(–Key West, FL) Mystery Writers Key West Fest to reveal true crime secrets during workshops and panel discussions
International number-one bestselling author Jeffery Deaver—who will be the Keynote Speaker for the upcoming Mystery Writers Key West Fest next month— knows full well how to put into practice the reality of a crime in his writing. Deaver’s suspenseful writing and uncanny ability to deliver meticulously detailed plot twists have garnered him an armload of awards and books that have been translated into over 25 languages.
In his book The Bone Collector (made into a feature film starring Angelina Jolie and Denzel Washington), Deaver seamlessly delivers true crime details while policewoman Amelia Sachs (who later calls upon quadriplegic forensic criminology expert Lincoln Rhyme to help her piece together the killer’s cryptic clues) finds herself the first officer at the scene of a grisly crime:
Deaver effectively uses police jargon in a way that stays true to the facts but doesn’t turn us away from the plot build-up despite our lack of knowing the code. But just how does he pull this off?
Don’t let the mystery of it all dissuade you. Deaver and more than 20 authors and true crime experts will be gathering during the Mystery Writers Key West Fest from August 14-16, helping participants uncover just what it takes to make a crime ring true in the craft and genre of mystery writing.
What exactly constitutes a crime scene, you wonder? How do you determine the boundaries? How do you document it, lift fingerprints, package the evidence? Who gets to enter the scene, and who doesn’t? The “Murder & Mayhem in Paradise” themed Fest will answer these questions and more during a three-day weekend of panels, presentations and parties open to authors, aspiring authors and non-writing mystery-buffs alike.
Beginning at 1p.m. on Friday, August 14, true crime investigation kicks off the Fest with two back-to-back workshops led by Monroe County Sheriff’s Detective Manny Cuervo and Crime Scene Investigator John Underwood. The two will set up a typical scene for investigation and answer questions while they work with the tools of their trade and figure out just whodunit.
Among Saturday’s many offerings, true crime gets another opportunity for examination with a “Crime in the Florida Keys/Florida Straits” panel. Moderated by award-winning writer James O. Born, the panel features notable true crime experts: Florida Department of Law Enforcement Carol Frederick, Joint Interagency Task Force Jim Linder, Drug Enforcement Administrator Ken Davis (ret), Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay, KWPD Chief Donie Lee, and USCG Commander Jim Fitton (ret). They will riff on the Keys criminal riff-raff and the details of strange crimes that surround them.
“Honestly, what makes criminals interesting in general is that they are creative,” says Frederick, whose focus areas are identity theft and protective operations— subjects she thinks would make interesting twists in future mystery books.
“One of my favorite thieves was a man who would pretend to own your house...and then he'd sell it,” she says. “I called the case "For sale by Non-Owner”.”
Sounds a bit like a story that hit the Key West stands last fall on a certain little lane in Bahama Village. And the beginnings of a very good mystery novel for anyone out there ready to write one. So, are you ready to write one?
“The sky is the limit on what a writer can choose to focus their book on,” says Frederick.
Indeed it is. And this year’s Fest is sure to help you take flight.
For more information, contact 305.587.9393, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit MysteryWritersKeyWestFest.com. Sponsored by the Mystery Writers of America – Florida Chapter, The Florida Keys Council of the Arts and the Key West Citizen daily newspaper, event registration is a steal at $125 for all panels and presentations, plus three meals.