Bouchercon By the Bay : Defining L.A.


I’ll have a final wrap up available on the blog shortly but first things first.

Of all the things I’ve ever done or been asked to do for Bouchercon or at a Bouchercon, the one I didn’t get to do this year is the one I was the most honored to be asked to.

Seven years ago I met a young and already well established author by the name of Gregg Hurwitz. Gregg’s first novel, THE TOWER had a setting that might seem quite familiar to all of us just returning from San Francisco. A maximum security prison in San Francisco Bay is where the action begins.

By 2003 Hurwitz had moved his primary setting south and had published his next three novels, all featuring U.S. Marshall Tim Rackley and one of Crime Fiction’s most infamous and personal settings: L.A.,City of Angels.

It was at the 2003 Bouchercon that one of the best conversations we’ve ever heard took place. On Sunday morning before the Award’s Brunch another young writer by the name of Michael Connelly got to draw out one of his hero’s. It was an hour fans of that year’s guest of honor, James Lee Burke and fans of Connelly will never forget. They spoke of character, crimes and setting. Two quiet men in an overcrowded room dazzled us all with their animated love for and knowledge of crime fiction.

A lot has changed since 2003. Gregg Hurwitz has said hello to Marvel Comics, worked in Television and is now developing a screen play. He has said good-bye to Rackley and embraced L.A. in his Novels until we, the readers can see his stamp on the city as surely as we see Cain’s , Chandler’s, Crais’s, Shannon’s or Connelly’s.

I recommend Hurwitz’s writing to everyone I know. There isn’t a soliloquy to L.A. more beautifully written than those in THE CRIME WRITER. There isn’t a more realistic “only in L.A.” plot than that wrapped as neatly as the the world’s finest Sushi in TRUST NO ONE.

Like Michael Connelly, Hurwitz continues to evolve and it is this year’s THEY’RE WATCHING which has cemented my already powerful love for this man’s prose.

A young screen writer has attained his dream and seen it quickly stripped away at the same time his marriage has hit the skids. A candid DVD of Patrick Davis and his home life arrives with the morning paper one day and Hurwitz propels us into a labyrinth of deceit, death and drama that could only happen in LA. With starred reviews in both Publisher Weekly & Booklist, Hurwitz is here as assuredly as Connelly had arrived in 2003.

Last weekend in an overcrowded room fans of both Special Guest Michael Connelly and Hurwitz himself got to watch a young man talk to one of his hero’s. They spoke of character, crimes and setting. Two animated men speaking with passion about that they love most, the construction of the best in fiction set in a City full of both promise and dread. L.A. is a very special town. With more facets than the world’s brightest diamonds there are no limitations to what the writer can find within the county limits. Both Connelly and Hurwitz continue to find something new and brighter with each outing.

So I’ll leave you recommending both THEY’RE WATCHING by Hurwitz and THE REVERSAL by Michael Connelly. There was a symmetry in this interview I wish I’d seen. A special moment in time that will never be repeated. The magic of Bouchercon,the mystique of L.A., the love for all words criminally inclined.