Sunday, September 8, 2019

Now Starring!

Over the course of the summer, I’ve been running a feature on the blog, where characters from other authors have stopped by for a visit.  This has been a very popular experiment. It’s my intention to continue it, mixing in some of my own players along the way.

Recently my old buddy Donald Levin had a post on Facebook, asking which Hollywood actor would be best to play his Martin Preuss character if it ever became a movie.  There were a number of entries, some of which I must admit to having no idea who they were.

It’s not uncommon to picture a professional actor in the roles as I’m reading and writing stories. But that got me wondering, who would star in my novels.  So this week, I'm casting the actors to star in the Jamie Richmond series.

Hilarie Burton, who I first discovered as a recurring character in the series “White Collar” would be a perfect Jamie Richmond.

 Diane Lane could easily be her mother, Vera.  

 Olivia Wilde could star as Linda Davis, her best friend.

 Will Patton as Jamie’s step-father Bert. 

Colin Ferguson would be a good pick for Malone. 

There are many other players in each series.  But you get the idea. I’m open to suggestions if you want to send them along.  Next week, I'll share my choices for the Jefferson Chene series.

Casting my characters got me thinking about Linda Davis, who as Jamie’s best friend is first introduced in “Vanishing Act”.  Here’s the scene when she makes her first appearance.

It was the day after Christmas when my cell phone rang. I flipped it open without even a glimpse at the screen. “No refunds, no exchanges,” I said.

    “Jay Kay, where the hell are you?” a sultry voice demanded.


    “I’m standing here in your apartment building, freezing my cute little ass off. And your door is locked. You never ever lock your door.”

    “When did you get back in town?”

    “Two hours ago. Logan and I couldn’t wait to see you. So where are you?”

    I gave her directions to the new place. Linda was on her way.

Someone far smarter than me once told me that if we’re lucky, we’ll get to have one true friend who will always be with us, no matter what’s going on in our lives. They may not be in attendance each day, and there may be months when you don’t speak or get to see them face to face, but deep down you know they will always be there for you. And you’ll be there for them. Turns out, I found my true friend when I was six years old.

    Linda and I met in the first grade and we became inseparable. A teacher once remarked that we were ‘twin daughters of different mothers’. I honestly had no idea what she meant. It was years before I took it as a compliment. Linda and I bonded. We cried on each other’s shoulders. We flirted with the same boys, all through elementary school, high school, and college. I was her maid of honor when she tied the knot, and the first person she called when she was getting divorced. We never bothered with pinkie swearing, a blood oath, or the spit-in-your-palm-before-the-handshake routine. We didn’t need it. We just knew.

    As I ran from room to room doing a quick clean up from the sexual romps Malone and I had enjoyed before he went to work his shift at the State Police post, I realized Linda and I had a lot of catching up to do. On my way past the bathroom, I grabbed a damp bath towel.

    In early October, Linda had taken a leave of absence from her job as a history teacher at the high school in Northville. Her mother, Gracie, had fallen and broken her hip. Years ago, Gracie moved to Raleigh, North Carolina to get away from the Michigan winters. Gracie had no desire to live in Florida, an area she considered nothing more than ‘God’s waiting room’, but she liked the warmer climate of Raleigh just fine. Knowing that her mother would need assistance following her surgery, Linda hadn’t blinked twice about taking the time off to be with her. The school agreed to her absence. She was due back at the blackboards with the first classes in January.

    I heard the thump of a car door and a great deal of noise. Opening the front door, I was nearly bowled over by Logan. His enthusiastic greetings can be overwhelming. Kneeling in the doorway, I wrapped my arms around him as he covered my face with wet, sloppy kisses.

    “Logan, baby, I’ve missed you.”

    He didn’t verbalize a response, but I could tell he was happy to see me. Logan’s a golden retriever, the most well-behaved dog I’ve ever known. I rubbed his coat with the towel, and then wiped his paws so he wouldn’t track snow or mud through the house. Once I released him, he scurried off to investigate.

    “Jay Kay, you look fantastic,” Linda said as she swept me into her arms.

    We hugged for several minutes without saying another word. Good friends can do that. At length, we went into the kitchen to make some tea. There was so much to talk about I didn’t know where to start.

    On Christmas Eve, while Malone was at work, I had dismantled my cherry kitchen table and brought it from the apartment in stages. There was no way I wanted to have our first, true meal, Christmas dinner to boot, while sitting at a card table and folding chairs. Linda got cozy, shedding her scarf and winter coat, while I got the kettle boiling.

    I took a good look at her. As happens every so often, a flare of jealousy flittered across my mind. I couldn’t help it. She was so damn gorgeous.

    Linda is about five feet, five inches tall, which is two inches shorter than me. But there’s no mistaking the physical differences between us. Where I have a narrow body and very meager curves, Linda is blessed with both va-va and voom. She’s slender and curvaceous, a result of great genes, which makes her hourglass figure that much more incredible. Topping it off is a thick mane of curly, dark brown hair that rolls about her shoulders every time she turns her head. When the humidity is up, the curls just intensify.

If she wasn’t my best friend, I’d probably hate her strictly on principle.

    But it’s Linda’s face that can stop traffic, or halt conversations mid-word. Her features are the envy of fashion models. A narrow, aquiline nose, sparkling, baby blue eyes, and a Cupid’s bow mouth complete the package. There is nearly always a hint of mischief on her face, as if she’s in on a secret that if you’re really lucky, she’ll share with you. And her eyes can look right through you and touch your soul.

Music this week comes from a Van Morrison classic.

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