The Casting Couch- David Mark guest post

Today’s blog post is a little bit different. I am thrilled to welcome to my blog David Mark, creator of the fabulous detective series that features Aector McAvoy. As he says in his piece, the reader is often disappointed when a favourite book is made into a film or TV series with the wrong cast. But enough from me, this is David’s own selection for the cast of his new book, Dead Pretty.

David Mark assembles his dream cast – if and when his McAvoy makes it to the screen…
Readers often take umbrage when liberties are taken with their beloved literary heroes. Lee Child may be the greatest thriller writer of his generation but millions of people around the world seem intent on slapping him with a haddock for allowing Tom Cruise to inhabit the size 14 shoes of Jack Reacher.

I understand that level of ire. As readers, we have very clear ideas of what our favourite fictional characters look, sound and act like. I still sometimes weep over the decision to cast Michael Gambon as Professor Dumbledore.

As authors, it’s a different situation. A couple of years back, the rights to my first novel were snapped up by a major TV company and I enjoyed lots of lovely lunches with the sort of people who would ignore a telephone call from Kenneth Branagh so as not to be distracted from one of my rambling anecdotes. It was all rather jolly. The adaptation never happened, of course. I don’t think the guy in charge had even read the book. But it was quite exciting while it lasted. Since then, lots of people have asked me who I would cast, if given free rein, in a small-screen version of the Mcavoy books. This is the kind of thing that stops me sleeping, I hope you understand.

So, to coincide with the launch of the new McAvoy book, DEAD PRETTY, here’s my guide to who I would want to walk in the characters’ shoes, and why.

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Aector McAvoy – Rory McCann
“I’m learning from Lee here. When you write about a character who is enormous, it pays to cast an enormous man in the role – otherwise people get upset and bang on about it endlessly at every bloody event you agree to attend. McAvoy is big and hulking, but he’s also a total softie who blushes and talks like a poet. Rory McCann may not have shown much tenderness in Game of Thrones but I’ve watched his audition tape for his role as Clegane and he has the right kind of tired wisdom in his eyes. He’s also physically very able and generally rather handsome. He may be a few years older than Aector but I’ll forgive him that. Plus, he has the right accent. I’ve wanted him for the role since I wrote the first book.”

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Roisin McAvoy – Eleanor Tomlinson
“Roisin is Aector’s centre. She’s his heart. She’s gentle and loving and very shrewd. She’s also capable of cutting you off at the knees and burying you upside down in the garden. Eleanor Tomlinson has all that. She was mesmerising in Poldark and I would love to see her play a role that was an equal to the male lead – not subservient to it. With a Romany accent and a lot of leopard-print, she would be a fierce foil for Aector and there’s no doubt the camera loves her.”

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DSU Trish Pharaoh – Polly Walker/Jessica Hynes/Lisa Stansfield
“Trish is probably my favourite character. She’s clever, tough, motherly, sexy and ferocious. Nobody knows what’s going on inside her head unless she wants them too. She’s in her mid-forties and drinks too much and doesn’t have the kind of body that suggests she spends a lot of time on a treadmill. I’d like somebody of the right age to play her. I adored Polly Walker in Rome, but Trish is funny as well as hard and I’d love to see Jessica Hynes have fun with her lines. I’ve also got a bizarre idea that Lisa Stansfield would be ace.”

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DC Helen Tremberg – Gwendoline Christie
“Helen is the most likely to have her own series one day and she’s one of the most important characters so I’ve thought long and hard about this. Helen’s tall, physically formidable and enjoys each packet of crisps more than the last. She’s also a bit hopeless in love and worries that she’s likely to put her new baby in the oven and the Christmas turkey in the cot. I think Gwendoline Christie would be superb. She may play a swordswoman in armour in her most famous role but she has vulnerability about her and I’d love to see her in a Hull pub interrogating an armed robber over a pint of real ale.”

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Former DCI Colin Ray – Richard E Grant
“Stick with me here … Colin Ray is the ratty, feral, utterly disgusting former DCI whose whereabouts at the start of Dead Pretty are unknown. I adore Richard E Grant and I think he would be superb at the kind of snarling, bitter, bile-infused invective that Colin likes to spray.”

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Reuben Hollow – James Purefoy
“The character of Reuben Hollow is at the centre of Dead Pretty. He’s just had a conviction for murder overturned and is back living in his ramshackle house in the woods with his teenage daughter. He’s a sculptor and very handsome and poetic, and there is something connecting him to Trish Pharaoh that is causing McAvoy a lot of disquiet. James Purefoy would be perfect. He does gentle just as well as the psychotics he has played in the past.”

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Delphine – Mimi Keene
“Reuben’s teenage daughter may have a small role in the events that unfold but she’s important. She’s a scruffy but pretty teen; carefree in dungarees and welly boots and smelling of cut grass and crushed fruit. She needs to have a knowing innocence to her. Step forward Mime Keene.”

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Teddy and Foley – Jason Flemyng and Ben Drew
“The two London hitmen are a curious duo. There is a tenderness between them but they are capable of colossal acts of violence. Teddy is the older, more circumspect villain. He’s quiet and thoughtful. Foley wants to hurt people. He burps and scratches and snorts an spits and should remind you of every person you have crossed the road to avoid. Jason Flemyng and Ben Drew would be perfect as a twosome.”

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Doug Roper – Paddy Considine
“Since the very first book, the name of Doug Roper has cropped up again and again. He’s always been there in the shadows, curling around thinks like the ghost of a serpent. The former head of CID, he was responsible for so much of McAvoy’s misery and is now a very important figure in what is to come. He’s handsome, well-dressed, and evil to his bones. Paddy Considine is one of my favourite actors. He’d be amazing.”

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Director – Paddy Considine

“Paddy’s directorial debut, Tyrannosaur, was unquestionably bleak and horrible, but it was also a magnificent piece of film-making. It struck the tone it sought absolutely head-on: this world of people trapped by circumstance, seeking refuge or escape through vices that plunge them deeper into the abyss. McAvoy walks through a world like that. I would love to see Paddy’s vision of Hull.”

 

About the Book

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Hannah Kelly has been missing for nine months. Ava Delaney has been dead for five days.

One girl to find. One girl to avenge. And DS Aector McAvoy won’t let either of them go until justice can be done.

But some people have their own ideas of what justice means…

DEAD PRETTY is the stunning new novel from one of Britain’s most original crime writers.

 

I would like to thank David for giving up his valuable time to pick his ideal cast.

24 Hours by Claire Seeber

imageHere today. Dead tomorrow?
My best friend, Emily, is dead – killed last night in a hotel fire.

But it was meant to be me.

Now I have 24 hours to find my daughter.

Before he finds out I’m still alive.

24 Hours is a fast-paced, intelligent psychological thriller that will leave you breathless.

My Thoughts

If you like a book with plenty of twists you will find plenty of them in this novel. I was pretty much addicted straight away and there was only one section where it went a little slower. It didn’t stop me enjoying it though, it was just a little less frantic.
To say Laurie was a bit of a mess would be an understatement, a counsellor who could do with listening to her own advice. Separated from an abusive husband who still controlled her and she liked another man who was either a liar or his ex wife was.Just as I thought she would have a little luck something would happen and she would end up in more of a predicament. Most of the characters who featured could have been responsible for what happened, I had no idea at all who it could be.
The chapters alternated between ‘then and now’. I liked both equally and was glad that they were only short so I could see what happened next in just a couple of pages.
It’s easily a book that could be read in one sitting, although I read it over a few days.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received for review.

River Road by Carol Goodman

River Road by Carol Goodman

Steph's Book Blog

imageNan Lewis—a creative writing professor at a state university in upstate New York—is driving home from a faculty holiday party after finding out she’s been denied tenure. On her way, she hits a deer, but when she gets out of her car to look for it, the deer is nowhere to be found. Eager to get home and out of the oncoming snowstorm, Nan is forced to leave her car at the bottom of her snowy driveway to wait out the longest night of the year—and the lowest point of her life…

The next morning, Nan is woken up by a police officer at her door with terrible news—one of her students, Leia Dawson, was killed in a hit-and-run on River Road the night before. And because of the damage to her car, Nan is a suspect. In the days following the accident, Nan finds herself shunned by the same…

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River Road by Carol Goodman

imageNan Lewis—a creative writing professor at a state university in upstate New York—is driving home from a faculty holiday party after finding out she’s been denied tenure. On her way, she hits a deer, but when she gets out of her car to look for it, the deer is nowhere to be found. Eager to get home and out of the oncoming snowstorm, Nan is forced to leave her car at the bottom of her snowy driveway to wait out the longest night of the year—and the lowest point of her life…

The next morning, Nan is woken up by a police officer at her door with terrible news—one of her students, Leia Dawson, was killed in a hit-and-run on River Road the night before. And because of the damage to her car, Nan is a suspect. In the days following the accident, Nan finds herself shunned by the same community that rallied around her when her own daughter was killed in an eerily similar accident six years prior. When Nan begins finding disturbing tokens that recall the death of Nan’s own daughter, Nan suspects that the two accidents are connected.

As she begins to dig further, she discovers that everyone around her, including Leia, is hiding secrets. But can she uncover them, clear her name, and figure out who really killed Leia before her reputation is destroyed for good? (less)

My thoughts:

Struggling since the death of her daughter and the collapse of her marriage Nan has concentrated on the only thing she has left, her career at the local university. She has a good relationship with her students and the staff. When they turn against her after the accident she is devastated. She is adamant that it was a deer she had hit and not Leia but starts to question her own innocence after remarks made about her drinking. But is not just her who suspicion falls on and when a series of sinister and upsetting events occur she is determined to get answers.
I did guess at who the culprit was but this did not stop me enjoying the novel. It is much more than a whodunnit. It’s also about bereavement, addiction, control and learning to trust. I liked the style of writing very much. At times its claustrophobic, possibly due to the snow but also the isolation, paranoia and level of intimidation that Nan experienced.
A well written, very atmospheric introduction to Carol Goodman who I had heard of but never read before.
Thanks to Titan Books for the copy received for review.

The Green Road by Anne Enright

imageSpanning thirty years and three continents, The Green Road tells the story of Rosaleen, matriarch of the Madigan family, and her four children.

Ardeevin, County Clare, Ireland. 1980. When her oldest brother Dan announces he will enter the priesthood, young Hanna watches her mother howl in agony and retreat to her room. In the years that follow, the Madigan children leave one by one: Dan for the frenzy of New York under the shadow of AIDS; Constance for a hospital in Limerick, where petty antics follow simple tragedy; Emmet for the backlands of Mali, where he learns the fragility of love and order; and Hanna for modern-day Dublin and the trials of her own motherhood. When Christmas Day reunites the children under one roof, each confronts the terrible weight of family ties and the journey that brought them home. The Green Road is a major work of fiction about the battles we wage for family,faith and love.

My thoughts:

I had seen quite a lot of publicity about this novel in various book of the year lists in newspapers at the end of last year. A bit of a departure from my comfort zone but it was a step that I was glad I took.
Telling the story of an Irish family, much like any other family they all had their own dreams and their own troubles. At first I thought that Dan was selfish and quite cold, especially when the AIDS crisis was causing so much anguish for those affected. As he got older and more honest with himself I changed my view slightly. Emmett always seemed to be full of anger although he used it to try and make the world a better place. Constance was harassed, the only one out of the four who had stayed close to Rosaleen. The scene where she did her Christmas shop was very funny and very accurate, anybody who has ever done the Christmas shop will agree. Hanna, the first one we met and re-introduced to last. I didn’t connect to her immediately, it was only after she made the trip home that I warmed to her more. Rosaleen seemed very real. Through much of the novel she was alone, resentful and feeling abandoned by her children but uncertain how to be when they were altogether.
I loved the way it was written, there was sadness at times but it was also quite witty. All of the five main characters felt real even though some were hard to like at first. I enjoyed reading the Irish accent, sometimes in a novel an accent doesn’t read properly but I felt that it did in this book.