Saturday, 26 September 2015 03:13

maronmargaret author

This is my annual “why Bouchercon matters” essay.

And since Bouchercon moves to a different locale each year, that gives me a chance to also look at authors from that region.

This year’s Bouchercon is in Raleigh, North Carolina, and it is not too late to sign up for the conference taking place Oct. 8 through Oct. 11.

For the uninitiated, Bouchercon also is called the World Wide Mystery Conference and it brings together hundreds of mystery writers and fans. I think more than 1,300 people have signed up this year for Bouchercon.

Bouchercon celebrates the mystery genre and, in a way, also celebrates those who read mysteries. It gives us a chance to sample new authors and hear favorites as they talk about their books. Panels, interviews, parties, hanging out at the bar—all part of the Bouchercon experience.

It’s a chance to catch up with friends you may only connect with on social media during the rest of the year, and even make some new ones. There have even been a couple of marriages in which the relationship started at a Bouchercon.

Bouchercons can also be messy if the organizing isn’t up to snuff, and some authors will hog their panels. I could tell you a couple of stories...but I won’t.

So let’s celebrate the mystery genre at Bouchercon, and to honor North Carolina, here are some authors from the Tar Heel State:

Margaret Maron, left, is a must-read for North Carolina literature. She is being honored at Bouchercon with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

John Hart has won two Edgar Allan Poe Awards for Best Novel, one in 2008 for Down River, and the second in 2010 for The Last Child. He is the only author in history to win the best novel Edgar Award for consecutive novels.

reichs kathyKathy Reichs, at right, is a forensics anthropologist who writes the series about Temperance Tempe Brennan, who also is a forensic anthropologist. Reichs is one of the guests of honor at Bouchercon.

David Joy debuted this year with the exquisite Where All the Light Tends to Go.

Wiley Cash is a true poet in the mystery genre.

Sarah R. Shaber writes historical mysteries. She is the Local Guest of Honor at Bouchercon.

J.D. Rhoades writes about a bounty hunter in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Eva Gates is the author of the Lighthouse Library Mystery Series about a librarian on an Outer Banks island.

Sandra Balzo writes about a reporter in a North Carolina resort.

Tim Myers (also writes as Elizabeth Bright, Melissa Glazer, Casey Mayes, and Chris Cavender) is best known for his Lighthouse Inn series.

This is a smattering of North Carolina mysteries. You can find a more complete list for all mysteries at Stop, Youre Killing Me, and for lighter mysteries try this cozy list.

And come to Bouchercon.

Raleigh this year.

New Orleans next year.

Bouchercon Comes to North Carolina
Wednesday, 23 September 2015 15:37

hawkinspaula girlontrain

Was there any doubt that mega-bestseller The Girl on a Train would be snapped up by moviemakers?

Of course not.

Ever since Paula Hawkins’ novel came out in January, word has spread that film options were on the table.

Now it looks as if the rumors are true.

Emily Blunt, who has quickly become one of my favorite actresses, is to play Rachel Watson, who watches the drama unfold in a two-story house set close to the train tracks on which she travels every day.

Rebecca Ferguson and Haley Bennett are to co-star and Tate Taylor (The Help, Get on Up) will direct the adaptation.

As for the men, Indiewire and other sources report that Jared Leto and Chris Evans are “in talks” for the movie.

In The Girl on the Train, Rachel is no casual voyeur. She used to live in a house two doors down from the loving couple she watches every day. Her perch on the train also affords her a look at her former house, now occupied by her ex-husband, his wife, and their baby.

Often drunk, Rachel now stalks her ex-husband, Tom Watson, and his current wife, Anna, following them in her former neighborhood, sneaking into their house, even trying to take their infant daughter. When a woman disappears, Rachel insinuates herself into the investigation.

The Girl on the Train, which spent more than 20 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list, divided readers more than any other book since Gone Girl. Few of Hawkins’ characters were sympathetic and her use of the unreliable narrator could be frustrating.

I loved The Girl on the Train and continue to rate it highly.

Naturally, the film version will be different than the printed book—the nature of moviemaking demands it. But let’s hope they keep the spirit of the novel.

One thing that will be different is the setting.

Instead of taking place in England, as in the novel, the film version will move the action to New York. But Blunt has said in interviews that she plans to keep her character British.

No word on whether the filmmakers will keep those gin and tonics in a can that Rachel drinks. That’s a totally British product, and not available in America.

"Girl on a Train" on Film
Sunday, 20 September 2015 14:32

gilstrapjohn author

Book fairs are the heart and soul of connecting readers with authors.

These fairs held across the country allow readers to sample a variety of authors and their books at one time.

One of my favorites is the Miami International Book Fair, held each November.

This year, the Tampa Bay Festival has a special event that more book fair organizers may want to consider.

In addition to its array of authors, the Tampa Bay Book Festival also will honor some members of the U.S. military.

The SEAL Legacy Foundation Tampa Bay Book Festival will be November 7, 2015, at the Westin Tampa Harbour Hotel, 725 South Harbour Island Boulevard, Tampa, Florida.

The goal is to raise funds and awareness for the SEAL Legacy Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing support for families of wounded and fallen United States Navy SEALs, educational assistance for SEALs and their families, and other charitable causes benefiting the SEAL community.

This one-day event will feature a solid lineup of mystery, thriller, and suspense novelists, including: Brian Andrews, Kathleen Antrim, Grant Blackwood, Eric Blehm, Ethan Cross, Lorenzo Carcaterra, Kieran Crowley, Simon Gervais, Heather Graham, John Gilstrap (left), Andrew Gross, Anderson Harp, Mark Greaney, Don Mann, Jon Land, Ward Larsen, Chuck Pfarrer, Tom Shea, AJ Tata, Howard Wasdin, Lis Wiehl, Jeffrey Wilson, and Tom Young.

The SEAL Legacy Foundation Tampa Bay Book Festival event includes a multi-author book signing as well as a VIP author reception.

A limited number of tickets for the SEAL Legacy Foundation Tampa Bay Book Festival are available.

Visit Tickets are $125 for the author signing and VIP Author Reception or $25 for the author signing only.

Photo: John Gilstrap

Book Fair Honors Members of the SEALs