Really enjoyed my time on Shelby Township TV “Chatting with Patrice”!
I recently attended ThrillerFest, the premier conference for thriller writers held annually in New York City. Here are a few of my favorite pics!
Because one launch party is never enough . . .
Romeo District Library, Romeo, MI
Aunt Agatha’s Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI
Happy pub day to me! My original novel based on the television series The Killing publishes today!
When firefighters respond to a suspected meth explosion at a trailer park, they discover a man’s body in a neighboring trailer, unburned but with terrible head wounds. The meth cooker lies in critical condition, and undercover narcotics officer Stephen Holder feels a kinship with the child the man leaves behind.
Then another man’s body is discovered in a shipping container at the Port of Seattle, shot execution-style. For Homicide Detective Sarah Linden, two cases soon become one, and she must unravel a complex web of addiction, greed, and betrayal to reveal a killer.
A terrific read . . . with good plot twists, red herrings, and heartbreaking details essential to any good noir.” — Aunt Agatha’s Bookstore
Shelby Township author writes tie-in novel to AMC series ‘The Killing’
by Detroit Free Press Special Writer Kurt Anthony Krug
When Karen Dionne was asked if she’d be interested in writing a tie-in novel to the AMC series “The Killing,” the author confessed she hadn’t even heard of the show.
“It airs on cable and we don’t get cable,” said Dionne, 61, of Shelby Township. A 1971 alumna of Grosse Pointe North High School, Dionne wrote the thriller novels “Freezing Point” and “Boiling Point.”
“I saw the pilot episode and liked the show. I really liked it,” she said. “Before I was even approved to write the book, I quickly got hooked on the show.”
Produced by Fox Television Studios and based on the Danish crime drama “Forbrydelsen,” “The Killing” chronicles the homicide investigations of detectives Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) and Sarah Linden (Mirielle Enos) in Seattle. The show debuted in 2011 and was canceled twice but revived twice. The fourth and final season is slated for an Aug. 1 release through Netflix.
“I was hired to write it in 2011. You’re given three months to write the book and it comes out 6-9 months later,” explained Dionne. “The first time it was canceled, so was my book deal. The second time it was canceled, it was actually canceled the day after I turned in the finished manuscript. That was a low moment; I had only one day to be happy. … That’s really quite unheard of in television land to be canceled twice and picked up twice. When I heard it was being renewed again, that was pretty exciting. The book needs the show to augment it.”
“Uncommon Denominator” serves as a prequel to the TV series. In it, firefighters discover a body with fatal head wounds when responding to a meth explosion at a trailer park. Another body — shot execution-style — is found in a shipping container at the Port of Seattle. Det. Linden is assigned to the latter case and learns both murders are connected.
Dionne spoke with the Free Press about “Uncommon Denominator.”
QUESTION: How did you come up with the plot?
ANSWER: It’s been an interesting process. I had to come up with several story ideas. Fox selected the idea I had for a prequel. The next step was for me to write a detailed outline. … Once my editor approved it, she sent it to Fox and they had to approve it too. It was a two-step process. … I had a conference call with the show’s executive producers (including Veena Sud) and other creative people to discuss the direction of the book.
Q: Did you have access to scripts?
A: As the second season was being filmed, (Fox) sent me the scripts before they were produced and aired. I had to sign a nondisclosure form. It was very helpful to see the scripts because I could read their dialogue in written form and see the stage direction. Fox set me up with a password to watch the episodes any time I needed to.
Q: Were you given a “Killing” bible?
A: As I watched the episodes, I created a bible for the show. Any time a name or detail was mentioned, I’d jot it down so I can get it correct. I was allowed to use any information that was revealed in the first two seasons. I couldn’t create a new backstory because it would affect future episodes and everything was carefully coordinated. The book supports the show; it wasn’t supposed to take over for the show in any way.
Q: Do you have to watch the show to enjoy the book?
A: “The Killing: Uncommon Denominator” is a complete story in itself, so while fans of the show will recognize the characters and thus appreciate the story on another level, readers need not be familiar with the show to enjoy the book.
Q: Was it easier writing licensed characters? Or harder?
A: In a lot of ways it’s easier because the characters are already fully developed. You can easily see their personalities by watching the show. It made my job easier because I didn’t have to come up with any conflicts; those had already been created.
Q: What was one of the challenges of writing this book?
A: One thing that was intimidating — many of my thriller-writer friends are fans of the show. The writing is so good. … As I was writing the book, I realized these authors who are fans of the show are also excellent writers and would one day be reading my book. I hope they like it. … It’s an honor and privilege to be the author chosen to write this book because “The Killing” is such an excellent drama.
Thanks, Aunt Agatha’s Bookstore! Looking forward to visiting June 21!
The Killing: Uncommon Denominator, Karen Dionne, Titan Books, $7.99. Reviewed by Robin Agnew, Aunt Agatha’s Bookstore.
Karen Dionne joins us to launch what is not really an adaptation of the AMC show “The Killing”, but a prequel using the characters and setting familiar to any fan of the show. Reading the cover, it’s interesting to see the progression: “The Killing” began as a Danish show, “Forbrydelsen”, was developed by Veena Sud for U.S. television, and is now a novel by Karen Dionne. At that point of removal I think the work becomes so far from the source that it’s now Dionne’s own.
For those of you not fans of the show, it’s a police show set in Seattle, featuring the uncompromising, workaholic, single mother Detective Sarah Linden; and the slightly less tightly wound Detective Steven Holder, back from working undercover. Dionne goes backward in time from the show.
While the book reads and is very similar in feel to the TV show with the characters established as leads also the leads in the book, there’s a bit more lightness in Dionne’s take on things. I found that very welcome. The sun even shines in rainy, dreary Seattle in one scene, something that never happened on the show. In this iteration Detective Sarah Linden and Detective Steven Holder haven’t actually met. Holder is still undercover and Linden is still in a relationship with Rick (fans of the show know this is doomed).
The TV series is very noir in that few of the actors in the unfolding drama can be trusted, except for the two cops at the center. And it’s noir in feel – dark and damp with the central characters pretty unhappy, driven folks who are overcoming a great deal of childhood and emotional baggage.
Dionne’s smooth and meticulous story telling style fit in beautifully within her parameters, and as I read, it took on a life of its own. Dionne’s novel is a well put together police procedural and she fills in some of the backstory of both Linden and Holder. By the end of the book, you really can’t wait for them to start working together.
The story concerns a meth cooker whose trailer blows up and two brothers whose bodies are discovered miles apart, but killed within hours of one another. Linden puts the pieces together on her end, and Holder, undercover in a trailer park, close to every tweaker, cooker and dealer in Seattle, has an inside track on the dead cooker. Some of this is familiar to any fan of “Breaking Bad”, of course, but meth isn’t a theme specific to that show. It’s a national plague.
As Linden and Holden delve into the pasts of the dead men they begin to discover unlikely connections. This brisk novel is a terrific read that sped right along; I was captivated by it and quickly stopped thinking about the TV show. I just focused on the story Dionne was telling. She supplies some good plot twists, red herrings and heartbreaking details essential to any good noir. This is a well done read.