New novel places Chicago between life and death

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A new novel takes readers on a manhunt through two worlds of life and death that takes place in Chicago. (WLS)

A new novel takes readers on a manhunt through two worlds of life and death that takes place in Chicago.

This hometown author's sci-fi thriller recently became one of the hottest bidding wars for film rights.

Our town has become literally a place between heaven and hell. At least on the pages of the latest novel by Chicago author Marcus Sakey.

"The impetus for this was a dream. I had a dream where I was wandering Chicago and I was all alone and in that dream way I knew I was dead," said author Marcus Sakey.

"Afterlife" can be described as "Ghost" meets "Matrix" meets "Walking Dead." A sci-fi-manhunt-love story of the dead and living with cannibals thrown in.

Hollywood began heated bidding.

"That was exciting, exciting. We sold the film right to the book several months before publication and they ended up going to Ron Howard and Brian Grazer of Imagine and I get to write the screenplay which is particularly exciting," said Sakey.

"Afterlife" employs familiar Chicago locations to tell the story, such as the Langham Hotel.

"This is sort of where the good guys hang out in the afterlife. First of all - a really nice hotel if you're going to be dead-- you might as well stay well, but it's also solid defensive ground," said Sakey. "There's a big scene over at Veteran's Memorial Plaza, but the whole thing is that this is Chicago in the Afterlife... sort of an echo of our existing Chicago. So they are moving around us right now - there are dead people we can't see."

"Afterlife" is Sakey's ninth novel. His book, "Good People," made it to the screen in 2014 with Kate Hudson and James Franco. For this film, Sakey has a dream cast.

"I would not object if Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt were interested," said Sakey.

If you read the novel, you may not look at Chicago in same way again.

The goal is for Ron Howard to make this film here sooner rather than later.

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