black lizard anthology of crime fiction

(Photo: cdrummbks/flickr)

I just got back from attending a four-day murder-mystery writers’ and readers’ convention in Cleveland, Ohio —  For a crime-fiction fan such as myself, it was a dream come true.

“Why do people love murder mysteries so much?” I asked one author.

“Because whenever we read crime fiction, we always know that the criminal will actually get caught in the end and justice will actually be served.  In the real world, however, that rarely actually happens.”  Sad but true.  “In addition, crime fiction allows you to be deliciously afraid — but also to safely control your own fear.”

On my first day in Cleveland I played hookie from the convention, went off to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and totally relived my (gloriously misspent) youth listening to the soundtracks of my past, having spent the 1950s watching American Bandstand and dancing the Bop to Bill Haley at the MYF hall; spent the 1960s going to see Janis at the Filmore, Bob Dylan in Greenwich Village, the Velvet Underground at the Dom and the Temptations and the Ronettes at the Apollo every Saturday night; and spent the 1970s watching the Stones and listening to the Who.  What’s not to love about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum!

On the last day of the murder-mystery convention, I also attended an interesting seminar on politically-themed crime novels.  Let’s get right to the point.  “We write them because there is an endless amount of criminal activity to write about in Washington!”  Right on.

And dontcha just love that new TV series, “Scandal,” also based in D.C.

I wanna write a crime novel set in D.C. too!  So much material to write about, so little time.  For instance, I’d start with a “War Street” crime-fiction series.  The Iraq war was a crime.  The official and unofficial wars on Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine, Libya, Pakistan, Bahrain, Nigeria, you-name-it?  Lots of big crimes!    Writing a best-selling “War Street” series should keep me busy for years!  So many bad guys.  So much fun.

And then I would go on to write a blockbuster “Wall Street” murder-mystery series.  The greatest criminals and the greatest crimes of all time take place on the Wall Street side of D.C.  Like the infamous “Goldfinger,” Washington’s evil Wall Street connections have set out to destroy the world — both economically and virtually.  Talk about your bad guys!  D.C. is offering an endless supply.

During my four glorious days in Cleveland last week, I had a wonderful time enjoying that city and seeing the sights — and also watching TV, featuring all those mendacious commercials urging Ohio residents to vote to send even more bad guys to Washington D.C.  But there were also even some commercials about sending good guys there too.  Did you know that Sherrod Brown is running for office in Ohio again?  C’mon, Ohio.  Vote for Sherrod!  Let’s give at least one political crime story a happy ending.

PS:  After I talked with one man on the street in Cleveland about the up-coming presidential election, it instantly became a mystery to me how, in this modern day and age of Google and Snopes, this guy could still actually be believing all those blatant scams and lies that Romney the Con-Man is sincerely hoping that we will believe.

PPS:  It is also a complete mystery to me why War Street, supported by Obama, could still be killing so many women and children in the Middle East and yet still not understand that the blow-back that all this cold-blooded murder is creating will endanger America more and more, year by year.  If they keep this up, pretty soon there will be seven billion people hatin’ on War Street — just like 2.2 billion people hated on the Third Reich back in 1942.  Wise up, guys.

But, actually, drunk drivers kill far more Americans than “terrorists” ever had.  So why is War Street still slogging through its twelfth year of war on Afghanistan, which is, ironically, a teetotaling country?  And why is marijuana still illegal here but killer alcohol isn’t?  Another big mystery.

PPPS:  I also went to a party at BoucherCon sponsored by Soho Press and they gave me some more excellent free books — including the new Cara Black novel and the new Stuart Neville one  Combined with a whole bunch of free books that I got from other publishers, I now have a whole suitcase full of free books.  Eat your heart out, murder-mystery fans of the world!

Jane Stillwater

Jane Stillwater