1. Books

In September, Bouchercon will be the place to be for Tampa Bay mystery fans

Author Ian Rankin will receive the lifetime achievement award at Bouchercon 2018 in St. Petersburg. (Photo by Hamish Brown)
Published Jul. 25, 2018

If you're a mystery fan, the Tampa Bay area will be the perfect place for you in September.

On Sept. 6-9, Bouchercon 2018, the premier annual event for readers, authors and all lovers of crime fiction, comes to the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club.

About 1,500 people are expected at Bouchercon, according to Erin Mitchell, this year's conference chairwoman. If you're wondering whether you should register for a packed schedule of author appearances, panels, events and parties, here are just a few highlights from the list of hundreds of authors who will be on hand: Ace Atkins, Lawrence Block, Alafair Burke, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Gilbert King, Michael Koryta, Jonathan Lethem, Laura Lippman and Sara Paretsky.

The con's featured authors include Ian Rankin, the Scottish author of the John Rebus series, who will receive the lifetime achievement award. The American guests of honor are Karin Slaughter and Sean Chercover; international guests of honor are Danish writer Sara Blaedel and British author Mark Billingham. Florida's mystery writers will be well represented by Florida guest of honor Tim Dorsey, toastmaster Lisa Unger and ghost of honor John D. MacDonald. Fan guests of honor are Judy Bobalik and Ayo Onatade.

Among other local authors at Bouchercon will be Jeffery Hess, Cheryl Hollon, Tamara Lush, Gale Massey, Craig Pittman, Steph Post, Lori Roy, James Swain and Rick Wilber.

In addition to dozens of panels on the craft, art and arcana of mystery writing, there will be book giveaways and live and silent auctions, benefiting Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. (Will Dolly make an appearance? It's still a mystery.)

Bouchercon, a.k.a. the Anthony Boucher Memorial World Mystery Convention, was first held in 1970 in Santa Monica, Calif. Each year, the conference includes the Anthony Awards ceremony (named, like the con, for revered mystery writer, reviewer and editor Anthony Boucher).

The Anthonys will be awarded on Sept. 8, and conference attendees can vote for the winners. Among the 2018 award nominees are Tampa resident Connelly, who's up for two. He's nominated for best novel for The Late Show, his first in a series about Los Angeles Police Department Detective Renee Ballard. Two Kinds of Truth, the 20th in his Harry Bosch series, is nominated for the Bill Crider Award for best novel in a series.

Among the nominees for best anthology are three books published by Down & Out Books, an independent publisher of literary and crime fiction based in Tampa. Its contenders are Killing Malmon, Coast to Coast: Private Eyes From Sea to Shining Sea and Passport to Murder, Bouchercon Anthology 2017.

Conference registration costs $225 and includes access to all programming and events. (Hotel accommodations are separate.) During the conference, the Vinoy will offer valet parking for $15 for attendees. Register at

Contact Colette Bancroft at or (727) 893-8435. Follow @colettemb.


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