noir

6 Books You Didn’t Know Were Made Into Movies

By Sean Tuohy

Have you ever asked yourself, "Where the hell do screenwriters get ideas for movies?" Most of them come from the minds of deeply troubled writers or the back of Captain Crunch cereal boxes, but some originate from books! 

Here's a collection of some of the best films based on books.

Drive by James Sallis

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“Drive,” the indie darling film of 2011 featured Ryan Gosling as a movie stunt driver who moonlit as a getaway driver. The film was filled with stellar acting, a pumping soundtrack, and a solid storyline. American post-noir master James Sallis wrote the novel of the same name. Mixing together a sparse writing style with heavy characters, Sallis created a stunning tale.

Who Censored Roger Rabbit? by Gary K. Wolf

“Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” was the kid’s movie that was really meant for adults. Overflowing with beloved cartoon characters, the film mixed together live action for the first time in history. The plot follows hard-boiled, cartoon-hating detective Eddie Valiant, who must help Roger Rabbit prove that he didn’t commit a murder. Where the movie is rides the line between adult and children, the novel is darker in tone and deals with a stranger world then the one in the film, It’s a fast, but odd, read.

The strange story of how “Die Hard” went from novel to screen could be it’s own book. Written as a sequel to the “The Detective” (also turned into a film starring Chairman of the Board), Nothing Last Forever follows retired detective Joe Leland as he visits his daughter’s Christmas office party in L.A. when it gets taken over by terrorist. Leland must fight his way though terrorist as he tries to save his daughter. There are major differences between source book and film. The ending the book much darker, the main character is a truly flawed hero with many issues, and the terrorist are not bank robbers. A solid, fast paced read that makes you need to take a shot of whiskey at the end.

58 Minutes by Walter Wager

To learn more about how this story became the basis for “Die Hard 2,” swing by The Nicest Guy In Hollywood Doug Richardson’s website and take a read, totally worth it. But in the novel, a father must save his daughter from a madman who threatens to crash all the planes at JFK during a snowstorm. It’s great little read, but, man, who doesn’t love watching this scene:

Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory by Mickey Rapkin

Before Fat Amy, there was the source book. A reporter spent one season following college-aged wanna be singers as they tried to win an a cappella championship.

The Running Man By Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

Arnold Schwarzenegger on a game show where he must stay alive for 24 hours? 1980s action gold! Before the one-liners and cheesy ‘80s effects there was the novel The Running Man by Stephen King’s alter ego Richard Bachman. A short, but wickedly fast novel follows Ben Richards, an unemployed father living in a broken world, as he completes in a popular game show. He must stay alive for a week while being chased by hunters. King claims that he wrote the book in three days.

Everybody Counts or Nobody Counts: The Top 5 Harry Bosch Novels

By Sean Tuohy

Crime fiction master Michael Connelly brings back hardboiled, jazz-loving detective Harry Bosch in his newest novel The Crossing. This time around we find Bosch is no longer with the LAPD and is now working for defense attorney half-brother Mickey Haller.

With the newest book in the long running detective series published yesterday and the second season of the highly rated Amazon television show in the works, we decided to sit down and comb through the Bosch world and picked the top five Bosch stories. Get ready for some smooth jazz and murder in the City of Angels.

5. The Burning Room (#21)

Sensing his time with the LAPD maybe coming to an end, Harry races against the clock trying to solve two famous cold cases while trying to mentor his young new partner. 

What makes it great?

Harry has mentored younger detectives before but never with the same urgency that is found in this novel. Harry tries to imprint his code on his partner, teaching her that homicide is a mission. We also catch moments of trendiness with Bosch, most dealing with his own daughter. A great moment is when Bosch gets a lump in his throat thinking about his daughter and his own failing as a father. The ending is bittersweet and reminds us that not everything can be tied up neatly at the end.

What to listen to? 

“Black Coffee” by Duke Pearson Trio

4. The Black Ice (#2)

When a cop kills himself on Christmas Eve the department is ready to call it an open and shut case but Harry Bosch sees something else. Quickly, Bosch himself chases down clues through seedy back alleys that lead into Mexico.

What makes it great?

Fast-paced with more action then the first novel, The Black Ice hits the ground running and never lets up. While in Mexico, Bosch takes in bull fighting and along the way falls in love with the widow of the dead police officer. The ending to the novel is a sudden twist that no one saw coming.

What to listen to?

“Mr. Syms” by John Coltrane 

3. The Drop (#17)

Bosch investigates a 20-year-old murder while also trying to determine if his enemy’s son killed himself or was killed.

What makes it great?

Many of Connelly’s best characters are the people who live at the bottom of society, the ones who scrape by and do what they can to live. In The Drop, Connelly presents us with a character completely broken by life. We watch as Bosch goes from hating the man to understanding who he is.

What to listen to?

“Green Haze” by Miles Davis

2. Nine Dragons (#15)

A chance account on the one of the worse nights of his life Bosch meets a shopkeeper who helped him out. Years later, Bosch must solve the man’s murder and also deal with the personal issues of having a daughter who lives in China.

What makes it great?

A bittersweet ending Bosch’s life changes completely. We get to see two sides of Bosch, the cop and the father, intersect.

What to listen to?

“Night Hawk” by Coleman Hawkins

1. The Last Coyote (#4)

Bosch’s life is a mess. He’s suspended from his job, he’s about to lose his house, and he’s lost his girlfriend. During this crisis, Bosch decides to look into the murder of his mother, killed when he was a child. He is determined to solve it.

What makes it great?

Normally in series the hero is always put together and able to handle the task at hand. Connelly stacked everything against Bosch and at one point we see Bosch fall apart. The pressure of everything mixed with opening deep emotion wounds comes pouring out of Bosch.

What to listen to?

“Silk ‘n’ Satin” by Sonny Rollins

5 Crime Novels That Will Keep You Warm This Winter

By Sean Tuohy

Okay folks, we need to admit that winter is finally upon us. For us Northerners, that means piles of snow and fending off polar bear attacks while trying to get to work. Despite all that, we can sit down and enjoy a good crime novel with devilish men and fatal dames that fill the page with greed and murder.

Below are the top five thrillers to keep you warm during this season:

A Tree Born Crooked by Steph Post

Tired of the snow? Well, Steph Post’s noir A Tree Born Crooked will bring you to the sunny state of Florida. Now, she doesn’t feature the sun-soaked beaches of South Florida where you can get a rum runner. No. This is the intense back roads of Northern Florida, a land were blood and money run thick and both will get you killed. Post’s crooked characters will surely help you ward off the winter freeze.

Third Rail by Rory Flynn

Boston is a tough city where the wrong look or turn can end with you six feet under. Roey Flynn captures Beantown using the city’s love of baseball to set in motion a thrilling crime story that takes you on a wild ride involving cops, criminals, and, gasp, sports fans.

A Killer in the Wind by Andrew Klavan

The pages of this book ooze tough guy. Klavan tells the deadly and dark tale of a former New York City cop turned small town detective being pulled back in to a living nightmare. The author can write tough in his sleep and throws plot twists like a Super Bowl quarterback.

L.A. Rex by William Beall

James Elroy is the ruling king of hardcore Los Angeles crime fiction, but Beall, a former LAPD officer, is slowly taking his place with his no-holds-barred debut novel. Beall dives in to the wild days of the 1990s LAPD, a police department riddled with scandal and going through changes. A rockie cop with a secret is paired with a hot temper old school gunslinger and tries to keep the city safe.

A Walk Among The Tombstones by Lawrence Block

Block is master of his craft.  How does this guy do it? Every book is as thrilling as the last. His most well-known novels feature Matt Scudder, a NYPD detective turned private eye. Block uses his characters and stories as a way to explore the ever-changing New York City. In this twisted tale, Scudder must help a drug lord find the people behind the death of his wife before they strike again.

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