Saturday, July 14, 2007

Thrillerfest, Friday

First the namedropping fun stuff: had good conversations with many people. I won't remember them all, but among them are Keith Raffel of Dot Dead fame, Con Lehane, author of Death at the Old Hotel, Zoe Sharp, her of the umlaut, Lee Child, Rosemary Harris, Tim Maleeny, Jonathan Santlofer, Michele Martinez and my editor Marcia Markland. Andy Butler described the kick of a Desert Eagle with panache.

Went to two panels hosted by Doug Preston and Lincoln Child. Noticed that if one was drinking water, the other was always silent. Eerie. Also went to a panel with Deborah LeBlanc at the helm. That was about how the supernatural world informs some thrillers.

So far, not much time left for questions fromt he audience at any of the panels. Shame. But the panelists are funny. Bravo!

Probably the most instructive thing about Thrillerfest so far is the bookroom. Compared to a Bouchercon, the bookroom here is quite small and the foucs on thrillers is strange in a way. The number of secrete agents saving the world from holocausts nuclear, biological, ecological, etc is rather astounding. Essentially, the jacket blurbs of a hundred books chosen at random will instruct in at least fifty different ways the world could end if mad billionaires, secret organizations, or loner scientists who have stumbled upon hidden formulas of unimaginable power could only get their wish. The book I'm currently writing has the billionaire and the sciencetist, but not the organization...yet.

The other fifty novels would be be smaller stories perhaps but the odds against the hero are long and the consequences of failure dire. Perhaps this sums up the thriller. The same description is not applicable to the mystery genre as a whole. In a police procedural, for instance, the odds must be against the perpetrator since, in real life, the police usually do get their man. Also, the consequences of failure are that the bad guy gets away. Could be worse. Like if he gets away with a vial of some viral strain that would wipe out life as we know it if released...


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