Sunday, November 7, 2010

Murder and Mayhem in Muskego

Jon and Ruth Jordan are known for their love of mysteries and everything related to them. Their opinions and reviews of the genre are well respected and you won't find a bigger collection of mystery books outside of the Library of Congress. They even helped out the Banned Books Event in a huge way with a donation of dozens of books (many signed) by some of the biggest and best writers of the genre. 

With all the Bouchercon's and Comic-Con's under their belts, they also have a lot of amazing stories to share. The best ones coming from their hosting of Murder and Mayhem in Muskego, an event very unique to our area and featuring a bevy of amazing authors in a very friendly, casual setting. Jon joing us today to give us a little insight into what this whole event is about. 

Be sure to get additional information on the event and all things mystery by following Jon and Ruth on Twitter: @CrimespreeJon and @mrscrimespree.

November 12-13, 2010
Muskego Public Library
It sounds like a headline for the local paper describing an out of control event which leaves devastation in it's wake. In some ways that's not so off point.

What it really is bears more resemblance to a gathering of friends or like minded individuals, who happen to love reading about murder. Crime fiction is a hugely popular genre and the Muskego Public Library once a year celebrates it with a gathering of authors to talk to fans. Coming into year 6 next weekend Muskego's Library has become a bit of a destination for a lot of the top writers in the field. Dennis Lehane announced his new Patrick and Angie book, (Moonlight Mile) while he was there. Tess Gerritesen has been a guest, Laura Lippman, David Morrell, Robert Crais, Greg Rucka, Gregg Hurwitz, Jeffery Deaver and many more.

What brings these authors to the city outside Milwaukee?

The chance to meet a lot of fans in one place is a big part of it. The library in Muskego is run by some truly dedicated people and the one organizing this is Penny Halle. Penny is a fan herself and six years ago the friends of the Library asked her if she could put together an event to celebrate mysteries. She contacted Mystery One books to come in and make sure people could buy books by the authors who attend. She also contacted my wife and I to help track down authors.

The first year was one 2+hour session with 9 authors. The following year we program was extended into the format now being used. Single track programming guarantees the audience is not divided and each author is reaching the whole crowd. As of last year, writing workshops were added to run during the event, limited to thirty peolpe at a time.

This year has a wonderful line up: Jeff Abbott,  Brian Azzarello, Deb Baker, Brett Battles, Chelsea Cain, Sean Chercover, Reed Farrel Coleman, Blake Crouch, Shirley Dammsgaard, Sean Doolittle, Christa Faust, Shane Gericke, Victor Gischler, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Victoria Houston, Julie Hyzy, Daniel Judson, Julie Kramer, Michael Lister, A. J. Marhofke, RIDLEY PEARSON - Guest of Honor, Henry Perez, Scott Phillips, Kat Richardson, Marcus Sakey, Tom Schreck, Joanna Slan, Anthony Neil Smith, Denise Swanson, Brian Wiprud, and the rescue dog Zip.

These authors write all over the genre from cozy to supernatural to thrillers to serial killers and Private eyes. So what gets these people invited to be a part of this?

The authors selected and asked to come are all outgoing and great with the fans, no divas here.  They talk to the fans, have lunch with the fans and watch other panels with the fans. At heart, most of them are fans too. We also try to pick authors that people in the area might not get to see unless they travel. And while we do have some repeat authors, each year we try to bring in new faces.

The authors come because we make them feel welcome and the fans that turn out are the best.

Penny and I have already put together a line up for next year that should be tons of fun. For us at Crimespree Magazine this is our favorite event of the year and we are proud sponsors of this unique gathering of fans and authors.

I'd also like to give a shout out to some local businesses that help us keep the authors happy. Milwaukee Brewing Company, Capitol City brewery, Atomic Chocolates, Times Square Bistro, The Great Lakes Distillery, and The Iron Horse Hotel.


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