By Mark W. Danielson
For the past six years, I’ve been privileged to participate in Irvine, California’s, Men of Mystery event. Each year, fifty authors gather to dine with five hundred wonderful mystery fans. The highlight is hearing two famous authors, such as Dean Koontz, James Patterson, Michael Connelly, Vince Flynn, and Martin Cruz Smith, speak about the business of writing. This spectacular event is the brainchild of Raven Award recipient, Joan Hansen, but would not be possible without her many devoted volunteers. Open to the public, it is normally sold out months before its November date. I am fortunate to be attending again this year.
My latest book, Diablo’s Shadow, was released just two months before the 2008 event. The week before, my book received a five star review from Mysterious Reviews, so we made an information sheet to help promote it at Mysterious Galaxy Books’ event book store. My wife and I checked with the book store that morning to make sure our acrylic-covered information sheet was properly displayed with my books. It was, and looked great.
The MOM event began with the authors introducing themselves, followed by a break where its attendees could wander through the book store and chat with the authors. This was followed by lunch and the featured authors’ presentations. At its conclusion, the book store remained open for a brief period before the authors checked out. This is where the mystery began . . .
When we went to gather my display items, our acrylic Diablo’s Shadow information sheet was nowhere to be found. Since the book store had relocated my books from their original location, we thought that perhaps my display sheet may have been at the previous site, but alas, this was not the case. We looked under the tables, but there was nothing there. We scoured the trash bins. Not there, either. Not even in any empty boxes. Nope, the trail was cold. Now, as one might imagine, the competition among authors is fierce, but I can’t imagine any of them sabotaging my display. Then again, we are talking about murderous people who possess unlimited imaginations . . . How about an obsessed fan? Highly unlikely, considering their polished etiquette and the fact I’m hardly a household name. Besides, these attendees are some of the nicest people I’ve met. So, what about the book store folks? Get serious; they had plenty to pack, and my display is of no value to them. The hotel staff? Oh, please. Why would any of them risk their jobs to take a silly information sheet home? And so the mystery lingers . . .
Months have passed since this mysterious disappearance, so I must let it go. But I vow to return next year with a new and more stunning display! Perhaps I’ll taint it with dye so that anyone caught moving it would have purple hands. Or maybe I shall connect it to an electric current . . . Yeah, that would work if I framed it in metal. Okay, I won’t do either of those things. After all, displays are easily replaced. But beware—whoever you are. I will be watching, and if I find you, you may find yourself written into one of my future novels. Ah, a mysterious mind never stops plotting . . .