Friday, October 9, 2015

Bouchercon, day 2

Bouchercon, the big annual mystery, crime, and thriller convention, is in downtown Raleigh this year, so I opted to attend without getting a hotel room.  I'm still not sure if that was the right choice, because having to drive in the morning means getting up extra early, but it's the choice I made, and then the rooms sold out, so I have to live with it.

I attended yesterday, but not for long.  I registered, checked out the dealers' room, and listened to the interview with the American guests of honor, Kathy Reichs and Tom Franklin.  Their conversation and comments were interesting, and though I've not previously read either writer, I now probably will.

Bouchercons love morning panels, which is why I found myself awake in the sixes and arriving early today for an 8:30 a.m. panel on "Lone Wolves and Loose Cannons."  This event featured a friend of mine, who is an FBI agent and who writes as Alistair Kimble, as well as two other writers whose work I've read, Andrew Grant and Mick Herron.  I generally enjoyed the discussion, though I wish the moderator had let the panelists speak more.

Next up for me was the 10:00 session, "Real Police," in which writer and cop (of various types), James O. Born, did an interesting presentation on guns, knives, batons, and issues around an officer engaging with someone.  Born is a smart and funny guy, and I quite liked his talk.

One thing I appreciate about these cons is that they always allow a decent lunch break.  Our little group chose the nearby Twisted Mango restaurant.  The Caribbean food we tasted was good but not exceptional.

I was quite excited about the next panel, a cadaver dog demo, because I'd enjoyed a similar session at a Chicago Bouchercon some years ago.  This one was pleasant enough but nowhere near as informative or as interesting as the earlier version.

John Gilstrap, author and safety and explosives expert, then took us through an interesting presentation on explosives and guns.  I would have preferred a far higher data rate, but I enjoyed what he shared.

My final session was "Beyond The Wire, Bosch & True Detective," a discussion of mystery and crime material on TV.  I went to hear Christa Faust and Megan Abbott, two writers whose work I enjoy, speak on their experiences and interests in this area.  What they had to say did interest me, but the moderator, who admittedly was the only one on the panel who worked regularly in Hollywood, dominated the discussion so much that I often wished he'd let the others talk more.

All in all, I had an enjoyable and interesting day at a convention I definitely recommend.

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