Reading the Screen: Just in Case
Posted by: David Pitt
I read on joblo.com that The Genesis Code (1997), a thriller by John Case, is being turned into a movie. David R. Ellis, who gave us the splendidly wacky Snakes on a Plane, is set to direct. Whether this means Case’s story about murder, conspiracy, DNA research and the Roman Catholic Church will be turned into a comedy, I don’t know…but I hope not.
John Case is the author of a handful of solid thrillers, including The Syndrome (2001) and The Eighth Day (2002). John Case isn’t John Case, though: he’s the pseudonym of Jim and Carolyn Hougan, a husband-and-wife writing team. They have both published books under their own names, too.
Carolyn Hougan, the author of thrillers like 1989′s The Romeo Flag and ’98′s The Last Goodbye (published under the name “Malcolm Bell”), died in 2007.
Jim Hougan has published a thriller under his own name, 1999′s Kingdom Come, which I, in my infinite wisdom, praised as an accomplished “first novel” in my review. (Shows you what I know.) The novel was also published, in paperback, as The Magdelene Cipher.
Hougan, a veteran investigative reporter, also wrote 1984′s Secret Agenda: Watergate. Deep Throat, and the CIA, an interesting and rather conspiracy-minded look at the Watergate break-in, and 1979′s Spooks, a look at spies-for-hire and the (wealthy, powerful) people who employ them. They’re not easy to find these days, but you should check them out, if you get a chance. Not surprising that the fella who wrote them would later turn out some very good thrillers.
Speaking of which, the John Case novels — which ended with the death of Carolyn Hougan — are pretty easy to find. I urge you to read them, if you’re a fan of smart, fast-paced thrillers with conspiratorial overtones.