At a media screening of tonight’s season premiere of The Republic of Doyle, big, exciting news broke: with The Republic of Doyle entering its final season, the show’s star, Allan Hawco, plans to produce a TV show version Lisa Moore’s highly acclaimed novel, Caught! Seems our latest cover story was on to something clairvoyant!
Hawco’s production company, Take the Shot, will be bringing bring the book to life, and Doyle will play the role of Slaney (the book’s main character). Lisa Moore is one of our province’s — and one of the country’s — finest writers. Caught, her latest novel, saw her exploring a more plot-driven piece, and it’s clearly paid off., both in the book world (it earned her a Giller shortlisting) and now, in the film world.
Prison escapes, high-sea adventures, corrupt military men: Caught is unquestionably a cinematic story, readymade for the big screen, and most reviews of Moore’s new novel speak to Lisa’s departure from character-driven fiction to a more plot-driven book. But that’s an oversimplified take. David Slaney is as richly rendered a character as Helen O’Mara of February, and to overlook that is to slight Moore’s first-rate characterization in Caught.
As always, she’s as good as anyone in getting to the core of a character and showing us what makes them tick and tock. She does a tremendous job of that in Caught. In a nutshell, the book is split into two narratives, focusing primarily on David Slaney, a man who has escaped prison, years into a sentence for spearheading one of the biggest pot-smuggling cases in Canadian history.Slaney’s out, and he’s trying to do it all over again.
The second narrative, with less air time, is that of a law man whose career hinges on capturing Slaney. As always in Moore’s work, her biggest strength is her ability to make us feel what her characters are feeling. What adds to her criminal-on-the-run novel, is Moore’s decision to have both Slaney and Patterson (the detective) be legitimately great guys. The effect is you’ll be rooting for both.
The novel certainly also feels like commentary on where has our sense of adventure gone? Slaney risks everything for this adventure, from his freedom to his profound love for a woman named Jenifer.
As for Patterson, he needs the promotion to earn the respect of his authorities, sure, but mostly to help fund his half-brother’s place in an expensive facility. They’re both good guys — and Patterson even witnesses Slaney risk his life for a perfect stranger.
This is also a book about trust and loyalties, and what better a way to put them to the test than a drug operation, where motivation to be loyal and disloyal are heightened. Fear and greed are cranked high in this novel, and one’s own best interests can be a complicated thing: looking out for yourself can blur moral and selfish lines.
This novel is full of pace, punch, questions of morality and humanity, flawless characters, and passages that shine like literary gold. We can be sure the adaption will too.