Bouchercon, San Francisco, October

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Every year there are two huge conferences for mystery and thriller fans. ThrillerFest and Boucheron. For readers and writers, they are the place to be. To meet other readers, talk with authors and generally rub shoulders with the people who create your favorite characters and tell your favorite stories.

This October, Bouchercon was held in San Francisco and Grit-Lit went to represent you. To meet new authors, learn about authors whose work we have not read (but should have) and of course to attend the Lee Child “Reacher Creature” Friday night bash!

Guests of Honor at Bouchercon included: Lee Child recipient of this year’s “Distinguished Contribution to the Genre” award. International Guest of Honor, Denise Mina and American Guest of Honor, Laurie R. King. Outstanding authors, all.

There were more than 100 great authors. Quite a few of whom stood out.

Lee Child, creator of the Jack Reacher series, who’s books continue to burn up the best seller lists, was there announcing his newest book, “Worth Dying For.” It is outstanding. www.LeeChild.com for more details.

Matt Hilton, author of the Joe Hunter series, was signing his books: ‘Slash and Burn,”, “Judgment and Wrath” and “Dead Men’s Dust.” All great tough guy novels. All grit-lit favorites. You can learn more about this exciting series at www.MattHilton.com

New to Grit-Lit was Wendy Corsi Staub, author of more than 70 books! Yikes. That’s a lot of days sitting in front of a keyboard … If you are looking for a proven author to enjoy either of these novels would be a good place to start: “Live To Tell” (Avon Books, $7.99 ) or “Dead Before Dark (Kensington Books, $7.99). Based on an advance copy, I can heartily recommend her forthcoming novel, “Scared To Death” (Avon Books, $7.99, 384 pages, www.wendycorsistaub.com.) Available January 2011.)

But wait, there’s more … Long time newspaper columnist and reporter, now retired, Bruce DeSilva’s debut novel, “Rogue Island” (Forge, $24.99, 302 pages. www.brucedesilva.com) is out and it is a winner. This is a contemporary take on the classic hardboiled detective novel. Full of action … laughs … fresh … exciting … a great debut novel.

Here are the first few paragraphs.

“A plow had buried the hydrant under five feet of snow, and it took the crew of Engine Company No. 6 nearly fifteen minutes to find it and dig it out. The first fireman up the ladder to the second-floor bedroom window laid a hand on the aluminum siding and singed his palm through his glove.

The five-year-old twins had tried to hide from the flames by crawling under a bed. The fireman who carried the little boy down the ladder wept. The body was black and smoldering.”

If those don’t grab you, please head directly for the emergency room. You need to make sure you are still alive!
It was delightful to meet Gayle Lynds, author of “The Book of Spies.” (St. Martin’s Press, $25.99, 390 pages, www.gaylelynds.com.)

Lynds is a New York Times bestseller with nine spy novels to her credit. Lee Child writes she’s “today’s finest espionage writer.” And I’d never argue with Lee. He’d just have Reacher come over and kick my rear.

There is some great writing in “Spies.” The following scene is set in a private library full of priceless books.

“…But I want another manuscript. Bring me The Book Of Spies.”

The librarian stopped, his hands reaching for the volume. He turned. The men’s faces were outraged, unforgiving.

“How did you find out?” he whispered.

No one answered. The room was so silent he could hear the tread of crepe-soled shoes. Before he could turn again, Preston’s towel slapped around his skull, covering his eyes and mouth. There was a huge explosion of gunfire, and pain erupted in his head.”

Murder in the library … and it just gets better from there.

Many of these authors are new to Grit-Lit. Every one of them is a guaranteed good read.

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