Lovers of mystery novels or trivia contests have an unusual opportunity to spend an day indulging in both pleasures at the Monroe Library Saturday.
Washington is a state rich in true crime and mystery writers.
Among the most famous are Gregg Olsen, who has sold more than a million copies of true crime books, some of them set in Washington state, and Anne Rule, perhaps the most famous of the Pacific Northwest’s true crime writers, with 33 books in print.
But there are dozens of successful lesser-known mystery writers in the region, and five of them are coming to Monroe to read from their work, play trivia, sign books and meet residents at the Monroe Library in two separate events Saturday.
The writers are all members of a group of mystery novelists called the Seattle7Writers, which includes Bernadette Pajer of Monroe, author of the critically acclaimed Professor Bradshaw series. It was Pajer who organized the event.
At 11 a.m., Elizabeth George, a multinational mystery success who lives on Whidbey Island, will come and read from her latest young adult book, “The Edge of the Water.”
Elizabeth George has written many books of both fiction and non-fiction, and is so highly regarded as a literary writer that she was accorded an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Cal State University at Fullerton, as well as an honorary masters from another institute in 2010.
She is best known for her New York Times best-selling Inspector Lynley series, set in England.
The series of intricate mysteries about upperclass English police officer Inspector Lynley and his working-class female partner was very successful, including 18 novels, 11 of which were adapted for BBC television. On the strength of the series, she has won some of the most prestigious writing awards in the world, including the Agatha Award for her first novel in 1988.
She herself is not a native of England; prior to her writing career she was a high school English teacher in California.
She has drawn on her experience with young people to create her current young adult series, set on Whidbey Island.
The series got off to a gripping start in “The Edge of Nowhere,” in which a mother, fleeing a homicidal husband, changes her own identity and that of her telepathic teenaged daughter and seeks a new life in the Pacific Northwest. The mother leaves her daughter with a friend on Whidbey Island before heading up to Canada to find them a new home.
The tense and atmospheric story returns with “The Edge of the Water,” the latest of the series, and George will read from that and sign copies at the Monroe Library.
The Pacific Northwest is a great place for suspense novels, and Whidbey Island in particular, she once said, with its colorful places and diverse population.
The Crime Squad
Then at 2 p.m., five members of the Seattle7 “Crime Squad” will gather and battle for points in a literary trivia contest, with audience members welcome to participate, and there are prizes.
The writers include William Dietrich, Mike Lawson, Boyd Morrison, Monroe’s own Bernadette Pajer, and Elizabeth George.
William Dietrich is a NY Times best-selling writer and journalist, known for his popular series about adventurer Ethan Gage. The books Napoleon’s Pyramids and The Rosetta Key were translated into 28 languages.
Besides Ethan Gage books, Dietrich also writes historic epics, thrillers such as “Blood of the Reich,” which features a Seattle protagonist, and mysteries such as “Dark Winter,” set in Antarctica. His nonfiction works include “Natural Grace,” “The Charm,” “Wonder” and “Lessons of Pacific Northwest Animals and Plants,” as well as a story of the Columbia River.
Dietrich grew up in the Puget Sound, went to Western Washington University in Bellingham, and then wrote for the Bellingham Herald. He since traveled and lived in more than 30 countries, worked for the Seattle Times and shared a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Exxon Valdez disaster, but now lives 20 miles from his first bureau office.
He set his first book in Forks, Wash., and joked that he made a “colossal career mistake” by not including vampires.
Mike Lawson is well known for the DeMarco series, 10 suspenseful political thrillers. The first, “The Inside Ring,” was named by the Seattle Times as one of the top 10 thrillers of 2005 and was published in 10 countries.
He has since embarked on a new series, called the Rosarito Beach series, starring a DEA agent named Kay Hamilton.
This month, number 10 in the DeMarco series comes out. Called “House Reckoning,” it’s a tale of revenge that goes back to DeMarco’s father’s secrets.
Lawson grew up in Colorado and came to the area to study engineering at Seattle University before spending 30 years working in the Navy’s nuclear power program. In 2004, he sold his first book, and has written 10 more since then.
Boyd Morrison is a writer of thrillers, including the Tyler Locke series, which began with “The Ark,” involving a hunt for Noah’s Ark that results in the discovery that a cult has a credible plan to recreate the biblical flood and the heroes have seven days to stop it.
That first novel was nominated for Best First Mystery by RT Book Reviews and was an Indie Next Notable Pick.
He’s since written five more novels, the most recent selected as one of Suspense Magazine’s Best of 2013.
Morrison is a colorful character himself. He and his wife had a deal; he’d get her through nine years of med school, and then he’d have nine years to pursue his dream of being a successful fiction writer, a goal he achieved in five years. Prior to that, though, he used his mechanical engineering education to work on the Space Station Freedom project, during which he got to ride on the plane used to train astronauts for zero gravity.
He then earned a PhD in engineering, and earned 11 patents working at RCA.
Upon moving to Seattle so his wife could finish her degree at the University of Washington, he got a fun job playing video games for a living in the Xbox Game Group at Microsoft.
In 2003, he was a winning contestant on the show Jeopardy, and he is also a commercial, stage and screen actor.
To relax, he whitewater rafts, skis, scuba dives and bungee jumps.
The event takes place at the Monroe Public Library, beginning at 11 a.m. with Elizabeth George and continuing at 2 p.m. with the Seattle7Writer’s “Crime Squad.” Admission is free.