Oline Cogdill
Too often it seems as if novels are optioned by for movies but never get made. Sometimes those options are reoptioned and then reoptioned and the film never gets made.
That won't be the case of The Lincoln Lawyer, Michael Connelly's award-winning 2005 novel about a lawyer who conducts his business in the back of his Lincoln Town Car.
altFilming began in July on the movie adaptation. Matthew McConaughey stars as Mickey Haller, the lawyer comfortablely ensconsed in his backseat. In The Lincoln Lawyer, Mickey defends a wealthy Beverly Hills playboy accused of molesting a woman.
Although he sees the case in terms of how many billable hours he'll rack up, Mickey also comes to believe that his client may be that rarity -- an innocent man.

True to Connelly's work, The Lincoln Lawyer is a multi-layered novel. The realities of being a lawyer and the practicalities of the law itself get a workout in Connelly's novel, which won the Macavity from the Mystery Readers International and the Shamus from the Private Eye Writers of America. It was also nominated for an Edgar Award, from the Mystery Writers of America, and for an Anthony, from Bouchercon, among other nominations.
By the way, Connelly's next novel The Reversal, to be published in October, will feature Mickey Haller and Harry Bosch.

The Lincoln Lawyer also will feature Marisa Tomei as Maggie McPherson, with Brad Furman directing from a screenplay by John Romano. Other co-stars include Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy, Bryan Cranston, John Leguizamo, Michael Pena, Trace Adkins, and Katherine Moennig.
The Lincoln Lawyer is scheduled to be released Spring 2011. It's on, so it must be true.
PHOTO: Matthew McConaughey, Michael Connelly on the set of The Lincoln Lawyer. Photo Credit: Saeed Adyani
Oline Cogdill
The recent blog about authors going on the USO tour in Iraq to visit the troops made me think about how the mystery genre has handled war and its aftermath.

And I think that the mystery genre has done the best at depicting war, its affect on soldiers and civilians and on countries. I don't think mainstream fiction has done as good a job or as an intensive job as have mystery writers.

It can be from a mention of a character's background -- as Michael Connelly does with Harry Bosch, a Vietnam War veteran, or the creation of an iconic character as David Morrell did with First Blood, which introduced Rambo.
It doesn't matter which war, either, because the issues are the same, no matter the era. Our complicated feelings about war don't really change through the years; soliders during and after World War II dealt with the same issues that affect our men and women who have fought and are fighting in the Persian Gulf.
Here are just a few authors who have used war as a background to intriguing mysteries. The trick that each of these authors has mastered is making the reader care about an individual killing amid so much death. So the theme that emerges in each of these mysteries is that every death matters.

In no particular order:
John Connolly: The Whisperers -- Connolly uses his series about the volatile private detective Charlie Parker to show a different side of the stress and fears that soldiers cope with returning from Iraq.

Charles Todd: The Red Door -- Todd again shows that this series about Ian Rutledge, a battle-fatigued World War I veteran and Scotland Yard detective, is as fresh and original as when the shell-shocked detective debuted 12 novels ago.

Charles Todd: An Impartial Death -- While Todd's series about Ian Rutledge looks at post-WWI, this new series about British army nurse Bess Crawford is set two years into the Great War when an end, let alone a victory, seemed impossible.

Kelli Stanley: City of Dragons --  Stanley never misses a beat as she also shows San Francisco’s hidden corners, seething emotions in the days before WWII. Stanley expertly depicts an America that will be pulled into a world war within a year and city fractured by racial prejudice against the Japanese.

James R. Benn: Rag and Bone -- Benn's fifth WWII novel featuring Lt. Billy Boyle is wrapped around politics and war secrets as the story involves a look at the execution of thousands of Polish officers in the Katyn Forest.

Sara Paretsky: Body Work -- The Chicago author looks at post-war stress of young veterans of the Iraqi war in her 14th novel featuring tough private detective V.I. Warshawski. 

altJacqueline Winspear: The Marriage of Love and Death -- The aftermath of WWI and how it changed British society are realized through the plucky heroine Maisie Dobbs.

Rennie Airth: The Dead of Winter -- Airth’s third police procedural delivers an astute view of London and rural England during the waning days of World War II.

Christopher Rice: Blind Fall -- Rice looks at gay soldiers as a Marine teams up with the lover of his murdered captain to avenge the death of the man he trusted most.

Yes, this is just a smattering of the many authors who use war in their mysteries. Tell us who are your favorites. 
Oline Cogdill
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No matter what you think of the war in Iraq, the soldiers need our support, respect and concern. Of that, I think there should be no debate.

And there has been a long history of the USO -- the United Service Organization -- providing our troops though the years with entertainment, socialization, recreation and anything to boost their morale.

Now authors are joining the campaign in the first USO tour to feature writers.

During the fall, some of the nation’s New York Times best-selling thriller authors will deploy to the Persian Gulf on a week-long USO tour to visit and uplift troops. The tour, fittingly entitled Operation Thriller, begins with a visit to Washington, D.C., where the group will visit with troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and National Naval Medical Center. The authors will then fly to the Persian Gulf to talk fiction, spread cheer and, most importantly, show their gratitude.

While in the Gulf, the authors will visit multiple posts, sign autographs, pose for photos, and distribute advance copies of their upcoming novels.

Due to security reasons, the countries and tour dates cannot be released at this time.
The authors who are giving of their time to show their support for the troops are:
Steve Berry (The Paris Vendetta, The Charlemagne Pursuit, The Venetian Betrayal, and the upcoming Emperor's Tomb);

David Morrell (First Blood, in which Rambo was created, The Brotherhood of the Rose, Shimmers);
Doug Preston (The Monster of Florence and Relic, which was made into a No. 1 box office movie);
James Rollins (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and the Sigma Force series including The Doomsday Key);

Andy Harp (A Northern Thunder)
I think this venture is absolutely wonderful. And a good way to show our gratitude is to buy their books so they and other authors can continue to do this.