At Grit-Lit, being a reviewer of books, we lust for the job of movie reviewer. Imagine driving to the theater, buying tickets, popcorn, chocolate covered raisins and a soda large enough to bath a golden retriever. Then settling into a comfortable chair where you “work” for 90 minutes or so. Write a column and put the whole thing, including mileage and parking, on your expense report.
Wowser, what a life!
But then as a writer, you want to cry for authors whose wonderful books have been turned into movies so bad you worry the author will stop writing—forever.
This could have happened in the new Jack Reacher film. Based on “On Shot”—an outstanding Reacher book and a Grit-Lit favorite—just the words “Starring Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher” might have sent perennial New York Times bestselling author, Lee Child, scurrying to hide in the Harry Potter Suite of an abandoned home in his native England. How in the world could five and a half feet of Tom Cruise convincingly portray six foot five inch, 250 pound Jack Reacher?
Unbelievably well is the answer.
And the box office proves it.
But pity poor Janet Evanovich. Katherine Heigl signed on to play Stephanie Plumb in “One For The Money” and we all said “OOOH! Perfect!” Then the theater lights dimmed, the curtains pulled back and … we all prayed that the movie wouldn’t kill the books.
Evanovich’s Stephanie Plumb books are filled with romance (though not sexually explicit) and hilarious, with just enough gritty action to have gathered and kept this reviewer’s attention for 19 novels.
“Notorious Nineteen” a Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich (Bantam Books, $18.00, 312 pages, hard cover.) www.evanovich.com.
In “Nineteen” Stephanie is trying to get her always empty check book back in the black. She’s skip chasing Geoffrey Cubbin who’s accused of embezzling millions from Trenton New Jersey’s premier assisted-living facility. But he’s disappeared. Stephanie has to work with her current boyfriend and Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morrelli and with her former romantic partner, the mouth watering, mysterious, “Ranger.”
Classic Evanovich, unsullied by Hollywood.
“Through The Ever Night” by Veronica Rossi (Harper Collins, $17.99, 352 pages, trade
Continuing in the theme of romance laced Grit-Lit, we move to another great series. Rossi’s first book, “Under The Never Sky” was a huge hit. “Night” the second book in the trilogy continues the fascinating mixture of fantasy, sci-fi and “dystopian elements.”
(And now a brief pause for a sponsored message: Dystopian means “a, usually fictional society that is undesirable or frightening. Thank you to our new sponsor the Merriam Webster online dictionary.)
A very cool, thankfully vampire free, dystopian story of survival in a perilous world of the future. Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies and powerful temptations, the story’s heroes, Aria and Perry, continue their struggle to help the people they care about survive a world in turmoil and dangerous storms that erupt with little warning from the sky.
“The Intercept” Dick Wolfe (William Morrow, $26.99, 400 pages, hard cover.) www.harpercollins.com.
Moving away from grit-romance to Jeremy Fisk, rule breaker and officer in the NYPD’s international intelligence gathering agency. A group that is kind of NYC’s version of the CIA. Fisk’s partner, Krina Gersten, is a fourth generation cop with the brains and guts required to keep Fisk from going too far over the line.
“Intercept” is the first novel by award-winning writer, director, producer Dick Wolfe, the guy behind television’s Law & Order. His proven storytelling and character developmental skills are all over “Intercept.”
An international terrorist incident occurs just days before the fourth of July. Fisk and Gersten swing into action, convinced, correctly that worse things are planned for NYC.
“Blood Money” James Grippando (Harper, $26.99, 352 pages, hard cover.) www.facebook.com/jgrippando.
Grit-Lit Favorite Jack Swyteck returns in the most sensational murder trial since O.J. A sexy, night club party girl, Sydney Bennett, is accused of murdering her two-year-old. Judged guilty by a nation of TV jurors, the trial is complicated when a Sydney Bennett look alike is nearly killed by a mob protesting against Sydney.
As always, Grippando tells a swervy, curvy tale with surprises and tension on every page.
Here’s hoping this one turns into a movie made by the same folks who made Jack Reacher.