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Our recommended summer 2024 crime fiction Explore now

From bookshelf to box office in 2016

While you could brainstorm, be imaginative, come up with ideas, rewrite them, test them and make completely original motion pictures, it’s a whole lot easier to just buy the rights to book and adapt them. You could call the movie industry lazy. Or you could be kind and say, ‘the material’s already out there, why not use it?’

As crime fiction buffs, we always approach movie adaptations with a little trepidation. Sure, Hollywood could make a fantastic film out of one of our favourite books – or they could really make of a hash of it. We’ve gone through the crime novels making a leap from book to film in 2016 and picked out six that we think might just cut the mustard. See what you think…

book to film 2016The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Could we be any more excited for this film? Paula Hawkins’s phenomenal bestseller was one of the most confident and outstanding thrillers of recent years and has sold in its millions – so we have high hopes for the adaptation that’s coming our way this autumn. The story follows Rachel, a woman who follows the same routine every day – until she sees something shocking through the window of her commuter train. Starring Emily Blunt in the main role, The Help director Tate Taylor’s film features stellar support from the likes of Luke Evans, Lisa Kudrow and Édgar Ramirez. Watch the trailer and find out about Paula’s inspiration for the book here.

Release date: 5th October

book to film 2016Our Kind of Traitor by John le Carré

Commissioned and filmed before the BBC’s slick version of le Carré’s classic The Night Manager, this spy thriller sees Ewan McGregor take up the lead role of Perry Makepeace, a university lecturer caught up in the murky world of intelligence, money laundering, espionage and the Russian mafia. Described by one fiction reviewer as ‘part vintage John le Carré and part Alfred Hitchcock’, it’s a hugely entertaining thriller so we’re expecting big things from the film. Support comes from Bond actress Naomie Harris, Damian Lewis and the ever-excellent Stellan Skarsgard.

Release date: 13th May

book to film 2016Inferno by Dan Brown

It’s been a full decade since Ron Howard adapted Dan Brown’s literary behemoth The Da Vinci Code for popcorn lovers, and seven years since he made the follow-up, Angels & Demons. This year sees the long-awaited third cinematic outing, with Tom Hanks donning the toupee once again as Symbology expert Dr. Robert Langdon. This time around he’s pairing up with The Theory of Everything’s Oscar-nominated actress Felicity Jones to solve his most head-scratching case yet. Despite originally being scheduled to hit cinemas last Christmas, the movie was shifted to avoid clashing with box office dominator Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Release date: 14th October

book to film 2016The Shack by William P. Young

This notorious book has shifted tens of millions of copies throughout the world since its release back in 2007. And now it’s finally getting the big screen treatment. What starts off as a generic serial killer thriller soon turns into something of a religious story when it seems that the central character, a man whose child was killed by a crazed child murderer, begins talking with God. The novel stirred up debate in its native US for its themes and has been simultaneously thought as cloyingly pro-Christianity and ‘heresy’ at the same time. The movie, starring Avatar’s Sam Worthington, is likely to court slightly less controversy on its release.

Release date: tbc


book to film 2016Jack Reacher: Never Go Back by Lee Child

The first Jack Reacher movie, cleverly entitled Jack Reacher, was a bit of a leftfield hit. Sure, it starred Tom Cruise in the main role of Jack, so it wasn’t exactly an underground effort – but who could have expected such an entertaining ride. It was a real throwback action thriller, and one with brains too. So there’s a big audience waiting for this follow-up, which is based on Child’s eighteenth Reacher book of the same name. Edward Zwick’s flick is due out in late October.

Release date: 21st October


book to film 2016The Infiltrator by Robert Mazur

I’ve saved my favourite for last here with the film version of Robert Mazur’s excellent true crime read, The Infiltrator. The book’s sub-title explains the plot better than I ever could – ‘My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar’s Medellín Cartel’. Ex-Federal Agent Mazur is played by Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston. He is at once the fed and author Mazur and also ‘Bob Musella’, his shady money-laundering expert alias. It’s Blow meets Donnie Brasco, but without the Johnny Depps.

Release date: tbc


So there you have it, crime-lit fans. Of course, there’ll be lots of great books heading your way this year – but a few decent films to look out for too. Is there anything that we’ve missed off our list? Let us know in the comments below!

Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

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