April 23, 2018

PLA 2010 Conference: The Best Mystery Authors Revealed

By Barbara A. Genco, Editor, Collection Management

Public Library Association – PLA 2010 Annual Conference – Portland

  • Mysteries and thrillers are enduring reads for library customers
  • Mystery writers and libraries: mutual love
  • Look for more AAP/LJ programs at BEA & ALA

On March 26, hundreds of librarians flocked to the vast Portland Ballroom for popular panel The Best in Mystery Authors Revealed, hosted by the Association of American Publishers’ (AAP) Trade Libraries Committee. 

Hosted by the vivacious and library-loving Talia Sherer, the Director of Adult Trade Marketing at Macmillan (and a 2010 LJ Mover and Shaker), six authors, some well-established and some first-timers, took the podium to introduce themselves and their newest books. And, as in the past, the librarians found themselves moved, entertained, and energized by the presentations. 

A library advocate
Leading off, veteran best selling Karin Slaughter, the author of Broken: A Novel (Delacorte Press/Random Broken, Karin Slaughter, PLA conferenceHouse, June 2010), revealed herself as a powerful advocate for rural libraries. (See the area on her web site specifically devoted to libraries.) Slaughter decried the continuing digital divide even as she called for libraries to be funded at similar levels as national security. 

She followed up by teasing listeners with details of Broken, featuring Det. Lena Adams and body in a lake. In a recent Prepub Alert, LJ’s Barbara Hoffert has already predicted that libraries will respond to Slaughter’s fresh approach to “a standard set up.”

Embracing the weird
Prepare to “embrace the weird” warned Edgar-winning author Meg Gardiner, as she introduced the third entry in her popular Jo Beckett series, The Liar’s Lullaby (Dutton/Penguin, June 2010). The plot turns on the murder of country singer Tania McFarland, who also happens to be the ex-wife of the president, before 30,000 shocked fans.

Also see Hoffert’s PrePub Alert
and check out Gardiner’s own blog posts direct from PLA. 

Rescued by librarians
‘This is my first time talking to librarians as an adult,” quipped Ted Dekker, author of The Bride Collector (Center Street/Hachette Book Group, April 2010). Dekker, who spent his early life in the jungles of Indonesia, related how the rural Quonset-hut -style library of his youth helped him “escape into a whole new world” and how he eventually became “addicted to books,” which helped lead him “through darkness to hope.”

He reflected on his “dark“side, one that has spawned this newest book about a cop who teams with a schizophrenic female psychic to stop a Denver-based serial killer who preys on brides. Chilling.

Fascinated by the French
Cara Black proudly stated that she “blames libraries for her life of crime.” Pleasingly prolific, Black, has countless fans in American public libraries and worldwide as well. She shared how her familiar and life-long fascination with all things French led to her career as a mystery writer and her feisty Parisian cop-heroine Aimée Leduc.

Black’s tenth entry in the popular series mostly set in Paris and environs, Murder in the Palais Royal: An Aimée Leduc Investigation (Soho Press, March 2010), was roundly welcomed.  “I write what I am passionate about,” she asserted.

Norwegian star
LJ’s Hoffert noted recently that Jo Nesbo’s star “keeps rising.” Nesbo, the Oslo-based author of this weThe Devil's Star, Jo Nesbo, PLA conferencell-received entry in his increasingly popular Detective Harry Hole series, The Devil’s Star (HarperCollins, February 2010), charmed the PLA crowd with deadpan humor as he chronicled his writing career, one he termed, “a journey in humiliation.”

Before turning his talent to crime novels, Nesbo has had successful careers as an economist and a Norwegian rock star. Be sure to check out his classy web site, which comes in English and Norwegian versions.

Local talent
Oregon-based Dana Haynes rounded out the morning with a very funny, self deprecating stand-up turn. Noting that his slot followed the estimable Nesbo, Haynes compared himself to “a Hostess Ding Dong” dessert after a five-star meal. 

Haynes, who noted that his career path included working as  “a janitor in a Dodge dealership,” spoke ably about his gripping new novel featuring airplane disaster investigators, Crashers  (Minotaur Books/Macmillan, July 2010, a book already highlighted by Hoffert in her roundup of first novels.

Meg Gardiner, PLA conferenceFeeling happy and excited about the great reads ahead, the huge crowd, still enthusiastic, patiently waited in a long line for free ARCs and finished books—and the ultimate prize—those author autographs.

(At left, Gardiner signs books. Photo by Rebecca Miller.)

Coming soon
More author events are scheduled for the coming months. 

Look for AAP Trade Libraries and LJ co-sponsored events and educational programs at Book Expo America May  25-27, 2010 in New York. 

The very first AAP Trade Libraries Editor’s Buzz Panel (hosted by Nancy Pearl) will be held on the afternoon of Friday June 25 at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Washington, DC.

Click here for PLA 2010 Conference News coverage from the editors of Library Journal and School Library Journal.