’s a Vanessa Kirby/Riz Ahmed double hander, I’d definitely watch the hell out of that!
Learn more about the book and author at Simon Toyne's website, Facebook pageTwitter perch, and Instagram page.

My Book, The Movie: Sanctus.

My Book, The Movie: The Tower.

My Book, The Movie: The Searcher.

The Page 69 Test: The Clearing.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Elizabeth L. Silver's "The Majority"

Elizabeth L Silver is the author of the new novel, The Majority, as well as the memoir, The Tincture of Time: A Memoir of (Medical) Uncertainty, and the novel, The Execution of Noa P. Singleton. Her work has been called “fantastic” by the Washington Post and “masterful” by The Wall Street Journal, has been published in seven languages, and optioned for film. The Execution of Noa P. Singleton was an Amazon Best Book of the Year, the Amazon Best Debut of the Month, a Kirkus Best Book of the Summer, Kansas City Star Best Book of the Year, and selection for the Target Emerging Author Series. The Tincture of Time was featured on PBS and NPR, and was an O Magazine/Oprah’s “Ten Books to Pick up Now."

Here Silver dreamcasts an adaptation of The Majority:
If The Majority is adapted, I see it as a series or mini-series because it is a fictional memoir and covers the life of one woman’s rise to power over the 1940s, 60s, 70s, and 80s, as she fights to become the first woman on the United States Supreme Court.

That said, because the book does follow Sylvia from age 12 to 50, with an 80-something-year-old framing the book in retrospect, there could be multiple actresses taking on the role. A young teenager for “Young Sylvia” and then a different actress in her 30s to play Sylvia in her 20s, 30s, and late 40s with the magic of makeup.

My dream Sylvia Olin Bernstein would be Carey Mulligan, who I think not only looks the part, but also sparkles with a sense of quiet intelligence, providence, strength that I respect in literally every project she’s ever done. If they film it as a retrospective with the 80-something year old Sylvia looking back, Queen Jane Fonda is picture perfect for it in every way.

My dream Linda Loving is Kerry Washington. Full stop. No questions asked. She is Linda incarnate. Stunningly gorgeous, brilliant, magnetic perfection.

Mariana Olinovsky is Rachel Weisz in every way. Like Linda’s casting, she is perfect to portray the nuance, influence, and internal turmoil of this Holocaust surviving mother figure.

Joe Bernstein, Sylvia’s husband, could be played by Daniel Radcliffe. I can see him as the loving, bright, and somewhat goofy nice Jewish boy-turned-lawyer, who falls head over heels in love with Sylvia, and tries as he might to be a role model for equity and equality.

James Macklowe could be played by Matt Damon, the “Harvard man” of a certain generation, who believes in his worth, and yet his presumption comes across with a painful sense of entitlement.
Learn more about the book and author at Elizabeth L. Silver's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Execution of Noa P. Singleton.

The Page 69 Test: The Majority.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 14, 2023

Stephen Kiernan's "The Glass Château"

As a journalist and novelist, Stephen P. Kiernan has published nearly five million words. His newspaper work garnered dozens of awards — including the George Polk Award for medical reporting, the Scripps Howard National Journalism Award, and the Freedom of Information Award from the Joseph Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida.

Stephen’s newest novel is The Glass Chateau. He is also author of the novels Universe of Two, The Curiosity (now in television series development), The Baker's Secret (a regional bestseller), and The Hummingbird. He has also written two nonfiction books, Last Rights and Authentic Patriotism. His work has been translated into many languages.

Here Kiernan dreamcasts an adaptation of The Glass Chateau:
The main character in The Glass Chateau is a broken man with a huge heart and some hidden creative gifts. He saw his family killed by Nazi soldiers. As a result he became an assassin for the French Resistance. So he is both grieving and guilt-ridden, and he keeps those emotions buried -- most of the time.

The right male lead is known for playing a similar character, Jon Snow in Game of Thrones. Kit Harrington would make an excellent Asher Green.

Asher's wife, beautiful and graceful and doomed, simply must be Mila Kunis. When she dies, everyone in the theater must feel it.

The female lead is Marie, who grows flowers and vegetables that she delivers by donkey-drawn cart. But she is also a fighter and a survivor, who cares deeply about the future of her country. She is passionate but reserved, sharing information with her fellow townspeople but guarded when it comes to love. Rooney Mara, who showed such powerful self-possession in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, would be ideal.

I'm only half-joking when I say that the chateau in my novel should be played by the Chateau d'Orquevaux [image. left], home to an artists' colony where I wrote about a third of this book. A gorgeous restored masterpiece, this was the setting I had in mind from the moment I arrived.
Learn more about the book and author at Stephen Kiernan's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Curiosity.

My Book, The Movie: The Baker's Secret.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Kevin Sites's "The Ocean Above Me"

Kevin Sites is an award-winning journalist and author. He has worked as a reporter for more than thirty years, half of that covering war and disaster for ABC, NBC, CNN, Yahoo News, and Vice News. He was a 2010 Nieman Journalism Fellow at Harvard University and a 2012 Dart Fellow in Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University. For a decade he lived and taught in Hong Kong as an associate professor of practice in journalism at the University of Hong Kong. He’s the author of three books on war, In the Hot Zone, The Things They Cannot Say, and Swimming with Warlords. He lives in Oregon.

Here Sites shares his character breakdown sheet for the cast of an adaptation of his new novel, The Ocean Above Me:
Lukas Landon, 46 (Journalist)

Former war correspondent now working in Charleston, SC on a special newspaper series about a black, female shrimping captain and her misfit crew. Everything is about his loss of connection. Divorced. Uses interviews to probe others while remaining enigmatic himself. Has a terrible war secret.

Wishful considerations for the role: Adam Driver or Bo Burnham

Clarita Esteban, 40 (Shrimp Boat Captain)

Former army staff sergeant from Charleston, SC. Drove recovery vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan. Wounded, bronze star and purple heart. Learned shrimping from her daddy, a former Vietnam Vet. Bought a bucket of bolts trawler named Philomena (after patron saint of lost causes). Tries to hold it all together when the odds are clearly against her.

Wishful considerations for the role: Sonequa Martin-Green or Kristen Ariza

Lorenzo (Enzo) Ortiz, 46 (Engineer/First Mate)

Has history with Philomena. Came to America onboard her during the Cuban Mariel boatlift. His wife and childhood sweetheart died of ovarian cancer. No children. Came back to work the Philomena with his troubled, younger cousin Chuy.

Wishful consideration for the role: Oscar Isaac

Floyd (Junior) Swain Jr., 30 (Deckhand)

The only one of the Philomena’s former deckhands who stayed with the ship after Carita Esteban bought it. Hard worker that respects the new captain. But has plenty of inner demons. Father AWOL, mother left when he was child. During his down time whittles wooden sea creatures, but meth makes him moody and sometimes unreliable.

Wishful consideration for the role: Garret Hedlund

Jesus (Chuy)) Ortiz, 28 (Deckhand)

Comes off as prickly and acerbic. Treats the Haitian cook with disrespect and cruelty for unknown reasons. Still, a hard worker trying to do his best despite always being in the shadow of and in debt to his older cousin, the first mate.

Wishful consideration for the role: Michael Mando

Emmanuel Etienne, 35 (Cook)

Haitian immigrant. Only family member to survive a tragic sea crossing to Florida. Preternaturally quiet, preferring to lose himself in a worn, black book notebook he always carries. But while appearing withdrawn he’s deeply aware of everyone and everything that happens on the ship.

Wishful considerations for the role: Jimmy Jean-Louis or Edi Gathegi

Olveda Esteban, 19 (Greenhorn Deckhand)

She’s the captain’s daughter but was mostly raised by her grandmother while Clarita was driving trucks for the army in Iraq and Afghanistan. She was a high school basketball star who lost a scholarship and potential pro career to a torn ACL. Her mother hoped to lessen the distance between them by bringing her onboard as a deckhand. But the gulf of years and disappointment has proven difficult to bridge.

Wishful considerations for the role: Yara Shahidi, Storm Reid or Zendaya
Visit Kevin Sites's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Reed Farrel Coleman's "Sleepless City"

Called a hard-boiled poet by NPR’s Maureen Corrigan and the noir poet laureate in the Huffington Post, Reed Farrel Coleman is the New York Times-bestselling author of over thirty novels—including six in Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone series—short stories, poetry, and essays.

In addition to his acclaimed series characters, Moe Prager and Gus Murphy, he has written the stand-alone novel Gun Church and collaborated with decorated Irish crime writer Ken Bruen on the novel Tower.

Coleman is a four time Edgar Award nominee in three different categories: Best Novel, Best Paperback Original, and Best Short Story. He is a four-time recipient of the Shamus Award for Best PI Novel of the Year. He has also won the Audie, Macavity, Barry, and Anthony Awards.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, Sleepless City:
Sleepless City is my thirty-second published novel and I can say in all honesty that the only ones I ever wrote with a preconception of who might play the role in the movie(s) were my Gulliver Dowd books. In writing him, Gulliver, a PI who is a distinctly handsome little person, I could not help but think of Peter Dinklage. But I never thought of who I might cast as Moe Prager, Gus Murphy, Dylan Klein or any of the protagonists of my stand-alones. The same was true of Nick Ryan, the protagonist of Sleepless City.

However, during the pandemic, suffering from a severe case of reader’s block, I spent a lot of time streaming. I stumbled upon a series called The Last Kingdom, essentially the story of the how the Vikings/Danes played a role in the evolution of England. The lead actor, playing the role of Utred of Bebbanburg, was a German named Alexander Dreymon. I was totally captivated by his presence, his rugged good looks, his abilities at doing his own stunts. And though I had already written both Sleepless City and its sequel Blind to Midnight, I was hooked and thought if I ever had a say in it, Dreymon would be my man. In his way, Utred is a kind of Mediaeval Nick Ryan.

Oddly, the Nick I wrote in the books wouldn’t actually resemble Alexander at all. He would, I suppose, bear a much closer resemblance to a taller Daniel Craig. But Dreymon’s screen presence is so powerful that I find the disparity unimportant. He also speaks perfect English and have no doubt he could do a Brooklyn accent (Nick’s from Bay Ridge). As his ex, Shana, I would cast Mila Kunis. As his friend Lenny, I’d cast Peter Lorre and as his “handler” Joe, I’d cast Anthony Hopkins.
Visit Reed Farrel Coleman's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Hollow Girl.

The Page 69 Test: Where It Hurts.

The Page 69 Test: What You Break.

--Marshal Zeringue