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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Recap: Mile End Crime Night with Maisonneuve & the Blue Met Festival!


Crime night, yay! We gotta say, we don't usually get to do super crime heavy launches (unless Pascal Girard's Petty Theft counts), so it was so exciting to have this event in conjunction with Maisonneuve and the Blue Metropolis Festival on Friday, May 2nd! In tow were three international authors: Koethi Zan, Wolf Haas, and Carlo Lucarelli


Introducing them was Montrealer Amanda Cockburn, who let us know about Blue Met's live tweeting presence (oooh) and who had an event of her own to dash to after the whole night was over.


First up was the lovely Koethi Zan, born and raised in rural Alabama. A Yale Law school graduate and spent fifteen years of her life as an entertainment lawyer. Of our bookstore, Zan said, "I could live in this space!" which, we're not gonna lie, we hardcore blushed at. 

From Koethi's website, The Never List is about "best friends Sarah and Jennifer [keeping] what they called the 'Never List': a list of actions to be avoided, for safety’s sake, at all costs. But one night, against their best instincts, they accept a cab ride with grave, everlasting consequences. For the next three years, they are held captive with two other girls in a dungeon-like cellar by a connoisseur of sadism." (Koethi Zan) Man was this reading dark! We were scared to like, leave the store after hearing it.


From the moment the statuesque Wolf Haas stood at the way-too-short microphone and declared, "My mother always told me not to make a hunchback," we knew he would be a delight; a renowned Austrian crime novelist with an adorable sense of humour to boot. He described the difficult job his translators always had with his specific tone, which he said was near impossible to replicate in another language. "If it sounds bad, don't blame the translator, blame me." His reading, from had the whole crowd in hysterics, was from Resurrection, from a tense-not-tense moment with a confusingly non-exploding gas station on fire. 


"Apologies for my Tarzan English... you know, me Tarzan? You Jane?" was author, TV presenter, and magazine editor Carlo Lucarelli's opening remark. He read from The Damned Season, the second in his De Luca trilogy, originally published in Italian in the 1990s. His reading was brief, as he had forgotten his glasses, but it left everyone wanting more.


Afterwards, Amanda hosted the Q&A, where the her and the audiences' fabulous questions were answered in depth. The first question: Do you scare yourself sometimes? Zan responded by praising the power of fear in crime novels, saying that in a way, the author becomes guilty of the crime. "You see what you can do to the reader. You become the perpetrator, but in a totally safe way!"


When asked if he wrote with a strict plan in mind, Lucarelli responded that, while he had initially carefully plotted the De Luca trilogy, when he started to spend time with the character, he noticed that he wasn't do what Lucarelli was telling him to do. In getting to know the character he realized that he needed different plot points. So it took longer, but in the end, he was happier with the result, because it was true to the character.


When asked how the authors built suspense, and created those peaks and valleys throughout their novels, Wolf Haas was ready to go: "I’ll go first because I have a very disappointing answer,” he said.  He’s not at all interested in suspense, and uses suspense as a pretext for all the other things you need to get right in a book. 

Thanks again to Maisonneuve, the 2014 Blue Metropolis Festival, and everyone who came out to this wonderful showcase of international crime writing talent!

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