• June 4, 2013
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Books to Movies: Joseph Spencer’s Dream Cast for Grim

Dream Cast is a new feature at Literarily Speaking! We ask authors to tells us a little bit about their characters and who they think would be perfect to play them if their book was turned into a movie. Today’s guest is Joseph Spencer with his book, Grim.


The Book



In a gritty town rife with organized crime, dirty cops and corrupt politicians, Detective Adam White stands alone as the people’s symbol of justice and hope for a brighter future.  He’s cracked the biggest cases, and stood up to the crime families who’ve torn apart Prairieville with their power struggles. He’s gorgeous, humble and incorruptible; a crime fighter so pure that the locals nicknamed him the White Knight.

What the people don’t know is their reluctant hero is cracking before their eyes. Ten years have passed since a pack of bank robbers gunned down his wife in the street. He’s relentlessly worked every case he could get his hands on since that night with the hopes of finding some link to her killer, but every lead always winds up a dead end. He made a vow on her death bed that he wouldn’t stop looking or move on with his life, personal or otherwise, until her killer was either dead or behind bars.

His obsession is starting to affect his work, including a new set of murders which are eerily similar to cold cases in which a gangland legend called The Reaper is the main suspect. A routine canvas of the area in which the bodies were found led Detective White to Heath Grim, a reclusive millionaire with grisly facial scars and a past which doesn’t quite add up. There’s something about his story which makes Detective White curious to dig deeper into his background.

Just as Detective White closes in on his killer, the mob hatches an elaborate scheme which could cost him everything. In his moment of need, an unlikely ally presents a way out of the plot against him and information on his wife’s killer. However, it leaves Prairieville’s paragon of justice with a moral dilemma. Can he abandon all of the heroic ideals upon which he’s based his life and become the type of man he’s hunted for so long to settle a score with his wife’s killer?



Dream Cast


HemsworthHeath Grim

20-something reclusive millionaire who lives in an apartment complex he owns. He’s tall and strong like Lee Child’s Jack Reacher character, wears a mask in public to hide his facial scars and skin discoloration, has long blonde hair parted in the middle and is a military veteran with a tragic past. Heath’s engaged in a moral dilemma stemming from his deal with an enigmatic supernatural entity, Abaddon. In exchange for help avenging his adopted father’s murder, Heath agrees to execute violent criminals to free the souls of their victims from spiritual limbo. He’s tortured about his agreement. Though Abaddon tries to reason with Heath that he’s doing God’s work, he feels more like the men he’s hunting with each kill. In an attempt to justify his actions, he orchestrates a test for Prairieville’s paragon of justice, Detective Adam White. If Heath can convince White to join him, then he reasons that the work he’s doing must be just.

ACTOR: Chris Hemsworth. Who better than the actor who has already played the mighty Thor to become my sinewy serial killer?

HollowayAdam White

Prairieville’s virtuous detective, nicknamed the White Knight, is in his late 30s/early 40s, attractive, blonde and becoming increasingly unstable. Adam always gets his man, and solves every big case in Prairieville. Every case except for his wife’s murder, that is. He’s hardened by years of fighting the mob, corrupt politicians and dirty cops, and haunted by his inability to find his wife’s killer. He hasn’t moved on personally since his wife died, relentlessly working cases with the hope that he can find a connection which will lead him to justice for his wife. When a grisly crime scene resembles the work of the most notorious killer in town history, Adam fears that the mysterious madman, known only as The Reaper, is about to cut a bloody swath through Prairieville’s seedy underbelly. A plot hatched by crime kingpin Cyrus Black will put a target firmly on Adam’s back, and he’ll soon find out his only ally is a killer.

ACTOR: Josh Holloway. I’m a big fan of Lost, and I think Holloway would be a great fit for the part of my tortured hero after pulling off James “Sawyer” Ford’s tragic storyline.

StrongCyrus Black

The ruthless mafia mogul is tall, bald and strong with a distinctive spider-shaped birthmark and an intimidating presence. Cyrus controls all of Prairieville’s rackets, but uses Black Widow Casino to launder his dirty money while parading himself as a legitimate businessman. The Black crime family is the most powerful organized crime cartel in the world, but Cyrus feels disrespected by other members of the family who run operations in bigger cities like Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. In an attempt to increase his profile within the family and put his thumbprint on Prairieville, Cyrus plots to build a horse racing track and gambling complex. However, his plans to start to unravel because Heath Grim refuses to sell him the land for the racetrack, Adam White is sniffing around his organization while investigating a series of murders and a nosey reporter digs up evidence of bribes to public officials. In his haste to crush all of his enemies, Cyrus ends up uniting them against his cause.

ACTOR: Mark Strong. He’s the consummate villain from Sherlock Holmes, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Stardust and Kick-Ass. He’d bring the right amount of brooding and darkness to a heartless character.

Bruno DiGiorgio

Cyrus’ bruising enforcer used to box under the name of The Bronx Bull in Hell’s Kitchen, but now he’s the most-trusted shakedown man in organized crime. Bruno’s an emotional wreck because his girlfriend Madison becomes a pawn in Cyrus’ scheme against Adam White. Bruno becomes worried that she’s starting to fall for the virtuous detective. Since Cyrus harbors a secret crush on Bruno, it’s possible that he intended to cause a rift between Bruno and Madison all along. However, Cyrus becomes hysterical when Bruno mysteriously disappears.

ACTOR: Mickey Rourke. There are several scenes where Bruno provides comic relief because his nose has been broken so much that it constantly whistles. Yet, Bruno also has to look menacing. I think Mickey could be both intimidating and funny as the aging muscle.


The sultry seductress and star attraction at Masquerade Ball Gentleman’s Club is a perfect twin for Adam White’s late wife, and ironically they roomed together in college. Cyrus Black coerces Madison into his plot against Adam by threatening her children. Cyrus also uses her to control Mayor Terry Sandburg, who loves her more than anything other than cocaine.

ACTRESS: Charlize Theron. Madison’s character exudes sensuality and seduction. She’s got to snare Adam in her trap to ensure the safety of her kids, and keep the mayor wrapped around her finger.

Mayor Terry Sandburg

He may be the top elected official in Prairieville, but his drug addiction and obsession over a stripper has made him nothing more than Cyrus Black’s political puppet. Terry wants to find a way to get out from under Cyrus’ control, but isn’t cunning enough to figure out how. When he finds out Adam has been wooing Madison, Terry is more than happy to help Cyrus in his plot against the White Knight.

ACTOR: Woody Harrelson. The mayor provides a lot of comic relief, and I can’t think of anyone who plays a better idiot than Woody. I’ve loved him since Cheers.

Jeff Wrage

The grieving widower is an everyman sort who co-owns Silent Night Home Security with Heath Grim. His wife, Stefanie, is brutally murdered along with college students at a bar. To add insult to injury, Jeff learns at the hospital that his wife was pregnant, and that the opportunity to become a father was also taken from him. Jeff thinks he knows who murdered his wife and he desperately wants to take matters into his own hands. He seeks out Heath’s help in gaining vengeance, and ultimately must decide whether to condemn an innocent man to get it.

ACTOR: Michael Fassbender. I love his work in just about everything from Inglorious Basterds to X-Men First Class to Prometheus, and I think he’s really strong with conveying emotions. Jeff is an emotional character.

Christopher Sinks

Though he used to be a rising star in the department, Officer Sinks is now a slovenly drunk who begrudges Adam his success. They’ve been rivals ever since Adam was promoted to the detective bureau over him. Sinks is bald, overweight, unkempt and often reeks of cigarette smoke and cheap booze. He’s looking for anyway he can to make Adam look bad, and jumps at the chance when it arises.

ACTOR: Michael Chiklis. He’s easily identifiable in a role of a police officer, and I think he has the grit you’d have to have to pull off the part of Sinks.


The Author

Joseph Spencer 2As a boy, Joseph Spencer immersed himself in the deductive logic of Sherlock Holmes, the heroic crime fighting of Batman and Spider-Man, and a taste for the tragic with dramas from poets like Shakespeare and Homer.

Before Joseph took to spinning his own tales, he pursued a career in print sports journalism, graduating summa cum laude from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. He covered such events as NASCAR’s Subway 500 race in Martinsville, the NBA Draft Camp in Chicago, the Junior College World Series, and Minor League Baseball’s Midwest League All-Star Game during a ten-year career throughout the Midwest. Now, he works as an emergency telecommunications specialist with an Illinois police department. The combination of years of writing experience with a background working with law enforcement professionals gave rise to his writing aspirations.

Joseph was married Dr. Amy (Waggoner) Spencer, an accomplished veterinary doctor, on March 14, 2012. He received word his debut novel was accepted by his publisher, Damnation Books, the next day. Joseph and Amy look forward to their honeymoon in Paris in September 2012. Murphy, a 15-year-old orange tabby, is perhaps the most vocal member of the family. The Spencer family enjoys reading Charlaine Harris, George R.R. Martin, Mary Janice Davidson, and most paranormal stories. The Spencers also enjoy quoting movie lines from “The Princess Bride”, “Rain Man”, “Bridesmaids”, and “Office Space”.

His latest book is the paranormal crime thriller, Grim.

Visit his website at www.JosephSpencer.com.

Connect & Socialize with Joseph!


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