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Believe it or not, the crime fiction genre has always been a fertile ground for cinematic adaptations. Reading about high-stakes tensions in modern thrillers or immersing yourself in the dark alleys of suspenseful crime fiction stories simply makes us wonder: how well would these stories do in a movie adaptation?

Although many of these captivating stories have felt the touch of Hollywood directors, some untouched gems remain. The best thing about these gems is that they are still ripe for adaptation.

Here, we explore six such suspenseful crime novels that we would love to see as cinematic masterpieces.

The Poet

Suspenseful crime fiction has a way of gripping our hearts, and Michael Connelly’s “The Poet” is no different.

Fun Fact: Harry Bosch (an important character) is also a central figure in the Amazon series “Bosch.”

Published in 1996, “The Poet” is the first of Connelly’s novels that feature Crime Reporter Jack McEvoy. Considered one of the author’s finest works, this novel follows Jack McEvoy, a Denver journalist who investigates his own brother’s death, initially ruled a suicide. As the case develops, McEvoy uncovers a pattern of similar deaths, which ultimately leads him to a sinister serial killer.

Anyone who enjoys a pulse-pounding serial killer chase would agree that the unexpected twists, McEvoy’s relentless pursuit of justice, and the story’s pace all together call for a shot at the big screens.

In The Woods

Next in line for our list of suspenseful crime fiction ready for movie adaptation is Tana French’s debut novel, “In The Woods.” In this book, we meet Detective Rob Ryan as he investigates the murder of a twelve-year-old girl.

It is a psychological mystery. A case that unsettlingly overlaps with Ryan’s past—taking him on a trip down memory lane—a childhood incident where he was found in the same woods, bloodied and unable to recall what happened.

The twist?

His childhood friends were never found.

The novel’s deep psychological layers and atmospheric setting are the attributes that make it stand out in the vast genre of suspenseful crime fiction. The dual mystery of the current murder and the protagonist’s past presents a complex narrative arc that would translate well on screen—perfect for a suspenseful thriller.

Sharp Objects

You might be familiar with “Gone Girl” or “Dark Places.” These are Gillian Flynn’s works that have received their cinematic dues. However, his debut novel “Sharp Objects” has only been adapted into a TV series.

The plot speaks for itself, reminding us how it could make a compelling feature film. It follows Camille Preaker, a journalist who returns to her hometown to report on the murders of two young girls. Preaker is, however, a deeply flawed and complex character and is compelled to revisit her traumatic past.

The novel offers an in-depth exploration of family dynamics, mental illness, and the protagonist’s struggle with her past.

The Secret History

Adding to our list of suspenseful crime fiction stories is Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History.” Although the book is not a traditional crime novel, it does offer a compelling exploration of crime and its repercussions.

The story takes us into the lives of a tightly-knit group of college students. This group of elite students studying ancient Greek find themselves in the midst of a murder and begin delving into the ‘why’ rather than the ‘whom’ of the mystery.

Since the novel highlights intellectual and aesthetic aspects, it thoroughly encapsulates themes of morality, elitism, and the consequences of intellectual arrogance, which would do wonders in the cinemas.

The Snowman

Yes, this addition to our list of suspenseful crime fiction stories has already been attempted to adapt. However, there is a problem: many believe the film didn’t do justice to the source material.

Jo Nesbø’s “The Snowman” was “attempted to” be adapted into a film in 2017. The novel (part of Nesbø’s Harry Hole series) is a chilling tale of a detective hunting a serial killer in Norway.

The twist?

This serial killer uses snowmen as his chilling calling card!

Because of the original film’s rushed production and deviations from the plot, it did a disservice to Nesbø’s intricate storytelling. This calls for a faithful rebook that focuses solely on what the novel delivered. Believe us when we say Norway’s eerie, frozen landscapes provide a perfect atmospheric backdrop for a suspenseful winter thriller.

Witches, Bitches, and Wannabe Queens

We always save the best for the end!

Last but least to our collection of suspenseful crime fiction stories ready for movie adaptation is Annie Wall’s “Witches, Bitches, and Wannabe Queens.” There is a shocking discovery at the very beginning of the plot—the lifeless body of a pageant director during the Ms. Senior Springfield Pageant.

Is it an accidental death?

An investigation is certainly due!

And who better to investigate this case than a detective nearing retirement and his partner Lily, who is also the mayor’s daughter?

The investigation soon begins, and complications (involving the contestants) are uncovered. Then, the case takes a major twist. The shady side of the pageant world is exposed alongside the surprising involvement of Ms. Senior Springfield Pageant competitors in the murder chaos.

Witches, Bitches, and Wannabe Queens” is perfect for a movie adaptation because:

  • Shocking Opening: The discovery of a body hooks the audience from the start.
  • Social Commentary: It delves into beauty pageant culture and offers social commentary on aging and beauty standards.
  • Visual Potential: The contrast between pageant glamour and crime offers striking visual opportunities.
  • Plot Twists: The plot promises surprises, especially with the involvement of pageant contestants in the murder.

Witches, Bitches, and Wannabe Queens” is now available on Amazon. Grab your copy today!

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