Monday, November 12, 2007

New England Crime Bake 2007

"Think Die Hard without the smirk." —Playboy on Jack Reacher

JAN: This conference just keeps getting better in every category. Better panels, better hotel (this year the Dedham Hilton in Massachusetts) and better turnout. So good, in fact, that maybe, just maybe, we can overlook certain liberties taken with the criminal justice system.

As always, the organizing committee secured a great guest of honor. This year’s host, Lee Child, charmed the audience, not just with his panel appearance and guest interview, but with his performance as his protagonist Jack Reacher, who was put on trial for murder at the dinner banquet.

Our own Hallie Ephron introduced the cast, which also included Hank Phillippi Ryan as the television reporter (gee, what a stretch), Michele Martinez as the prosecutor, Julia Spencer-Fleming as the defense attorney, Lee Lofland as the police witness, and Judge Ken Freeman as the judge.

Despite a preponderence of evidence to premeditation and excessive force offered by the prosecution, Reacher got off on a lame self defense argument. And why? Because certain jurors (we all got to vote) would not listen to reason, and argued that Reacher was too likeable, too enduring as a mystery protaganist, or simply too hot to go to jail.

Yes, the "hot" defense. This from our Rosemary Harris, who could not be swayed.

In legal terms, it may have been a travesty, but in entertainment terms it was a hit.

So thanks and congrats to the Crime Bake Committee members who worked so hard to pull it off: Catherine Cairns, Lynne Heitman, Ruth McCarty, Leslie Wheeler, Paula Mello, Roberta Islieb, Hans and Judy Copek, Jeff Cutler, Paula Munier, Kate Flora, Vaughn Hardacker and Hallie Ephron.

Ro: Busted by my own blog sister. I tried to convince the defendant that it wasn't me, it was the short guy with the mustache (who voted Hot), but I don't think he bought it. Among the panels I attended was the one on Amateur Sleuths, given energy, humor and sex appeal by the glam Jan Brogan. (Since it's impossible for me to grow another three inches or get your tennis player's bod, can you at least tell me where you bought those cool earrings?)

Had a great time, connected with some old friends, made some new....already thinking about next year, too.

HANK: Yeah, RO, Lee Child totally knew it was you who voted hot. And I think, actually, he was delighted.

RO: Are you suggesting I was less than subtle?

Hank: You? Anyway, yes it was terrific. And so inspirational to see and hear from other writers who have the same hopes and fears and goals and thought processes.

To hear Lee Child and Bill Landay and Joseph Finder and Julia Spencer Fleming admit they have moments of total despair about their work--yikes. I mean, if those icons of perfection have doubts, then we're all fine, right?

Now--more photos. I know the amazing Mo Walsh was everywhere with that camera of hers, and so a shout out to Mo--if you're out there, can you email me some of them? And we'll have a wonderful MO Show right here on JR.

Here's a lovely one of the panel of the trial of Jack Reacher...Judge Ken Freeman, Detective Lee Lofland, starstruck me, Lee Child, Prosecutor Michele Martinez, Julia Spencer-Fleming, and Hallie (the mogul of the operation.)

And a hilarious one of Bill Landay, me, Lee Child and Ro (And Dear Miss Manners, anyone know who this other person is?) that I think I might make into a poster. Cutting out everyone but me and LC. Sorry Ro and Bill. Love ya lots, but bye.

You're seeing a theme here. We don't deny it.

HALLIE: I agree, it was great-great-great. I was so wiped when I got home I took a two-hour nap and then was asleep for good at 9. The hotel was absolutely the best yet. We all already have our agents, but for those new authors attending, the AGENTS this time were particularly strong. And the Friday night events a blast.

I knew JR would get off...he did at Thrillerfest, too. It's the HOT factor, but it's also the 'victim deserved to die' and distrust of official powers that be. It was so great to have a real judge, Ken Freeman, who talked seriously after about things like "jury nullification" and how in a real trial Reacher would never have been called to testify.

A great time was had by all.


  1. I know the name of the mystery woman in the photo. See, I am a detective. Now, do I win a prize?

    Her name is Julie Salzano. She's a former NYPD detective turned DEA special agent.

    By the way, I had a wonderful time at the conference. You guys are all great!

  2. You are a detective, aren't you? How about a hearty handshake instead pf a prize? Sorry I missed you at Forensic University in St Louis; it's gotten great feedback online.

  3. Oh, of course you know who it is--that's why you get the big detective bucks. And I do think a prize is in order. We just have to come up with a good and appropriate one.

    As for you, Mr. Standing Room Only Seminar at Crime were such a hit! Hope you sold many books. Anyone who wants to write about--or learn about "Police Prodecure and Investigation" will find it indispensible.

    Quiz from Lee's book: What do some inmates do inside their prisons'industrial-sized clothes dryers?

    (See? Where else are you going to learn stuff like this?)

    Answer to come later..

  4. Ah ha! Hank has been reading my book. You do know there's a quiz when you're done, right?

  5. Lee! Don't tell! Anyone have any ideas?

    And just to tempt you--we'll include one more question from Lee's fantastic book.

    What highway is the main drug corridor on the east coast?

  6. Okay, well, I just happen to have the book right here on my desk...!

    No, I don't think its fair for me to enter, so I'll just have some fun and hint.

    Question 1: All I can say is, I'm not sure ORVILLE would approve.

    Question 2: You're right, Hank, it's the MAIN corrider for drugs...

    Okay, now things are getting silly!

  7. I heard a great time was had by all from my fellow co-worker and Al Blanchard Award Winner, Pat Remick. Congratulations Pat!

    Lee gets the "detective big bucks?" Must be some union you're in...

    I just want to say how impressed I was by all of your dedication and effort in seeing that Lee Child was personally taken care of and never left alone. What kind women you all are...



    Yesterday’s Fatal NAMED A TOP TEN BOOK FOR 2007!! by the incredibly prestigious Aunt Agatha's Bookstore.

    Jan will tell you all about it next post--but we
    couldn't resist breaking the news.

    And here's just tiny bit of the accolade that accompanied the announcement. Yay Jan!

    This is a very dark book and it’s also a very well written one. Brogan deserves the same mention that some of her male brethren are receiving, because she’s walking the same territory as they are. This book is a delightful discovery.

    WHoo hoo. YOu go, blog sistah.

  9. YEAH JAN!!!! That's fantastic and so well-deserved! Yesterday's Fatal, Tomorrow's Bestseller?

  10. From your lips to God's ears??

    Thanks Felicia!!!