|Jerry (R) with Johathon King|
By Jerry Hooten
THE WORLD’S LARGEST gathering of mystery writers (Bouchercon) was held in St. Louis, Missouri this year. The event took place in the Renaissance Hotel, one of the finest hotels in St. Louis. Guests of honor included, Robert Crais and Charlaine Harris as the American Guests of Honor, International was shared by Colin Cotterill and Val McDermid. The life Time Achievement Award went to Sara Paretsky. Fan Guests of Honor were Kate Stine and Brian Skupin. Toastmaster was Ridley Pearson. Over 1600 people attended.
The convention hotel has been sold out for over a year, as well as some of the closer alternative hotels. I arrived at the Peach Tree Drury Inn on Thursday and after checking in, drove the short distance to the convention. I was able to park close to the hotel and became friends with the parking attendant over the four days I parked there.
One of the first writers I met was Jonathon King, author of the Max Freeman series. I first met Jonathon when he won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best First Novel by an American author for his book, The Blue Edge of Midnight.
Jonathon and I caught up with what was new with us and mutual friend, Michael Connelly. Jonathon was on the panel for “The challenges of writing your next book”, which I attended also.
I ran into a few Iowa authors too, notably, Max Allen Collins, his wife Barbara, and Shirley Damsgaard. I was able to sit in on their panels as well. All of the panels were interesting. Some I had to miss due to scheduling. It always happens that some that I would like to attend are scheduled at the same time.
I had just finished reading Steve Hamilton’s Lock Artist before going to Bouchercon. I ran into Steve just before the awards ceremony. I told him how much I enjoyed the story. Shortly after, he won an award for it. We met later, and he invited me to join him and his U.K. publisher and his agent in the lounge. I was just a little awed to be in such distinguished company!
I have attended quite a few Bouchercons. This was one of the best! Next year, it will be held in Cleveland, Ohio. I’ve worked in Cleveland and like the city. It has the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and there used to be an area called the Flats that was the entertainment center of the town. The hotel will be the Cleveland Marriott Renaissance. If you plan to attend, I’d highly recommend making your reservations now. More information is available about the hotel and the convention at: www.bouchercon2012.com