I’m delighted to welcome Catherine Ryan Howard today to Between My Lines. Her standalone crime/thriller – Distress Signals – launches today. I thought that Catherine sharing her top 10 Crime/Thriller Movies would give you all a feel for what she is in to and also be handy as I love movie recommendations! Double win 🙂
PS – review coming soon too for Distress Signals!
Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard
Published by Atlantic Books Ltd on May 5th 2016
Genres: Mystery & Detective, General
'There's no evidence of a murder, but a person is missing. And what's a missing person minus a body? Not a murder. Oh, no. Never a murder. It's a disappearance.'
The day Adam Dunne's girlfriend, Sarah, fails to return from a Barcelona business trip, his perfect life begins to fall apart. Days later, the arrival of her passport and a note that reads 'I'm sorry - S' sets off real alarm bells. He vows to do whatever it takes to find her.
Adam is puzzled when he connects Sarah to a cruise ship called the Celebrate - and to a woman, Estelle, who disappeared from the same ship in eerily similar circumstances almost exactly a year before. To get the answers, Adam must confront some difficult truths about his relationship with Sarah. He must do things of which he never thought himself capable. And he must try to outwit a predator who seems to have found the perfect hunting ground...
My Top 10 Crime/Thriller Movies by Catherine Ryan Howard
Thanks Trish for letting me share my Top 10 Crime/Thriller Movies. As it turns out, looking at this list, there’s a lot of pairs: the two foreign crime movies, the two courtroom dramas, the two comedic ones… Apparently, I have types when it comes to favourite movies! Hopefully if you haven’t seen these, you can find them on Netflix or playing late at night on TV. In no particular order, here we go:
JAGGED EDGE (1985)
Lawyer Glenn Close defends Jeff Bridges against the charge of murdering his wife but, uh-oh, FEELINGS are about to get in the way. And it’s amazing her shoulder pads don’t… They just don’t make movies like this anymore. No explosions, no CGI, no “he was dead all along” paradigm-shifting twists – just an incredibly clever and compelling murder mystery/courtroom drama with a twisty, airtight plot. I wish I could write a book like this.
PRESUMED INNOCENT (1990)
In a very similar vein: Presumed Innocent. Harrison Ford is the dashing Rusty Sabich, a prosecutor charged with investigating the rape and murder of Carolyn Polhemus, the colleague he just happens to still be obsessed with after their fling got flung. Based on the bestseller by Scott Turow, this movie has a killer twist.
THE SECRETS IN THEIR EYES (2009)
Please note the date – I’m not talking about the very disappointing American remake of this that came out in 2015, but the original Argentinian version, El secreto de sus ojos. This is a fascinating film that is indeed full of secrets and examines not so much the crime of murder itself, but the ramifications it can have on everyone involved: the detective investigating it, the man who loved the victim, the prime suspect. You’ll be haunted by the ending for days.
ANYTHING FOR HER (2008)
You may recognise the plot of this movie, because it was remade in 2010 into The Next Three Days starring Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks. They’re both good, but I think the French original – Pour Elle – is slightly better. Julien and Lisa are blissfully in love and raising their son, Oscar, until early one morning police storm into their apartment and arrest Lisa for the murder of her boss. She’s subsequently sentenced to 20 years in prison for a crime she – and Lucien – maintain that she didn’t commit. This isn’t really about her guilt or innocence, but what Julien does – what he’s prepared to do – to put his family back together. Thrilling stuff, with a kick-in-the-stomach final scene.
I’m not going to say anything about this movie, because I was told to watch it by someone who refused to give me any further details too. It is honestly the most fascinating, hilarious, unnerving and oddly heart-warming movie (about a murder!) that you will ever watch – and it’s all true. Watch it immediately.
THE INFORMANT! (2009)
Again, in a similar vein (what’s with all these pairs?!) The Informant! stars Matt Damon as Mark Whitacre, an employee of ADM who goes to the FBI and tells them that the company are involved in price-fixing in the lysine industry, apparently a serious crime. This is another real-life case and another comedy, because Whitacre has a few secrets of his own. A surprising delight.
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991)
But enough with the black humour – let’s get back to the darkness. This is surely the mother of them all: The Silence of the Lambs. I don’t need to tell you anything about this one because you know it all already, but suffice to say even twenty-five years later, it still holds up as one of the most genuinely chilling movies of all time. That intercut scene where the FBI SWAT team are outside the house, and Buffalo Bill’s doorbell is ringing… [shivers]
THE DEPARTED (2006)
Not just one of my Top 10 favourite crime/thriller movies, but one of my Top 10 movies of all time. This remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Internal Affairs has an incredibly intricate, interweaving plot that’s brought to life by an array of Hollywood heavyweights, from Martin Scorsese in the director’s chair to the acting talents of Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Mark Walberg, Leonardo di Caprio and Matt Damon. I could re-watch this all day. Masterful.
ARLINGTON ROAD (1999)
A thriller in the true sense of the word, this movie has only become more timely and relevant – sadly – as time has gone on. Jeff Bridges, in his second appearance on this list, is a recently widowed university professor of history currently teaching a class on terrorism, who begins to suspect that his new neighbours – played by the wonderful Joan Cusack and Tim Robbins – are planning a terror attack. What I love most about this movie is the plotting. Everything fits into place like a jig-saw puzzle at the end. Well worth a watch.
THE GIFT (2015)
I decided to end on a more recent release, which – lucky for you – has just come to Netflix. The less said about it the better, but this clever, clever movie never stops surprising you. (Or scaring you. You WILL jump.) What’s really great about it is that it’s not so much its twists, turns and shocks that are impressive (although they are) – it’s the movie’s ideas, the questions it poses. Can people ever really change? How much damage can a mere rumour do? Just how corrosive can ideas become? You’ll be thinking about the answers long after the credit roll.