Sunday, September 15, 2019

Now Starring: The Jefferson Chene Series

Last week I took a shot at casting some recognizable Hollywood actors who would star in a production based on the Jamie Richmond series.

This was triggered by the feature I’ve been running during the summer with characters from other authors making a guest appearance on my blog, and the comment from fellow Motown scribe Don Levin about who should star in his mystery series.

While I don’t normally have a specific person in mind when creating a character, I have been known to borrow a trait or two from people I know or those who catch my eye, either in the general public or on the screen. With that in mind, it’s only appropriate that Chene gets his turn at this game. 

I always thought Michael B. Jordan would be an excellent choice for Jefferson Chene.  

Nick Searcy could nail the role of Pappy Cantrell.  

I’m casting Denzell Washington in the role of Ted, the saloonkeeper who inadvertently helped shape Chene’s character during his formative years and remains a close friend.  


Zoe Kravitz would be a good choice for Simone. 

While Jefferson Chene may be a successful detective, he’s not exactly a ladies’ man.  Women aren’t throwing themselves at his feet, or any other part of his anatomy. He does work well with a couple of female detectives, but he’s on unfamiliar ground with Simone, the roommate of the serial killer’s third victim.

Here’s an excerpt from Why 319?   In this scene, Chene and Simone get together one evening for a drink as they continue to get to know each other. 

“I must look like a mess,” Simone said, raking her fingers through her hair.

We were sitting in a booth at the small neighborhood bar called Murphy’s, not far from her apartment. There was room for about forty people in the whole place. Right now, there was just the two of us, a bartender, and two young couples at the far end of the room. The lights were dim. The greasy odor of burgers and fries filled the air. It was a simple place that probably jumped on the weekends or when the college kids were home for the summer.

 I planned to have one drink, take her home, and split. As we were pulling into the lot, a cloud erupted, drenching both of us. She’d made the comment after ordering a glass of wine.

“It’s all a matter of perspective. Cops learn to look at the details from more than one angle. Sometimes, you can stare at something that’s right in front of you and never realize what it is, until you look at it another way.”

Now she smiled at my response. “So what is it you’re trying to say, Jeff?”

“That I don’t think you look like a mess.”

The smile filled her face a little more, touching her eyes. “You could have just come out and said that.”

I gave her a shrug and felt a smile tugging the corners of my mouth. “That would have been too easy.”

The bartender placed two glasses of wine on the table and a bowl of honey-roasted peanuts. We clinked glasses and tasted it, a Chardonnay from a West Michigan vineyard, not bad at all. I could get used to this. Simone set her glass down on a coaster and began to dig in her purse while I sampled the peanuts. I pushed everything else from my mind and focused on her. My eyes flicked to the bar as she opened a compact. I could see her reflection in the mirror behind the bar, checking her own reflection in the compact’s little mirror. Something went skittering across the back of my mind, but I couldn’t catch it. She fluffed her hair, checked her eyes, then returned the compact to her purse and took another dainty sip of wine.

We nibbled the peanuts, drank the wine, and made small talk. In less time than I realized it, our glasses and the bowl were empty. We were watching each other, the unspoken question hanging in the air between us. I paid the bill and walked her outside. She took my hand as we reached the door.

We didn’t talk on the way back to her place. The rain continued, following us down the street and into the parking lot. Switching off the car, I turned toward her and caught a whiff of perfume. Closing my eyes, I drew in a deep breath.

“Breathless,” she said, leaning closer.

“What?” We were centimeters apart.

“My perfume, it’s called Breathless.” She moved against me, pressing her lips to mine. Despite my best intentions, I could feel my arms going around her, drawing her close. The kiss lasted several minutes, with neither one of us pulling away. Then Simone leaned back, her eyes somewhat glassy. “Upstairs?”


We didn’t notice that the rain was pounding on the roof as we exited the car. By the time we made it to the shelter of the building, we were soaked. Once inside the apartment, I paused in the doorway, watching the puddle quickly form at my feet. Simone smothered a laugh and ducked into the bathroom. She reappeared, clutching two large towels and pitched them to me.

“You’ll catch pneumonia if you don’t get out of those clothes. Start drying off. I’ll be right back.”

I pulled off my jacket and hung it on the door, and levered off my shoes. The shoulder holster followed. I had managed to remove my sweater when she returned. Simone was wrapped in a thick cotton robe that reached the floor, with a towel twirled around her hair. Clucking like a disappointed mother, she pulled the sweater from my fingers and went into the kitchen. Curious, I followed. She draped it over a chair, then turned the oven on low and opened the door.

“It will dry faster that way. How about the jeans?” She was doing her best to suppress a smile.

“Thanks, but I’ll keep them.”

“Suit yourself.”

I don’t know who moved first. We were locked in another kiss. Suddenly, the kitchen became very warm. I realized my hands were operating of their own accord, instinctively untying the belt on her robe, sliding it off her shoulders. I felt Simone’s hands caressing my back, sliding around my waist. There was a snap and the unmistakable sound of a zipper being undone. My jeans were suddenly pooled around my ankles. No man in the world can look suave with his feet tangled in his pants. I kicked them off. Simone stepped back, her eyes full of anticipation. Without a word, she led me to her bed.

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A lot of variety on the music side this week. Here’s a classic from Joe Walsh. 

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