Mari Hannah’s debut novel The Murder Wall in fact started out as a script for a pilot episode for a BBC crime TV series. Mari had been working as a scriptwriter for TV and film, but pursued The Murder Wall and DCI Kate Daniels as a novel rather than for TV. Despite the BBC suggesting that Kate Daniels needed to be more distinct, fans loved Kate and how she represented LGBT officers in the police force without her sexuality becoming a bigger focus than her detective skills. The Murder Wall went on to win the Polari First Book Prize in 2013 and it has now gone full circle and has been optioned for a TV series. We can’t wait to see DCI Kate Daniels hit our screens.
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Someone to Watch Over Me provides an interesting commentary on how disabilities are viewed in society, through a gripping courtroom drama. Lawyer Thóra Gudmundsdóttir is hired to work on a case where a young man has been found guilty of setting fire to a care home and secured in a psychiatric facility. The young man is called Jakob and has Downs Syndrome, a point which Sigurdardottir explores in detail through its relevancy in the case. Many of Sigurdardottir’s books are already being considered for films, and with ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ set with the stunning backdrop of Iceland, we would love to see this story brought to life.
Click here for more from Yrsa Sigurdardottir.
A post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy thriller that see’s a deadly plague spread across the world, The Stand is an epic story published back in 1978. The book was adapted into a mini-series in the US but talks of a film have never quite gone away. Ten years of discussion in the 80’s ended without a film and more discussion in 2011 proved fruitless too. But in 2014 it was announced that the script was complete and pre-production was underway – which is the most promising news thus far! Following that announcement we’ve heard that the planned 3 hour feature film is more likely to be 4 full-length feature films instead. Fingers crossed this time will be the one!
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Letters to my Daughter is a heart-wrenching exploration of the impact crime has on the victim’s friends and family. Ruth is a captivating character, barely coping with the brutal murder of her daughter Lizzie four years ago. Ruth writes to the man she believes killed her daughter in the hope of coming to some closure over her daughter’s death. Cath Staincliffe is well known for her TV work, in particular her creation for ITV the Blue Murder series. Her standalone novel has yet to make it onto our screens, although if there’s anyone fit to write the script then it’s Cath.
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Karen Rose’s Scream for Me deals with a complex plot as Daniel Vartanian discovers evidence of a crime in photographs that his deceased brother took. Determined to track down the victims and help them get justice, Daniel crosses paths with Alex who is the spitting image of one of the victims in the photographs. But as the plot unravels, Daniel and Alex learn that things may not be as they seem and events quickly escalate out of control. The tension and unique plot devices make Karen’s novels ideal for the big screen – someone put a call into Hollywood!
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Set at the point in history when Henry VIII had proclaimed himself Supreme Head of the Church and Thomas Cornwell was sent to investigate and dissolve the monasteries, this book naturally builds a feeling of danger and suspense. Hunchback lawyer Shardlake makes an intriguing investigator as he attempts to solve the murder of one of Thomas Cromwell’s commissioners. The Shardlake series has been described as “horrible histories for grown-ups”, and has gone onto achieve tremendous success. The series was dramatised by BBC Radio 4 back in 2012, and there has been talk of a TV series although we’re yet to see it hit our screens.
Click here for more from C. J. Sansom.
Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist has had a hugely successful year in 2014 and has still got people talking this year. The story is set in 1686 Amsterdam as Nella’s new husband presents her with a cabinet-sized replica of their home. A miniaturist is employed to furnish it but soon Nella starts to notice more striking similarities between the replica and their home than she’d expected. The build up and suspense is gripping as Nella starts to uncover dangerous secrets. Company Pictures have in fact optioned the TV rights for The Miniaturist and plan to make it into a high-end television drama series.
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The drama of the courtroom with the unsettling events that lead up to the crime makes this book a compelling read from the very beginning. Happy and successful Yvonne finds herself on trial for murder and an impulsive and out-of-character affair with a stranger now becomes a relevant story to relay to the jury. Yvonne narrates the story from the dock, alternating between the trial and the events beforehand. The slow unravelling of details would surely make this story a gripping film narrative, although Yvonne’s casting choice would require some consideration to maintain that wavering allegiance with her throughout.
Click here for more from Louise Doughty.
This debut book from Helen Cadbury turned a few heads when it was released back in 2013, even going on to be the joint winner of the Northern Crime Award. The book has now been taken over by international publishers Alison & Busby and has been re-published this year, before the second in the series – Bones in the Nest – comes out in the summer. A complex story that deals with a lot of difficult issues, the twists and turns kept us hooked until the end. Young community support worker Sean Denton makes an interesting lead with his empathetic interest in the victims and the portrayal of class divides would make for gripping viewing.
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A stag night prank goes horribly wrong after 4 friends bury the stag alive in a coffin, intending to return for him later, but are killed in a traffic accident before they can dig him up. Detective Roy Grace makes his debut as he investigates the case, alongside the case of his own missing wife. Peter James has been heavily involved with films already and in fact he’s had 3 of his books adapted for TV in the 90’s. Both BBC Scotland and ITV have shown as interest in TV series adaptations and there was talk to suggest a Dead Simple feature film back in 2012. Most recently though, Peter has ventured into the world of theatre, with The Perfect Murder touring twice last year and Dead Simple starting a 26 week tour back in January.
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The first book in the Amy Lane mysteries series, Rosie Claverton offers us a truly unconventional crime fighting duo with agoraphobic Amy and ex-con Jason. Amy has inherited more money than she can spend and so now spends her time helping the police using her IT skills. She monitors online leads, digital footprints and even taps into Cardiff’s CCTV cameras to track criminals, but when she’s asked to help catch a serial killer, Amy realises she can’t do everything behind a computer screen. Cue the reluctant involvement of ex-convict Jason who has recently taken on a job as Amy’s cleaner, and also cue a fantastic flawed but brilliant partnership. The role of the digital word in catching criminals gives this book a new and exciting edge and if the casting is right then we think Amy and Jason would make incredible on-screen partners.
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The Murder Bag is Detective Max Wolfe’s debut appearance as he tracks a number of violent murders involving old attendees of an exclusive private school. The tension builds throughout the story as the killer draws closer and closer to Max, leaving a bloody trail behind him. Detective Max Wolfe has proved incredibly popular among crime fans, and many can’t wait to see him in the flesh on the big screen.
Click here for more from Tony Parsons.
Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series has long been thought of as the book that broke forensic science into the mainstream public interest. Cornwell spent 6 years working in a chief medical examiner’s office and uses her experience to write about Kay who works as a chief medical examiner herself, and then moves on to become a private forensic consultant. A Kay Scarpetta film has long been a point of discussion, with film deals apparently agreed back in 2013. The film is still a work-in-progress and there have even been a few public comments from Patricia about how slow the process has been. We’re sure it’ll be worth it in the end.
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The debut novel from Elizabeth Forbes grabbed many thriller fans’ attention with its twists and turns and relatable characters. A domestic noir that satisfied the interest in troubled marriages that Gone Girl stirred up, the story is tense and heartfelt. Trouble starts for Cass and her husband Dan when new neighbour Ellie arrives. Ellie is writing a novel, but her story is hauntingly similar to Cass’s life and even suggests that Ellie might have her eye on Dan. But with Ellie the apple of the village’s eye, Cass’s doubts about the new arrival are cast aside and she starts to even doubt herself. The unreliable narrator would surely make this a gripping story for the big screen.
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With a huge fan base and constant calls for his books to be made into films, it’s no surprise that Simon Kernick has claimed the #6 spot with his fifth crime thriller ‘Relentless’ (look out for ‘Siege’ and ‘The Business of Dying’ later in the poll). The second book in the Tina Boyd series, Relentless was the bestselling thriller in the UK in 2007 and received great reviews from the press. Back in 2011 Simon Kernick announced to his Facebook fans that he had sold the option to adapt six of his books for either TV or film but that there was no “major movement” yet. The announcement did suggest that Relentless was top of the list and that someone was believed to be working on the script for it, but since then updates have been few.
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The first book in the Peter Grant series, Rivers of London see’s young police officer Peter Grant recruited into a small and little-known branch of the metropolitan police that deals with the supernatural. The book takes influence from the history of London – both mythological and otherwise – to create a truly mesmerising tale. Back in 2013 there was talk of adapting the book for TV, but there has been little news since.
Click here for more from Ben Aaronovitch.
Despite Gone Girl the film being released in 2014 to great critical acclaim, it’s reached #4 on our chart. Either you’ve all been living under a rock or you just loved the book/film so much you wanted to make the point of just what a good book-turned-film it was. Now thought of as the domestic noir that started our obsession with crumbling marriages and domestic power struggles in thrillers, Gone Girl received great critical acclaim when the book was released in 2012, and again when the film – starring Ben Affleck as Nick and Rosamund Pike as Amy - came out in 2014. The DVD was released in January 2015 so there’s no excuse not to catch up on this fantastic book adaptation.
Click here for more from Gillian Flynn.
Jo Nesbo’s seventh book in the Harry Hole series, The Snowman is at #3, although Jo Nesbo was our most voted for author in the poll. Harry investigates what could be Norway’s first official serial killer in the book, as a high number of wives and mothers are reported missing and a pattern of a snowman at the scene of the crimes starts to emerge. Jo Nesbo is no stranger to having his books adapted into films, and in fact a film based on The Snowman has been on the cards for a few years now. The project has struggled to get off the ground, but with news that Michael Scorsese has dropped out as director and Tomas Alfredson – the Swedish director of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – due to take over, hopefully there will be more news to come soon.
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The Cuckoo’s Calling is the first book in the Cormoran Strike series, released under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. It was later revealed in The Sunday Times that the book was written by J. K. Rowling, although the novel received glowing praise in its own right before the bestselling author’s identity was uncovered. The book follows one-legged private investigator Cormoran Strike as he investigates a model’s apparent suicide and tries to turn around a run of bad luck in his personal life. Towards the end of 2014 it was confirmed that the BBC would be adapting the book and its sequel – The Silkworm – into a TV series. Set in a number of diverse London locations, we can’t wait to see this crime thriller brought to life on our TVs.
Click here for more from Robert Galbraith.
And the crime book you would most like to see adapted into a film is...
Terry Hayes’ ‘I Am Pilgrim’ has claimed the top spot with its fast, action-packed, ambitious plot that takes us all around the globe. Although this is Terry Hayes’ debut book, he has previously worked as a journalist and screenwriter, winning over 20 film/TV awards in his career. And so perhaps it comes as no surprise that his story jumps off the page and his characters seem born for the big screen. Well voters will be pleased to hear that MGM bought the movie rights for I Am Pilgrim back in July 2014 and are planning to create a series of films along the same lines as the Bond franchise. When asked, Terry Hayes has said his top choices to play Pilgrim would be Daniel Day-Lewis or Brad Pitt. Who would you cast? Let us know in the comments box below.
Click here for more from Terry Hayes.
Take a look through the full list of crime books you suggested would make good films:
32. Barry Eisler - A Clean Kill in Tokyo
74. Mark Edwards - The Magpies
86. Theresa Ragan - Abducted
112. C. M. Lockley - Another Boring Summer Holiday
119. A. J. Waines - Girl on a Train
154. Heather Atkinson - Breaking Away
160. Martin Jensen - A Man's Word
166. David Jackson - Cry Baby