“Randall Silvis is a masterful storyteller.”
The New York Times Book Review
“The Ryan DeMarco Mystery series by Randall Silvis sets a new standard for noir mystery, a standard not soon to be scaled by any other author any time soon.”
Susan Wingate, host of Dialogue: Between the Lines, Authors on the Air
The following is a dramatic film series proposal, based upon the critically acclaimed best-selling Ryan DeMarco Mystery Series by Randall Silvis, published by Sourcebooks/Landmark and Sourcebooks/Poisoned Pen, 2017-2022 and beyond.
Throughout the six novels and one novella of the critically acclaimed Ryan DeMarco Mystery series, the human drama of the characters’ relationships and personal struggles plays out against a backdrop of small-town violence, depravity, and murder. The series delves deep into a new criminal investigation each season, but it is always about the lives of the main characters, who just happen to live and work in law enforcement and are forced to scuffle, brawl, and do battle with the evil ubiquitous to their profession while also trying to be the best human beings they can be. At the same time, the series shows small-town and rural America for what it is, peopled not only by the rustic and unlettered, as TV would have us believe, but also with its share of intelligent, literate, artistic, and accomplished denizens. With its mix of murder mystery, dark humor, and romance, this series of psychological suspense novels is tailor-made for adaptation as a dramatic cable series similar to HBO's True Detective and FX's Fargo.
In its published form (2019), Incident on Ten-Right Road is a prequel novella that takes place a few years before the action of Two Days Gone, not long after the death of the protagonist’s infant son and the consequent estrangement from his wife. The story would make a perfect two-hour introduction to the flawed and haunted Sergeant Ryan DeMarco of the Pennsylvania State Police as he investigates the murder of 20-year-old Meghan Fletcher, a young woman with a secret life that included two boyfriends (one from the Amish community) and a perverted high school teacher.
In Two Days Gone (2017), the first novel of the series, Sergeant DeMarco, a man on the verge of self-destruction, is tasked with tracking down his best (and only) friend, the best-selling author Thomas Huston, who is suspected of slaughtering his entire family as they slept.
InWalking the Bones (2018), an exhausted and psychologically fragile DeMarco, further damaged by the carnage wreaked in the first novel, embarks on a healing RV road trip with his new love, Trooper Jayme Matson, only to be drawn into a convoluted cold case that will have them tangling with a TV evangelist, assorted pedophiles and drug dealers, a perverted chiropractor, and a Gulf War vet hiding out in the Daniel Boone National Forest.
In A Long Way Down (2019), both DeMarco and Jayme retire from the State Police, then hire on as private investigators with the Sheriff’s Department in Youngstown, Ohio to unravel a triple homicide that appears to be related to a 30-year-old organized crime hit.
In No Woods So Dark as These (to be published in 2020), DeMarco and Jayme, both staggering from the physical and emotional damage done to them at the end of A Long Way Down, and still being taunted and haunted by the fugitive domestic terrorist from that story, take on a gruesome triple-murder case while also wading through the personal troubles of a greenhorn Trooper, a ferociously ambitious freelance journalist, and a retired Trooper who seems intent on self-crucifixion at DeMarco’s expense.
In When All Light Fails (to be published in 2021), DeMarco and Jayme are too scarred and scrambled by what happened to them in No Woods So Dark as These to investigate another crime. But they do agree to take on a “simple” case of investigating a paternity claim made by a nine-year-old girl and her dying mother, only to soon find themselves embroiled in a double-homicide investigation that involves one of the most prominent individuals in the county.
Inthe yet-untitled Book #6 in the series, when a young pastor returns to Mercer County to settle his father’s estate, and discovers a gruesome collection of bones in the pit beneath an old outhouse—a collection a couple of decades deep—DeMarco is enlisted to assist in an attempt to piece together too few pieces in a puzzling mystery surrounding the deceased killer and any surviving accomplices he might have had.
Other Recently Published Properties Available
And Sometimes the Abyss Winks at You, a novella from the collection Incident on Ten-Right Road, Riverdale Avenue Books 2020
Logline: When 20-something blogger Mia Swain starts writing about the fugitive teenage serial killer Grayson Rath, she has no idea that she will become the target of his attention.
Synopsis: Mia Swain, a wannabe novelist, has a loyal following of readers for her lighthearted blog And Sometimes the Abyss Winks at You. Every week she delivers a new 500-word essay about the tribulations of being a modern young woman dealing with dieting, clothes, parents, and cheating boyfriends. But then she reads a news story about 19-year-old Grayson Rath from Athens, Ohio. Rath recently murdered his mother and her boyfriend and has gone on the run. Mia feels strangely compelled to abandon her regular blog in favor of researching and writing about Rath and what made him snap.
In Athens, Mia interviews Rath’s adoptive and biological fathers, his grandmother, his neighbor, and the mail carrier who discovered the bodies of Rath’s victims—his mother, her lover, and three poisoned black labs. The deeper she digs, the more fascinated she becomes. Then Rath murders again, this time in West Virginia, and Mia, now thoroughly obsessed with Rath’s psychotic behavior, heedlessly follows in his wake to interview the victim’s family there.
It isn’t long before Rath, continuing his killing spree, discovers that he has become the subject of Mia Swain’s blog. He leaves a written comment for her—one that hints that he will be coming for her next. She is terrified and secretly calls the FBI without informing her readers that she has done so.
She openly taunts Rath in her blog, and continues to detail his movements and his victims. What her readers do not know is that she is now working with the FBI, hoping to entice Rath into a mistake that will reveal his whereabouts before he can find her and kill again.
Only the Rain, Thomas & Mercer Publishers 2019, an Amazon #1 Best Seller in psychological suspense. LibraryThing.com called this novel “a remarkable heartrending blend of literary, drama, mystery, suspense, and psychological thriller by a gifted storyteller, a master of complicated human souls.”
Logline: When family man and Persian Gulf vet Russell comes to the aid of an injured young woman, he has no idea that the act of kindness will make him and his family the target of her criminally violent brothers.
Synopsis: Family man and war vet Russell is having a bad day. He learns that the rock quarry where he is employed as foreman has been sold to the Chinese, and now, facing a mountain of bills, a new baby, and a bone-dry bank account, he has to ride his motorcycle home in the rain and let his wife and children know that daddy is soon to be unemployed.
Along the way he passes a small, isolated house in the woods, and spots a naked young woman dancing in the rain. With his last glance back at her, he sees her slip and take a hard fall onto her back. He goes to her aid, assesses her injuries—which amount to nothing more than being high as a kite on an unknown drug—and carries her into the house, which quickly reveals itself to be a meth lab. He resists her sexual advances, but the stash of cash in the bathroom shower is a lot harder to resist when you are about to lose your family’s health insurance and your oldest daughter has tonsillitis. He grabs only as much of the dirty money as he needs to get his family from losing their home.
Eventually he learns that the owners of the meth house are a pair of local brothers well-known for their violence and criminal histories. Unfortunately, they learn of his identity too. And soon he is mired in a waking nightmare of escalating threats and harassment that can only end in tragedy to one side or the other or both.
First the Thunder, Thomas & Mercer Publishers 2019, an Amazon Top Ten Bestseller in psychological suspense. Bookreporter called the novel “an impressive work—one of this year’s best—by an author who never disappoints. Set aside a long evening and start reading. You won’t want to stop, even as you reach the end of the story.”
Logline: When truck driver Harvey gets shafted by his brother-in-law in a deal over a vintage Indian motorcycle, he enlists the help of his brothers Stevie and Will to set things right. Unfortunately their plan of revenge goes awry when they stumble upon a shocking family secret that could spell catastrophe for all of their lives.
Synopsis: Life in a small town with a dying economy isn’t easy. Middle brother Will’s shot-and-beer bar business is drying up, and youngest brother Stevie can’t seem to escape his childhood reputation as a simpleton. But oldest brother and former ne’er-do-well Harvey seems to have stumbled into a field of high clover. He now drives a delivery truck with a stable route and is married to the most beautiful woman in town, whose family is one of the most affluent. Unfortunately, his brother-in-law Kenny has gone from best friend to dickhead. He now refuses to turn over the vintage Indian motorcycle that Harvey and his father-in-law, recently deceased, painstakingly restored. This is the last straw for Harvey, whose relationship with Kenny has been steadily deteriorating over the years, though for a reason nobody else can discern.
Craving revenge, Harvey coerces his brothers into finding a way to even the score with Kenny. It’s up to Will, the most level-headed of the three, to come up with a plan. Normally Will would steer clear from anything illegal, but his frustration level with life in general is sky-high. His wife Laci’s income is the only thing keeping the family afloat, and she seems to be spending an inordinate amount of time with her new boss lately. So yeah, Will could use a little fun too. He never liked Kenny anyway.
It’s a fairly simple plan they undertake: break into the high school where Kenny’s office as the district superintendent is located, load up his computer and desk with kiddie porn, paint the walls with adolescent graffiti that will incite a police investigation, then set off the alarms and vamoose. What can go wrong?
Everything. Especially when Stevie discovers the family secret hidden on Kenny’s computer. And the rest of the night spirals into a nightmare of confrontation, violence, and unimaginable tragedy for all four families.
The Boy Who Shoots Crows, Penguin/Berkley Prime Crime 2011. A Barnes & Noble Bookseller’s Pick and a January Magazine Editor’s Pick, this novel was called “a stunning, elegiac tale of love and loss” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Best-selling author Ace Atkins called it “gripping, heartbreaking, a most impressive achievement,” and Over My Dead Body Magazine described it as “a masterpiece...a work of genius, a novel so filled with such immense imagery and strength as to make you catch your breath.” A novel of unrelenting suspense, The Boy Who Shoots Crows would be a mesmerizing star vehicle for an over-40 actress.
Logline: When a local boy goes missing in rural Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, successful visual artist Charlotte Dunleavy, who has come to the Amish farm country from New York City to recover from a devastating divorce, soon finds herself trapped in a downward spiral of migraines, depression, and memory loss, and in dire implications she can neither face nor fend off.
Synopsis: Charlotte Dunleavy is in the midst of another migraine when Sheriff Marcus Gatesman knocks on her door. One of her neighbors, 12-year-old Jesse, has disappeared, and the sheriff is canvassing the area in search of a clue to the boy’s whereabouts. All Charlotte can remember is that she saw the boy going into the nearby woods, carrying a rifle of some kind. Her sighting, it turns out, was the last time the boy was seen.
The sheriff, a lonely widower, feels drawn to the elegant and reclusive New Yorker. But the wounds she sustained during her brutal divorce are still too fresh. So the sheriff continues on with his investigation as best he can. Might Dylan, a teenage boy who works on farm land contiguous with Charlotte’s property, be a suspect? Charlotte thinks she saw him out near the woods that day too. Could Jesse’s lout of a father be the one at fault? Jesse’s mother thinks so. But the days pass, and before long all suspicion falls upon Dylan, and his life becomes a nightmare of threats and accusations. After he is severely beaten by a group of angry men, Charlotte is forced to admit to the sheriff that she now doubts her earlier sighting of Dylan near the woods where Jesse disappeared, and is not at all certain of the time or even day of the sighting.
Bit by bit, Charlotte, despite her desire to be left alone, gets drawn deeper and deeper into the community’s grief and fear. She feels a special kinship with Jesse’s distraught mother, another abused woman, and, against her own better judgment, befriends her. When Charlotte lets the friendship go too far, in a direction she had never thought it would go, she pulls back and isolates herself again.
And now the memories begin to trickle back to her. She tries to mute them with wine and prescription drugs, but they will not remain silent. And the more she remembers, the more she hides from Gatesman, and the closer he comes to the horrifying truth.
Pdf or hard copies of any of the above properties, or any of the author’s other works, are available to bona fide film industry personnel by contacting the author’s social media manager, Tamra Bessette, at