Joan Aiken (1924-2004) began her writing career with YA fiction as a 16-year-old contributor for the BBC Children's Hour. Indeed, one of her most popular creations was her prize-winning Wolves of Willoughby Chase series for children. She also delved into horror and fantasy (which Todd Mason profiled on a FFB installment a while back). All told, Aiken published over 90 novels for children and adults, 38 story collections, four plays, several picture books and dozens of other short stories, many included in anthologies.
Aiken's efforts at mysteries and suspense novels won her an Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel (Night Fall) in 1972. The same touch of the quirky, whimsical inventiveness in her writing for young people often found its way into her adult crime fiction. She once said, "Stories are like butterflies, which come fluttering out of nowhere, touch down for a brief instant, may be captured, may not, and then vanish into nowhere again."
Trouble with Product X (aka Beware of the Bouquet) dates from 1966 and is one of the author's earlier novels for adults. Product X is a new perfume to be manufactured by a small company aiming to go upmarket. The ad agency hired to handle the promotion is Salmon & Bucknell, including employee Martha Gilroy, who suggests shooting a television commercial in the same remote Cornish castle where she spent her honeymoon—before her husband had a nervous breakdown and left her.
Another bad idea is to use the beautiful young Italian wife of the client as a model, as it soon becomes clear she's at the heart of a conspiracy regarding the origin of Product X. The remote TV shoot soon turns into a parade of nightmares and intrigue, including the kidnapping of a baby; monks who oppose the filming and one particularly mysterious monk who Martha thinks she recognizes; a venomous spider mailed as a "gift"; exploding soup cans; and an assortment of gothic thrills and chills that will please fans of Mary Stewart.
As The Telegraph said in Aiken's obituary, you could usually count on "slightly scatty but independent-minded young women who end up marrying slightly scatty but charming young men. Mysterious, corridor-ridden Gothic houses figure prominently, along with a variety of curses and enchantments. And there is always a strong sense of right and wrong." Although bits of that formula are present in Product X, so too is Aiken's trademark humor:
I spent a moment or two wondering where the devil I was, who the devil I was, in a weak and lackadaisical way...My mind wobbled about like a half-set jelly, full of unrelated fragments: the address of a man I'd meant to write to about detergents before coming down to Cornwall, lines from Twelfth Night, the fact that my library subscription needed renewing, a series of slogans for Bom which I'd been trying to hatch on the way down. 'Whether you're coming or going, mending or mowing, scything or sewing, reading or rowing...you need Bom, the meat'n milk drink, made from pure fresh milk and lean juicy beef. Bom, tiddly, om BOM!' I can't offhand think of any nastier beverage than Bom, but at that moment, I felt hazily that I might even have accepted a cup of the stuff if someone had offered it to me, hot.
Martha tends to muse on Bom promotions while she's in the midst of danger, but ultimately she proves to be an insightful sleuth, even as she fights her feelings for her ex and for a fellow employee who seems to be taking a suspiciously keen interest in the client's beautiful wife. The plot isn't so much a whodunit as a pleasant modern (albeit 1960s) Gothic romp.
The Strand Magazine released its lineup of nominees for the 2015 Strand Magazine Critics Awards:
Best First Novel
Strand managing editor Andrew F. Gulli also announced via The Guardian that Colin Dexter, the creator of Inspector Endeavour Morse, and Jeffery Deaver, the inventor of New York City forensic criminalist Lincoln Rhyme, have been chosen to receive this year’s Strand Critics lifetime achievement awards.
At this past weekend's Crime Fest in the UK, the winners for the Audible Sounds of Crime Award (for best unabridged crime audiobook) was announced as The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins, read by Clare Corbett, India Fisher, and Louise Brealey. Other awards handed out included the Kobo eDunnit Award (for the best crime fiction e-book), won by The Crossing, by Michael Connelly; The Last Laugh Award (for the best humorous crime novel) to Bryant & May and the Burning Man, by Christopher Fowler; The H.R.F. Keating Award (for the best biographical or critical book related to crime fiction) to The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards; and the Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year went to The Caveman, by Jørn Lier Horst, translated by Anne Bruce
The CWA (Crime Writers Association) 2016 Dagger Award longlists were announced at Crimefest last weekend, with the finalists for the Goldsboro Dagger for Best Novel including Dodgers by Bill Beverly; Black Widow by Christopher Brookmyre; After You Die by Eve Dolan; Real Tigers by Mick Herron; Finders Keepers by Stephen King; Dead Pretty by David Mark; Blood Salt Water by Denise Mina; and She Died Young by Elizabeth Wilson. As the term "longlists" would suggest, the roll call in the various categories takes up a lot of real estate, which Mystery Fanfare has thoughtfully provided via this link.
Crimefest also announced the winner of this year's Margery Allingham short story contest, "The Box-Shaped Mystery" by Peter Guttridge. And just in time, too.
A Noir at the Bar across the Pond is coming up soon on Wednesday, June 1st at the Town Wall pub (Pink Lane, Newcastle), the first such event in the north east of England. Authors slated to appear and read from their works so far include Tess Makovesky, Graham Smith, and Jacky Collins, with more added soon.
London's first-ever female-led crime festival will launch this autumn, with the arrival of the Killer Women conference, set for Saturday, October 15. Killer Women is made up of 18 female, London-based crime novelists, including Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train, Jane Casey, and Tammy Cohen. The program will feature a variety of readings and debates ranging from Victorian Crime to modern forensic psychology to How To Solve A Murder with real-life detectives, and there will also be master classes with some of your favorite Killer Women authors, as well as an exclusive Murder Mystery, Killer Women cocktails, and more.
The Economist penned a fond farewell to the Kenneth Brannagh-starring Wallender series and the series' author, the late Henning Mankell.
Judy Blume offered up an essay for The Guardian on why US indie booksellers are thriving and why - at age 78 - the multimillion-selling author has begun a new career, opening her own bookshop.
Did you know the CIA has an art gallery? CIA museum director Toni Hiley spoke with NPR about the latest painting, the 21st in the collection, and why the CIA has an art gallery at all.
For fans of the recently-canceled TV series Castle, you can take some comfort in the knowledge that the book series spawned from the series, the Nicky Heat books "written" by Richard Castle will continue with the eighth and ninth books and even beyond. The real name of the author of the Castle/Nikki Heat books has long been a mystery, but the Castle producers and series publisher Hyperion will only admit "that the real author has appeared on an episode of Castle." Authors who have appeared on the show include James Patterson, Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane (and the late Stephen J. Cannell), although it's hard to imagine any of those folks signing on for ghostwriting. Discuss amongst yourselves.
Bored with your usual reading chair? Try one of these "10 Gorgeous Outdoor Reading Nooks."
In the Q&A roundup, Omnimystery News welcomed BJ Bourg, who discussed his Magnolia Parish mysteries and more; multiple award-winning author Steve Hamilton chatted with the Huffington Post about his new series featuring Nick Mason, an ex-con trying to break away from his criminal past; Criminal Element held a Q&A with Marla Cooper, Author of Terror in Taffeta; Crime Watch snagged a 9mm interview with Fever City author, Tim Baker; the Tampa Bay Examiner chatted with Louise Penny about her latest novel, A Great Reckoning, number twelve in her Inspector Gamache series; Laura Lippman chatted with Alex Segura over at Do Some Damage about her new novel, Wilde Lake; and the Mystery People snagged Larry D. Sweazy to discuss his new book, See Also, Deception, his second book to feature indexer Marjorie Trumaine.
Martin Scorsese's next project is the Oscar-winning director's long-awaited return to mobster epics, The Irishman, an adaptation by Steve Zaillian (Gangs of New York) of Charles Brandt's bestselling novel. Robert De Niro will play Frank Sheeran, a high-ranking Teamster with ties to the Bufalino crime family, who confessed that he killed fellow Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa, whose body was never found. Al Pacino also is on board the long-gestating project, and The Irishman would mark the first collaboration between the actor and fellow gangster-movie icon Scorsese.
Mila Kunis and Bryan Cranston are attached to star in the Will Gluck-helmed comedic thriller Jackpot, a remake of a 2011 Norwegian film directed by Magnus Martens based on a Jo Nesbo story. Jennifer Garner is also in talks to join the project that opens with a man who wakes up in a strip bar clutching a shotgun surrounded by dead men and police guns aimed at him.
Universal Pictures is teaming up with screenwriter James Vanderbilt to craft a series of movies based on the works of Robert Ludlum, the best-selling author behind the studio’s hit Jason Bourne spy franchise. First up in this universe will be the adaptation of Ludlum's The Janson Directive, which will star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. The story centers on Paul Janson, a former operative and best private security consultant in the world, who is framed for the murder of a prominent Nobel laureate and must join forces with the protege sent to kill him in order to survive.
John Cusack is in negotiations to star in the chase thriller Misfortune, playing Miller, a businessman embezzles a client’s money, leaves his family and everything behind to start a new life. Everything goes according to plan until he is separated from his cash in the middle of the wilderness, where three young friends stumble upon it. Miller, desperate and violent, will do anything to get it back.
Italy’s Colorado Films is teaming up with bestselling author Donato Carrisi, whose serial killer thriller The Whisperer has sold millions of copies around the world, to form a new company specialized in producing Italian thrillers for the international film and TV market. Not surprisingly, the short-term focus of the company's production roster will be two Carrisi books including The Whisperer, which takes its cue from six severed arms found arranged in a circle in a forest clearing, and The Girl in the Fog, about the disappearance of a teen girl in the Alps.
Sean Bean and Patrick Sabongui are set to star in Jason Bourque's action-thriller film Drone. The project centers on Neil (Bean), a high-level private drone contractor whose family doesn't know about his secret life until an enigmatic Pakistani businessman tracks him down, believing Neil to be responsible for the deaths of his wife and child. A harrowing confrontation takes place in Neil's house, which proves to be far more complex than a simple act of revenge.
Noomi Rapace is in negotiations to join Will Smith and Joel Edgerton in David Ayer's Bright, to be written and directed by Max Landis for Netflix. Bright is described as a cop thriller with fantasy elements, including orcs and fairies.
Fox is already tweaking their fall schedule, with plans to move the Prison Break reboot and also Bones to mid-season debuts, mostly to make way for new baseball drama Pitch, which would be a natural follow-on to the network's Major League Baseball coverage.
Ewan McGregor is the latest feature actor who will star in FX’s Emmy-winning anthology series Fargo. McGregor will play the two central characters — brothers Emmit and Ray Stussy — in the upcoming third season, which is supposed to be set closer to present day than the first two installments.
Netflix has nabbed worldwide rights to the Jeremy Rush-directed action thriller Wheelman starring Frank Grillo as a getaway driver who is double crossed during a bank robbery. When plans go south, it is up to him to find out who betrayed him while he races to survive with a car full of money and his family on the line.
Netflix (in partnership with Univision) is also developing a series based on the life of infamous drug lord, El Chapo, made famous after a high-profile prison escape, his controversial interview with Sean Penn, and his subsequent recapture last year.
Fans of the long-running CSI franchise shows may be able to breathe a sigh of relief; after CBS announced they'd cancelled the last-remaining series, CSI: Cyber, the network hinted that the show "may come back in another incarnation." According to Deadline, the producers of the billion-dollar drama franchise also have been open to revisiting it and, after a break, that may happen.
USA Network has released the first trailer for the action thriller series Shooter, based on a character created by Stephen Hunter and featured in a novel Point of Impact. (HT to Omnimystery News.)
The USA Network released trailers for two of its new fall series including Shooter, starring Ryan Phillippe as an expert marksman living in exile who is coaxed back into action after learning of a plot to kill the president, and also the psychological thriller Falling Water.
CBS released a trailer for Michael Weatherly’s new show, Bull, in which Weatherly plays Dr. Jason Bull, the founder of a very successful trial consulting firm. Bull is actually based on the early work of Dr. Phil McGraw, who ran his own trial consulting firm before becoming a talk show host. The network also dropped trailers for several other of its new shows, including the MacGuyer reboot and Training Day.
ABC released trailers for their new fall shows, including Conviction, Designated Survivor, Notorious, and Time After Time.
Confused about the fall television schedule and which shows are new or returning and on which nights? The Wrap has a handy guide for you. Or if you prefer it in grid format, here you go.
Cybersecurity expert Fred Bedrich and ethical hacker Michel Cusin stopped by 2nd Sunday Crime co chat with host Libby Hellmann about cyber security, why it's such a threat, and what they do to deal with it.
Suspense Radio welcomed author Ryan Quinn to discuss his thriller featuring ex-CIA operative Kera Mersal, The Good Traitor.
Sometimes "happiness is a sad song" (usually in a minor key), but did you know that works in a major key can be sad? Or at least, wistful and a touch mournful, like one of Scott Drayco's favorite pieces (and mine), the Intermezzo in A Major from Opus 118 by Johannes Brahms, played here by Nikolai Lugansky:
In this year of the (interminable) presidential elections here in the States, this seemed like an appropriate "Forgotten Book" offering:
Long before Elliott Roosevelt wrote murder mysteries featuring his mother Eleanor Roosevelt as a super sleuth, and even before first daughter Margaret Truman penned her crime fiction (despite rumblings of ghostwriting), President Franklin Delano Roosevelt came up with his own idea for a mystery novel. When he was Governor of New York he once said of detective stories, "Hundreds of such novels are published every year, but only a few are really worth the time and attention of intelligent readers. Even in the good ones there is often a sameness. Some one finds the corpse and then the detective tracks down the murderer. I do not believe that such stories have to follow an inevitable pattern or formula."
Apparently, even after he became President, FDR couldn't stop thinking about detective novels. He discussed with his friend, magazine editor Fulton Oursler, his thoughts that such stories appealed to the detective instinct in all of us and were a literary game, an intellectual recreation less purely intellectual than chess but more dramatic. He also told Oursler he'd been carrying around in his mind the plot for a mystery novel for years. His idea? "How can a man disappear with five million dollars in any negotiable form and not be traced?" Oursler suggested they ask the leading writers in the U.S. to collaborate on such a story, to which FDR replied, "Go ahead. See what you can all do with it."
Oursler did just that, contacting various authors and challenging them to take "the President's mystery plot" and contribute a chapter to the story by plonking the protagonist, Jim Blake, in a dire situation and then leaving him for the next author in line. The work of the first authors, Rupert Hughes, Samuel Hopkins Adams, Anthony Abbot, Rita Weiman, S. S. Van Dyne, and John Erskine, were serialized in Oursler's Liberty Magazine in 1935, and the book was published in 1936. However, poor Jim Blake was left hanging for thirty years until Erle Stanley Gardner (creator of Perry Mason) came along and tied everything up in a final chapter when the book was reprinted in 1967 and retitled The President's Mystery Plot.
More a literary curiosity than high literature, the book has a bit of camp and zaniness, and true mystery fans may be disappointed in the thin, zigzagging plot and weak characterizations that sometimes accompany collaborative ventures. Still, it was popular enough that a movie was made of the story in 1936, directed by Phil Rosen and starring Henry Wilcoxon as hapless Jim Blake (Marc Antony in Cecil B. DeMille's Cleopatra). It's an interesting period piece, if you can get past the first chapter. Writer Rupert Hughes gave Blake a scheming Russian wife and writes out her dialogue with "phoenetic precision," as Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., aptly notes in his introduction ("Jeem, how you can't see it is beecose I loaf you so dear I cannot deevide your loaf with even some babies?").
More telling may be what the book reveals about Roosevelt himself. When he proposed the idea to Oursler, the hero was conceived as "hating the falsity of his existence, the meaninglessness of his career, the sameness of his middle-aged routine, the absence of purpose and the boredom with his marriage."
The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions is a middle-grade mystery from the creative team of author Tracey Hecht, founder of Fabled Films, who has written, directed and produced for film, and New York City-based artist Kate Liebman. The Nocturnals, which Kirkus Reviews called "A delightful adventure about the power of uncommon traits and the joys of newfound friendship," features three unlikely friends: Dawn, a serious fox, Tobin, a sweet pangolin, and Bismark, the loud mouthed, pint sized sugar glider.
Together they form a brigade of the night after a random encounter with a blood-thirsty snake, and just in time because something is threatening their night realm - animals are disappearing without a trace. Together with the help of a wombat, a band of coyotes and many others, Dawn, Tobin and Bismark journey to the depths of the earth in a wacky, high stakes game that will determine all of their survival.
I have one print copy to give away today, so if you'd like a copy for your favorite young reader, head on over to my website giveaway page and just enter your email. (Or if you have problems with that form, just drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "NOCTURNALS Giveaway.") The publisher does request that this particular giveaway be limited to U.S. addresses.
And if you'd like more information about the book, check out the official book website or their Facebook page.
The Audio Publishers Association (APA) announced the winners of the 21st annual Audie Awards competition, the premier awards program in the United States recognizing distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment. Best Mystery audiobook went to Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith, read by Robert Glenister, and Best Thriller/Suspense audiobook was won by The Patriot Threat by Steve Berry, read by Scott Brick.
The ABA Journal and the University of Alabama School of Law announced the finalists for the 2016 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. The three books chosen to compete for the prize are: Allegiance by Kermit Roosevelt; Pleasantville by Attica Locke; and Tom & Lucky and George & Cokey Flo by C. Joseph Greaves.
The Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance has announced the finalists for the 2016 Maine Literary Awards, including the Book Award for Crime Fiction nods to The Precipice by Paul Doiron; The Fisherman by Vaughn C. Hardacker; and An Unbeaten Man by Brendan Rielly.
Columbia University's Butler Library is presenting a Symposium celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, to be held on September 30, Butler Library. A concurrent exhibit will run from September 26 to December 23 at the Butler Library and is free and open to the public. (HT to Mystery Fanfare.)
CrimeFest has teamed up with publishers, authors, and libraries to give away 1,000 crime novels for free ahead of the crime fiction festival. Among the offerings are advanced reader copies from authors including Megan Abbott and Stefan Ahnhem months before they hit the shops, as well as titles from debut novelists Michelle Birkby and BBC screenwriter Simon Booker.
The TED-Ed team has crafted a lesson discussing the evolution of Sherlock Holmes. The online video examines some the sleuth’s most famous characteristics including his drug use, his partnership with Dr. Watson, and his enemy Professor Moriarty. Over at the TED-Ed website, viewers can access a quiz, a discussion board, and more resources.
Are you a John le Carre fan? You're not alone, as witnessed by recent movie and TV adaptations of his works. The Independent points out why the author continues to stay relevant in Hollywood with examples like Our Kind of Traitor and The Night Manager as filmmakers "have begun to get a handle on his digressions, flashbacks and jargon."
This week's new crime poem at the 5-2 is "Guilty" by Chad Haskins.
In the Q&A roundup, Con Lehane joined the Mystery People to discuss his new Ray Ambler novel; Criminal Element interviewed Diane Kelly, author of Against the Paw; jd daniels stopped by Omnimystery News to talk about her second mystery to feature amateur sleuth Jessie Murphy; the latest author to take the 9mm interview challenge at Crime Watch is JM Gulvin and his new series that introduces Texas Ranger John Quarrie.
One of the world’s most famous crime novelists may be headed to the big screen once again: Agatha Christie, based on a script by Tom Shepherd, is in the works at Columbia Pictures. The action-adventure pic, which is being pitched as "Sherlock Holmes meets The Thomas Crown Affair," finds a young, adventurous Agatha Christie joining Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on a mission to track down the whereabouts of a missing oil tycoon.
In the first major deal closed at Cannes Film Festival, Sony Pictures Classics bought rights to Paul Verhoeven’s Elle. Penned by David Birke and based on Phillipe Djian’s novel Oh…, the psychological thriller stars Isabelle Huppert as a powerful, ruthless business woman who survives an assault in her home and takes it upon herself to track down her assailant.
In another Cannes deal, it was reported that Don Johnson will star opposite Nicolas Cage, Anna Hutchison, and Talitha Bateman in the vigilante thriller adapted from Joyce Carol Oates' award-winning novel, Vengeance: A Love Story. The project centers on the case of a mother brutally raped by four meth heads who hire one of the nation's top criminal defense lawyers (Johnson), spurring a detective to take matters into his hands in order to protect the lives of three generations of women.
Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is joining Greg Kinnear and Emma Roberts to star in the psychological thriller Spinning Man, which will mark the American debut of Danish filmmaker Peter Flinth. The project was adapted from George Harrar’s novel by Matthew Aldrich and centers on a philosophy professor (Coster-Waldau) who becomes the prime suspect in the disappearance of a high school cheerleader. Kinnear will portray the detective assigned to the investigation and Roberts (Scream Queens) will play the professor's prized student.
The much-in-demand Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is also set to take the lead in the dark comedy Small Crimes, a story of a disgraced former cop who is fresh off a six-year prison sentence for attempted murder and returns home looking for redemption but winds up trapped in the mess he left behind. The project is based on Dave Zeltserman’s 2007 novel of the same title.
Adam Driver (Star Wars: the Force Awakens) has landed a lead role in Steven Soderbergh’s NASCAR heist film Logan Lucky, which centers on two brothers who attempt a crime during a NASCAR race. Seth MacFarlane is also in talks to join the project, joining Channing Tatum and Riley Keough (both from Soderbergh’s Magic Mike), who have also been tapped to join the cast.
Jennifer Lawrence is being eyed for a role opposite Sandra Bullock in the female-centric Ocean's 11 reboot. The story is a continuation of the successful George Clooney-led trilogy and centers around Bullock's character, who plays an ex-con and Danny Ocean’s sister. With a team of thieves, she sets out of steal a necklace from the Met Ball and frame a crooked gallery owner, with Lawrence playing Bullock's right-hand woman.
Kathryn Bigelow, director of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, is eyeing English actress Hannah Murray (Gilly on HBO’s Game of Thrones) for a key role in Bigelow's untitled true crime drama that will explore systemic racism in urban Detroit that led to riots.
Irish filmmaker John Moore (A Good Day to Die Hard, Behind Enemy Lines) is set to direct N.O.C., an action thriller that centers on the case of Alek, a deep-undercover CIA operative who discovers that a faction of the agency is collaborating with the terrorist cell he was sent to infiltrate. Stuck in a Berlin hospital and with the help of the EMT who saved his life, Alek must evade both the CIA and the terrorists if he wants to bring the evidence of the unsanctioned special op to the people he thinks he can trust.
Clive Owen has boarded Andorra, a romantic thriller based on Peter Cameron’s novel, with Owen starring as Alexander Fox, a bookseller who leaves the U.S. after a personal tragedy to begin a new life abroad. The tiny eponymous country in which he finds himself is an idyllic escape, offering Fox the chance to reinvent himself until he becomes entangled with the ever-present locals as the mystery of his origin deepens.
Sergei Bodrov will serve as executive producer and consultant on the English-language UK action-thriller Knuckledust. The whodunnit, in the process of casting, is set in a hyper realistic version of underground London and is described as "smart and gritty film that has the potential to become an iconic reference of the action-thriller genre."
IFC Midnight acquired North American and Latin American rights to I Am Not A Serial Killer, the Billy O’Brien-directed chiller based on Dan Wells' novel. Max Records, Christopher Lloyd, Laura Fraser and Karl Geary star in the pic, which takes place in a small Midwestern town where a troubled teen (Records) with homicidal tendencies must hunt down and destroy a supernatural killer while keeping his own inner demons at bay.
Dylan O'Brien is in talks to play Mitch Rapp in American Assassin, alongside Michael Keaton, in the project that's based on the Vince Flynn best-seller of the same name. The 10th of Flynn’s novels about Mitch Rapp, but the first chronologically, American Assassin has been eyed by Hollywood since it was first published. Seen as the launch of a possible franchise, Assassin will be directed by Michael Cuesta, whose most recent movie was the Jeremy Renner thriller Kill the Messenger.
XLrator Media and Benattar/Thomas Productions have kicked off production on their latest action-thriller, The Base, starring Cam Gigandet (The Magnificent Seven, Twilight) and directed by Jesse Gustafson. Gigandet will play the leader of a "Dirty Dozen" style band of military prisoners who have to fight off a terrorist attack on the remote prison in which they"re being held, which, unknown to them, is a cover for a secret drone control facility.
A day after it was announced that Russell Crowe was in talks to star in an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, with James Franco already on board to direct and act in the film, news came that the project had to be scrapped due to rights issues. The project could still move forward if all the various parties involved are able to strike a deal. Blood Meridian follows the Glanton gang, a historical group of scalp hunters who massacred Native Americans and others for bounty and pleasure in the United States–Mexico borderlands from 1849 to 1850.
Tom Hanks reprises his role as Robert Langdon from previous Dan Brown thrillers in the new trailer for Inferno, where he"s tasked with thwarting the release of a virus that threatens to wipe out the human race.
The networks announced their fall schedules this past week during the annual spring "upfront" season, with some surprises but also a lot of returning shows. For a full listing, check out TV Guide's assessment here. Network by network, the highlights regarding crime dramas include:
ABC: After much back-and-forthing, ABC decided to cancel Castle but renewed American Crime, How to Get Away with Murder, and Quantico. New series are set to include Conviction, in which the daughter of a former president is blackmailed into taking a job as the head of Los Angeles’ newly created Conviction Integrity Unit; and Designated Survivor (starring Kiefer Sutherland) that follows a lower-level U.S. Cabinet member suddenly appointed president after a catastrophic attack during the State of the Union kills everyone above him in the line of succession.
CBS: As previously announced, CBS canceled CSI and Person of Interest, as well as Game of Silence and CSI: Cyber, the last spinoff from the forensic procedural drama that took television by storm 16 years ago. Returning shows include Blue Bloods, Criminal Minds, Elementary, Hawaii Five-0, and all three NCIS franchises. New series on the docket are reboots of the 1970s series MacGyver; Training Day starring Bill Paxton which picks up 15 years after the events of the original film) as a morally grey detective who gets partnered up with a young officer (Justin Cromwell); and Bull, a legal drama based on the early career of Dr. Phil, starring Michael Weatherly as he uses his psychology skills to analyze juries as a legal defense consultant. CBS also decided to pass on the Nancy Drew update series Drew, which would have placed the iconic teenage detective in an adult setting, although the producers plan on shopping the project to other networks.
Fox: As previously announced, Fox is going ahead with the 24 prequel, 24 Legacy, and greenlighted additional seasons of Lucifer and Sleepy Hollow. Fox also picked up to series a small-screen adaptation of Lethal Weapon, which rides along with classic cop duo Riggs and Murtaugh as they work a crime-ridden beat in modern-day L.A.; and APB, in which billionaire Gideon Rerves (Justin Kirk) decides to put up millions of dollars of his own money to take over Chicago's out of control 13th Precinct and reboot it as a private police force with cutting-edge technology and revolutionary new ideas.
NBC: The peacock network renewed most of its crime dramas including The Blacklist, Blindspot, Chicago Fire, Chicago Chicago P.D., Grimm, Law & Order: SVU, and Shades of Blue. New shows include the latest "Chicago" spinoff, the legal drama Chicago Justice.
Another Alan Glynn novel could be heading to TV: the writer, whose book The Dark Fields inspired both the Limitless feature film and CBS drama, has sold the rights to his forthcoming work Paradime to ITV Studios America. Taking the lead on the project is Moonlighting and Medium creator Glenn Gordon Caron who will serve as the showrunner on the psychological thriller that follows a man's strange journey after a stint in Afghanistan when he finds his doppelganger in New York City.
Ole Sondegard of Good Company Films, the man behind both the British and Swedish version of Wallander and also the Millennium trilogy, is adapting the mystery novels of Jørn Lier Horst, a former Senior Investigating Officer at the Norwegian police force. The series will center on Horst's chief inspector William Wisting, his team, and the relationship with his daughter Line, a crime reporter for VG (Norwegian newspaper).
Unforgettable alum Dylan Walsh has booked a recurring role on Season 5 of Netflix's Longmire, playing Shane Muldoon, Eddie Heffernan’s criminal boss,
Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan) has signed on for a recurring role in Shooter, USA Network’s upcoming drama series based on Stephen Hunter’s novel Point Of Impact and the 2007 Paramount film starring Mark Wahlberg. It stars Ryan Phillippe as Bob Lee Swagger, an expert marksman living in exile who is coaxed back into action after learning of a plot to kill the president.
A new trailer was released for season 4 of Orange is the New Black on Netflix.
Suspense Radio had not one or two, but four authors on its latest two-podcast, including Steve Martini, Allan Topol, John Hegenberger and TR Ragan, each of whom showcased their unique writing style.
Authors on the Air interviewed Jane Tesh, a retired media specialist who's written four previous mystery novels featuring ex-beauty queen turned private eye Madeline Maclin and her reformed con-man husband Jerry, as well as three novels in the Grace Street Mysteries series.
Jude Law will star in Obsession, a new play based on the 1943 Luchino Visconti film, at the Barbican Center in London in 2017. The film Obsession was itself an adaptation of James M. Cain's 1930s crime novel The Postman Always Rings Twice, which is about a man and woman who are having an affair and plot to murder the woman’s husband.
The Baker Street Players will present the world premiere of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's play Sherlock Holmes and the Case of The American Twins on Fridays and Saturdays between May 20th and June 11th in Jackson, California. The play is a traditional Sherlockian adventure that begins at 221B Baker Street where a distressed female client consults with Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson on the whereabouts of her twin brother. What follows is a trail that leads to Mycroft Holmes and on to Colonel Collins (retired intelligence officer from the Army) who sends Sherlock to Madam Flora Yao (a provocative connoisseur of information), culminating in the climactic denouement in Mrs. Hudson's sitting room.