Picture This: 6 Crime Fiction Novels Meant for the Movies
By Cathi StolerOctober 17, 2018
For crime fiction writer Cathi Stoler, visualizing a scene before she writes it, is crucial. So it’s no wonder that when she’s reading a novel, it’s easy for her to see it playing out, scene by scene just like a movie. Check out what crime fiction novels she thinks would make interesting films and comment below for your chance to win a copy of her new novel, Bar None!
If you’re like me, reading good crime fiction conjures up all sorts of images. The sound and feel of a bullet spiraling out of the gun and hitting its mark can make you wince. The sight of the detective discovering the one clue that solves the case draws you right into the “ah ha” moment. That’s what happens when stories paint a picture with images that come to life. Some books have what it takes to do this. The ones below have all that plus twisty plots and captivating characters. They’re my choices for novels I’d love to see on the big screen or even the small one:
She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper
In this fast-paced, catch-your-breath thriller, Nate McClusky, former prison inmate, is now a target of the Ayran Steel gang. He knows they’ll not only kill him but also his whole family to get revenge for the murder of one of their own. They’ve already gotten to Nate’s ex-wife when he picks up his daughter, 11-year-old Polly, from school and goes on the run. No matter that she hasn’t seen him for years since he was sent to prison, her life is in hands now. As they evade the bad guys, Polly slowly changes, and we see that she’ll never be the same. Dark and dangerous, this page-turner and unique coming-of-age novel has the bones to become a modern-day film noir.
The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker
Serial killers have always made for interesting reading, and this story would also make for a heart-pounding, suspense-filled film—especially since the serial killer that Detective Sam Porter is chasing is dead and time is running out for his last victim, who’s still alive. The Four Monkey Killer—also known as 4MK—delivers a series of gruesome messages to the victims’ families before he kills them. Will the killer strike again even from the grave, or will Sam find the victim before it’s too late? With gory clues that keep turning up, this story has a visceral thread that makes it scary as hell, with enough suspense to keep you in your multi-plex recliner seat right to the end.
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
This bestselling novel with a story-within-the-story turns a classic whodunit into a fresh thriller that would definitely keep you glued to the screen. Editor Susan Ryeland has worked with crime author Alan Conway for years. Writing bestseller after bestseller, his fictional detective, Atticus Pund, always solves the case. But something is off with his latest novel, and Susan suspects there’s another story of jealousy and murder hidden within. Get a big bucket of popcorn. You’re going to need it.
Wicked River by Jenny Milchman
The beautiful Adirondack Mountains are the setting for this spine-chilling thriller and the perfect backdrop for a suspense-filled movie. When newlyweds Natalie and Doug Larson decide to spend their honeymoon on a hiking adventure in the backwoods, all does not go according to plan. They soon realize they are not alone. As they get deeper and deeper into the woods, a man watches their every move. Little by little, their adventure turns into a nightmare that tests their love—one they may not escape. I get chills just thinking about how exciting a film adaptation of this story would be.
If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin
Social media can be a killer, as you’ll see in this riveting thriller that’s also a tale of family secrets and deceit, all wrapped up in the small Hudson Valley town of Havenkill. When one boy is injured in a hit-and-run and another is charged with the crime, one is hailed as a hero and the other a murderer. The town erupts. Social media chats cause total chaos, and each character has his or her reasons for concealing the truth. Told from different points of view—think Gone Girl with Mean Girls gossip on steroids—it’s high drama in a small town that could play big at the movies.
Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton
Anyone who’s ever met Sue Grafton, or heard her speak, knows she never wanted any of her books to be turned into movies. I absolutely respect her wishes, but somewhere inside, I’ve always believed that Kinsey Milhone—with her quirks, pre-high-tech methods of detection, and wash-and-wear little black dress—would come alive onscreen. Alas, it’s not to be.
Of course, I’d love Bar None, with The Corner Lounge owner, Jude Dillane, to become a movie. I’ll even bring her signature drink, The Jalapeño Envy, if you bring the popcorn.
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