This time three years ago, I had written the scripts for Episodes 1, 2, and 4, and was in the process of writing the script for Episode 8.

This time two years ago, I had written the scripts for “Kill Them All” and “We Were Family” and I had just started scripting “Stuff To Steal, People To Kill”.

This time last year, I had written “Being Better Is So Much Harder” and “Welcome To The Revolution” and was plotting out the back half of season 3.

This summer, I have been checking out most of Vancouver’s ice cream and gelato shops.  I have also been doing a lot of reading.  Here are my favorite mystery/thriller authors in no particular order…

1 – Deon Meyers: South Africa’s king of crime fiction writes some of the tautest, fast-paced thrillers in the genre.

Favorite book: Thirteen Hours –  An American backpacker has been killed and another is on the run for her life.  Inspector Benny Giessel is tasked with solving two parallel murder cases, and locating the whereabouts of a frightened young girl marked for death.

2 – Don Winslow: One of America’s premiere crime novelists, his work is mesmerizing, downright unputdownable.

Favorite book: The Winter of Frankie Machine – A retired hit man is drawn back into the life he left behind after surviving an attempt on his life.  Someone wants him dead – but who?  And why?

3 – Nicholas Pileggi: A successful author and screenwriter, his works include the novels Casino and Wiseguy, both of which he adapted for the big screen.

Favorite book: Wiseguy – The life story of a mobster, a brutal enforcer, murder, and family man, Henry Hill.  It would form the basis of the movie Goodfellas.

4 – Herman Koch: The rich, colorful, reprehensible characters that mark this Dutch author’s novels always make for a shocking, wholly absorbing, emotionally charged read.

Favorite book: Summer House with Swimming Pool – Dr. Marc Schlosser hides a terrible secret, his role in the death of a famous actor.  But the truth is far darker, and goes much deeper, than anyone could have imagined.

5 – Ben H. Winters: Author of The Last Policeman series, a post-apocalyptic crime series that is presently in development at NBC.

Favorite book: The Last Policeman, the first book in the aforementioned series.

6 – Ariana Franklin: Nom de plume of late British author Diana Norman.  Her Mistress of the Art of Death books are my all-time favorite historical crime series.

Favorite book: Mistress of the Art of Death – A young female medical examiner must weather sexism and anti-semitism to solve the murder of four young children, a crime that has been blamed on the local Jewish community of medieval Cambridge.

Honorable Mentions (Fantastic single titles from authors who I plan to read more of…):

The Coroner’s Lunch, by Colin Cotterill.  A mix of thriller, humor, and the supernatural, this novel, set in the 197o’s, focuses on Siri Paiboun, a 72 year old Laotian medical examiner who takes it upon himself to uncover the conspiracy surrounding the death of a government official’s wife.

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, by Hannah Tinti.  My favorite read of 2017 so far, this book focuses on the relationship between a spirited young girl and her well-intentioned father struggling with his criminal past.

Gotham Central, by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka.  The stories of the lives and cases of Gotham’s finest.  A dark, gritty, more human perspective of Batman’s big city.

Ill Will, by Dan Chaon.  A psychologist is drawn to explore the work of what may be a serial killer of young college men in suburban Cleveland – but his past involvement in a horrific crime complicates his personal investigation.

Cutter and Bone, by Newton Thornburg.  A mysterious murder leads Vietnam vet Cutter and his best friend Bone journey to the Ozarks, home of the infamous Wolfe Empire.

Get Carter, by Ted Lewis.  London “fixer” Jack Carter travels to the mill town of Scunthorpe to attend his brother’s funeral.  But when he starts using his tried and true methods to get at the truth behind his brother’s death, all hell breaks loose.

Any recommendations?

14 thoughts on “August 14, 2017: Time on my hands for thrillers and mysteries!

  1. You can never have too much ice cream.
    Out of interest, on average, how long does it take you to write one script of DM and be happy with it?

    I’m ex-South African, so I like your #1. If you want to read an amazing travel book that is more than just a travel book, try Andrew McCarthy’s The Longest Way Home.

  2. I really enjoyed Samuel Hawley! Will try to read some of the others once I get both kids to college next week.

  3. Why does your prolific reading surprise me? How do you find the time? Enjoy your summer days, I feel they are fleeting.

    I’ve been reading the reviews, perusing the sneak pics and trailers…this next episode looks intense (don’t they all). I hate that every time I see a photo of Boone & Portia I have to wonder which one it is, ours or the alternates. I’m ready for them to go back to their own reality.

  4. Like you, Joe, I am enjoying a summer packed with reading.
    I very much enjoyed the Hannah Tinti book.
    Two recs that I have: The Loney by Andrew M Hurley (UK gothic horror) and NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (despite the title, not really a vampire story)

  5. @motownfilly
    Thanks for the link. Very interesting to read.
    I often wanted to get some Ice cream at bella gelateria but was always put off by the long lines and the high prices.

    So happy now that I can get real Italian Ice cream for 1€ a scoop!

  6. I’ve always enjoyed Daniel Silva’s books although maybe a little cookie cutter. Nice escape though. Thanks for the other recommendations here. Think I’ve seen both film versions of Get Carter and will check out the book.

  7. Hi Joe,

    Could you give Dark Matter fans anxiously waiting on renewal a positive argument for why the show should get picked up. Please make a positive case for the show.

  8. Words. No matter how carefully chosen
    are just that.
    They make a difference.
    But without your arms around me
    to shelter me when I am frieghtened.
    To keep me warm when I’m cold.
    To comfort me when I am sad,
    … Still, I stand alone.
    -Drea Crysel c1979

    In 1979, 20 years before the movie Bicentenial Man
    emerged on the screen,
    I wrote a story.

    “No Eyes. No Ears. No Mouth To Feed.”

    In the story, a man stood before justices in the supreme court
    and argued for the life of the evolved robot he had illegally made in his basement, that lower courts
    deemed nothing more than a piece of dangerous technology that needed to be destroyed.
    He argued that destroying his robot would be like punishing a child for the sins of his father.
    He attempted to succeed in his argument about his robot being his child and no less worthy of compassion, human kindness and consideration by demonstrating legal precedent via a legal trial regarding a child born with severe deformities.

    In 1962 A woman carried a child for nine months in her womb.
    Unlike the bonding other new moms get the pleasure of experiencing,
    such as feeding, snuggling, singing to, reading to and teaching their child all kinds of things as they grow, this womans child was born
    with No eyes, no ears, no mouth and no limbs
    save for a single, footless leg and a short stump of a single arm.
    The child breathed and consumed life sustaining nutrients/food via a tube
    the doctors placed in its stomach from the moment it was born.
    This poor child was as seemingly alien and an abomination as it comes,
    yet she loved her son no less than any other mom would or could.

    That the woman was quite financially poor and the childs medical care was costing taxpayers and the state hospital millions of dollars to sustain him,
    When the child was 18 months old the state hospital took the woman to court and argued that prolonging the baby’s life was only causing severe suffering
    for both the child, the state and the community of good, traditional neighbors all around her.
    Initially, the courts agreed it would be more humane to remove the tubes that kept this child alive. Albeit, eventually a federal court ruled
    in the mother & childs favor.

    I was just thinking, Joe: …

    What about? Maybe creating a sci fi based legal court drama laced with a
    twist n turns mystery n psychological thriller or horror?
    Every week a new case could be argued in the high court.
    i.e : A human looking alien, living on earth in the future, travels back in time.
    At first, the neighbors ( not realizing who or what he is) love him.
    Albeit, one day, in plain sight, he goes to a grave yard, digs up and brings back someones loved one who just died.
    In his day this is simply a matter of common science practice among the wealthy. Anyone with enough money could pay to bring their loved ones back from the dead for a second shot at life.
    As the case is being argued in court trial, the town folk learn immoral, repulsive things about the alien.
    He can only sustain his human appearance via receiving fresh doses of human brain cells from others and releasing his seed and successfully fertilizing/impregnating as many human women
    as is possible on a daily basis, as well.:-D 😀 😀

    It could be fun and kinda cool no?

    I do know, if i ever get around to fully developing the Pascal Wagers story
    I am going to have one very long legal court trial/battle woven in throughout the entire story.
    The trial will take place over the course of five years/seasons.
    The morality, ethics, and all such pros n cons along those lines,
    regarding biotech, brain computing interfacing and self evolving, pro-creating and otherwise fully autonomous AI’s and humanoids will be argued for better or worse, via little snippets/ flash to points interwoven in each episode.
    This will all happen while Pascal and his crew of not so merry outlaws fly around the galaxies in a giant, state of the art, star trek like ship, equipped with dozens of med and tech labs & engineering facilities, taking on board and offering sanctuary and a place to conduct work, illegal refugees who wish to continue their banned outlawed sci & tech experiments.

    Uh-oh… Did i just open a whole new can of them
    wood burning worms?
    I can smell em sizzling on the grill all the way from here!

    Getting any ideas, yet??

    ah-ha. Ho-ho-ho. eureka. hee-hee. 😀 xo

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