Mystery Fest Key West 2017

2017 Headliners

John Hemingway

John Hemingway was born and raised in Miami and today lives with his wife Kristina in Montreal, Canada, where he works as a writer and translator. His critically acclaimed memoir, Strange Tribe (Lyons Press, May 2007), describes the love/hate relationship and the striking similarities between his father, Dr. Gregory Hemingway, and grandfather, Ernest Hemingway. His articles and short stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines in Spain, Italy and the U.S. John was a contributor to the Murder In Key West 3 anthology. A riveting storyteller, John has run 16 times with the bulls at the festival of San Fermín in Pamplona, Spain.

Clifford Irving

Clifford Michael Irving is an American novelist and investigative reporter. Although he has published 20 novels, he is best known for a fictional autobiography of millionaire recluse Howard Hughes, which was to be published in 1972. After Hughes denounced him and sued the publisher, McGraw-Hill, Irving and his collaborators confessed to the hoax. He was sentenced to  2 1⁄2 years in prison, of which he served 17 months.
Irving wrote The Hoax (1981), his account of events surrounding the development and sale of the fake autobiography. The book was adapted as a 2006 biopic of the same name, starring Richard Gere as Clifford Irving. He has continued to write, and publishes his books as e-books available via Kindle and Nook.

Randy Rawls

Some have asked, "Who is Randy Rawls? What makes him tick?"  Others who know me say, "I see a lot of you in your hero, Ace Edwards."  Me? I say I'm a simple guy who enjoys writing and hopes that others will find pleasure in my words.  I was born and reared in Williamston, North Carolina, a small town in the northeastern part of the state.  From there, I inherited a sense of responsibility, a belief in fair play, and a love of country.  These traits have carried me through my adulthood.  Each day, as I see some of the horrific events in our society, I know I was fortunate to be born into the Southern way of life.
In many ways, I've lived an idyllic life.  As a career US Army officer, I had the opportunity to learn, travel, teach, and hone talents inherited from my parents.  Following retirement, I worked in other ventures for the US Government where my opportunities continued.  But most of all, I've had fun.  Every job has in some way been fun.  Even the dark days of Vietnam had their light moments, and I cherish the camaraderie that was an integral part of survival in that hostile world.Continue Reading Here. . .

Charles Todd

Charles Todd is the 2017 winner of the Mary Higgins Clark Award (The Shattered Tree) and is the New York Times Best Selling co-author of the mother son team with Caroline Todd. They are the authors of 30 novels,, the short story anthology Tales and published 16 short stories. There are nineteen mystery thrillers in the Ian Rutledge Series. A Test of Wills was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and selected by the Independent Book Sellers Association as one of their favorite mysteries of the 20th century. A Red Door (December 2009) was the sixth consecutive novel to receive a starred review from Publishers Weekly and described as “One of the best historical mysteries being written today” Washington Post Book World. The Rutledge Novels have won The Agatha Award, Barry Award, Silver Falchion Award (Best Novel: Traditional Mystery) and received multiple nominations for the Anthony Award, and Nominations for the Edgar, and Mcallan Silver Dagger awards. Racing the Devil was released on February 14, 2017. There are nine mysteries in the Bess Crawford series beginning with A Duty to the Dead in 2009 and in 2013 An Unmarked Grave received the Macavity (Sue Feder) Historical Mystery Award. The next in the series A Casualty of War will be in stores in August 30, 2017.
Charles graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and business and the Culinary Institute of America in Culinary Arts. Beginning to write with Caroline while working as a corporate trouble shooter Charles has extensive business management experience. Charles is the President of the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America Board of Directors, and past president of the South East Chapter. Charles served for fourteen years in a variety of offices on the Mystery Writer of America National Board of Directors. Living in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida gives Charles access to great golf and his love of all things nautical.

Featured Presenters

Lisa Black

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Black spent the happiest five years of her life in a morgue. Strange, perhaps, but true. After ten years as a secretary, she went back to school to get a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Cleveland State University. In her job as a forensic scientist at the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office, she analyzed gunshot residue on hands and clothing, hairs, fibers, paint, glass, DNA, blood and many other forms of trace evidence, as well as crime scenes.
She had her life sorted out just the way she liked it until her husband got fed up with Cleveland snow and moved them to Florida, 1400 miles away from her family and her career. Not that she’s bitter or anything. Now she works as a latent print examiner for the city of Cape Coral, Florida, police department, working mostly with fingerprints and crime scenes. Continue Reading Here. . .

James O. Born

James O. Born is a former U.S. Drug agent and State Law Enforcement agent. Each of his novels is based on some aspect of his career. His third novel, Escape Clause, won the inaugural Florida Book Award for Best Novel.
In 2009 Born published the first in a series of science fiction novels under the name James O’Neal. The novels are police stories set in the near future.
Currently, Born is coauthoring novels with TV commentator Lou Dobbs and his newest novel, Scent of Murder, about a specialized K-9 unit, came out April 7.
Born is a graduate of Florida State University and received a Master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in Psychology. . Continue Reading Here. . .

Nancy J. Cohen

Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list, been selected by Suspense Magazine as best cozy mystery, and won third place in the Arizona Literary Awards. Nancy has also written the instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery. The author of over twenty novels, Nancy is a featured speaker at libraries, conferences, and community events.

Bill Craig

Bill Craig published his first novel at age 40 and says it only took him 34 years to become an overnight success! He has been publishing steadily ever since that first book Valley of Death and now has more books published than Carter has Little Liver Pills.

Heather Graham

New York Times and USA Today best selling author, Heather Graham, majored in theater arts at the University of South Florida. Her first book was with Dell, and since then, she has written more than one hundred novels and novellas including category, suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult and Christmas family fare. She has been published in approximately twenty languages, and has 75 million books in print. She has been honored with awards from Walden Books, B. Dalton, Georgia Romance Writers, Affaire de Coeur, Romantic Times and more. Heather has also become the recipient of the Silver Bullet from Thriller Writers. She has had books selected for the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild, and has been quoted, interviewed or featured in such publications as The Nation, Redbook, Mystery Book Club, People and USA Today and appeared on many newscasts including Today, Entertainment Tonight and local television. Continue Reading Here. . .

2017 Writers

David Beckwith

David Beckwith is a three-generation native of Greenville, Mississippi, with a BBA and an MBA from Ole Miss. His parents owned an independent cash commodity trading firm which also cleared securities trades through Goodbody & Co. David spent 40 years in the securities business, the first half of his career with Bache & Co. and its successors, the second half with Morgan Stanley. He retired as a Senior Vice President with approximately $500 million in responsibilities. For 25 years he has served as an adjunct professor at five different universities. His first book was a narrative nonfiction work published by the University of Alabama Press in 2009 entitled A New Day In The Delta. The Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters chose it as the runner-up for nonfiction book of the year. David and his wife Nancy started writing the Will and Betsy Black Adventure Series in 2010. The protagonists of this series are a married couple somewhat reminiscent of Nick and Nora Charles of The Thin Man Series or Jonathan and Jennifer Hart of Hart To Hart. Their unique hook was that like the books’ protagonists the authors were also a happily married couple. Moving to Key West, the Beckwiths were tapped to write a book review column for the Key West Citizen, which David continues to produce on a weekly basis.

Robert Coburn

A native of Norfolk, Virginia, Robert Coburn graduated from Maury High School and then spent three years in the U.S. Army.  Upon his discharge he enrolled in the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary VPI as an engineering student.  A year later he transferred to Richmond Professional Institute (now VCU) in Richmond, Virginia, as an advertising major, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Advertising.
Coburn spent his advertising career at major ad agencies in New York and Los Angeles.  He worked ten years with Doyle Dane Bernbach in New York, starting as a copywriter and becoming a Vice President Copy Supervisor.
He joined Rubin Postaer and Associates in Los Angeles where he became a Senior Vice President and Creative Director.Continue Reading Here. . .

John Cunningham

Author John H. Cunningham has a background as eclectic as his literary subjects. Once the editor in chief of The Pro Review, a magazine for professional photographers, he has also enjoyed a long career as a commercial real estate professional developing projects in New York City, Washington, D.C., Toronto and other Mid-Atlantic states. Like his fiction protagonist, Buck Reilly, he’s also an aviation enthusiast, island hopper and an avid escapist. John lived in Key West in the late '70's and early 80's, but now lives in Virginia with his wife and two daughters, and spends much of his time traveling. His choices for the places and plots that populate the Buck Reilly series include many subjects that he loves: Key West, Cuba, the Bahamas, and multiple Caribbean settings, along with amphibious aircraft, colorful characters, and stories that concern themselves with the same tensions and issues that affect all of our lives. He developed Buck Reilly as a protagonist who is more everyman than superman to create a hero on a human scale, with many of the same strengths and weaknesses as the rest of us. Wrapping these elements into a genre that is both popular and under-supplied, his work offers a compelling escape for readers who like against the odds stories in tropical settings. Continue Reading Here...

Mike Dennis

For thirty years, Mike Dennis was a professional musician, retiring from full-time playing around 2003. He then became a professional poker player, and left Key West for Las Vegas. In late 2009, one of his novels was picked up by a publisher and he had to abandon poker to devote time to developing a platform for his books. Since then he has published five more novels, two novelettes, and numerous individual short stories. In December, 2010, Mike moved back to Key West.
In 2013, he had the opportunity to get into audiobook narration. Since then, he has over 40 audio titles available, about half in the crime/noir genre. His biggest title is I, The Jury by Mickey Spillane, the first Mike Hammer novel. Continue Reading Here. . .

Lewis C. Haskell

Lewis C. Haskell spent his early career with a Fortune 500 company before founding a medical services firm. Today, in addition to writing mystery thrillers set in Key West where he lives, he runs an international consulting firm focused on CEOs and high net worth investors. He has chaired the board of a public company, served on the advisory boards of several not-for-profits and he taught leadership at UCLA. When not writing you can find him sailing in the Caribbean or traveling to various locations with his beautiful wife. Most recently he was in Cuba and Mexico.

Susan Haskell/Norah-Jean Perkin

Although fraternal twins born in Canada, Susan Haskell and Norah-Jean Perkin spent their lives apart. Susan has lived in Canada, the Midwest and on both U.S. coasts. She was an Operating Room Nurse assisting in hip replacements to open heart surgeries. As a traveler, she has experienced over 50 countries (still more to go). But being a Mum was her favorite job.
Norah-Jean has spent her working life in Ontario, Canada, as a newspaper reporter, freelance writer and editor, and fiction author. She has published five novels, Outrageous, Blue Dawn, Crazy in Chicago, Alien’s
Daughter and Night Secrets. Her inspiration has come from thrills and chills in places as far flung as Timbuktu, West Africa; Sydney, Australia; and down the street from the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario. She has a loving husband, and three grown children who keep returning to the “empty nest” despite her best efforts to keep them away.

Renee Kumor

Renee Kumor has lived in North Carolina for over thirty years. The setting for the River Bend Chronicles series reflects her early life in Ohio and her later years in western North Carolina. She was a stay-at-home mom for several years developing a personal ethic of community service. Through the years as her children aged, she became active in the political and non-profit life of the community. She began writing a political opinion column for the local newspaper, but retired from writing when she announced her candidacy for local political office. After eight years as a county commissioner, she returned to non-profit service and began writing a monthly column for the newspaper on non-profit management and service issues. Renee has been married to her husband for forty-four years. They have four children and four grandchildren.
Listen to an interview on Middle of the Air

Meg Muldoon

Meg Muldoon is the Amazon bestselling author of 12 books. A former small town news reporter, Meg has always had a special place in her heart for lost dogs, homeless cats, and feisty old locals. She enjoys bread pudding, red cowboy boots, and craft glue guns.

Meg loves writing cozy mysteries with humor and heart. She lives in central Oregon with an Australian cattle dog named Huckleberry.

Siera London

I write about Sassy, Sensual heroines and the Alpha Males that love them, flaws and all. 
Contemporary romance and women's fiction is my therapy of choice. I served 22 years in the United States Navy as a registered nurse before I decided to focus on my writing career. It's never too late, to follow your heart's desire.  
I live in Florida Keys with my husband and a color patch tabby named Frie. I am a pet lover at heart. I would gladly welcome more furry friends into the household; however, I had to guilt my husband into the cat. As a native Floridian, it's nice to leave the DC weather in the rearview mirror. Continue Reading Here. . .

Rick Ollerman

I was born in Minneapolis some time in what seems like the distant past. My parents told me I taught myself to read using the Sunday comics and a particular comic strip that showed each letter of the alphabet and, apparently, how to use it. This might be so. I've read of other people who have made that claim themselves. Regardless, I was an early reader. The Hardy Boys, Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigaorsi, biographies, history, pretty much anything I could get my hands on. I won the reading contests at the library in Simsbury, Connecticut for a few years.
Like many people I followed a trajectory of science fiction to westerns and on to crime fiction. I still read what a good amount of science fiction, especially when I walk outside and see the stars and the Milky Way shining down on my house in the New Hampshire north country woods. Continue Reading Here. . .

Reef Perkins

Captain Mark T. "Reef" Perkins is a marine surveyor with a colorful past. From commanding a 150-foot 300 DWT US Army diving ship off Vietnam to smuggling in the Caribbean, Reef Perkins has become a living legend. A graduate of both the US Army Engineer Officer Candidate School and the US Navy Salvage Officers School, he’s a man comfortable in or out of the water. Raised in rural Michigan, Reef now lives in Key West where he can get his feet wet.

Ken Rijock

Ken Rijock is author of "The Laundry Man" and "Dirty Dealing." Twice decorated Vietnam veteran. High flying lawyer. And one of the world's biggest money launderers. In 1980s Miami, Ken Rijock was the middle man between the Columbians and the Mafia flooding America's streets with cocaine and marijuana. Every Friday, carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars in a tattered suitcase, he would fly by private jet to a tax haven in the Caribbean. Rijock's operation was responsible for "cleaning" over $200 million of dirty cash. And all the time he was in love with a cop. It finally came crashing down when a client testified against him. He agreed go undercover for the FBI, and he now works with banks and governments to track the new generation of money launderers.

Shirrel Rhoades

Co-founder of Mystery Writers Key West Fest, Shirrel Rhoades is a man of many hats -- author of numerous mysteries and travel books, a publisher, syndicated film critic, former NYU professor, and museum president. Currently the publisher/CEO of Absolutely Amazing eBooks as well as New Pulp Press, he is a former executive with Reader’s Digest, Scholastic, Harper’s, and Marvel Entertainment, where he succeeded Stan Lee as publisher of Marvel Comics. The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication selected Rhoades as the 2014 Professional of the Year. He lives full-time in Key West with his wife Diane, 1 dog, and ½ cat. Continue Reading Here. . .

Marjory Sorrel Rockwell

Marjory Sorrell Rockwell says needlecraft arts – quilting, crocheting, knitting – are pastimes every woman can appreciate. And she loves quiltmaking. “It’s like painting with cloth,” she says. But when not quilting she writes mysteries about a midwestern sleuth not unlike herself, a middleaged lady with an unpredictable family and loyal friends. And she’s a big fan of watermelon pie.

Paul Sinor

Paul is a published novelist and produced screenwriter. He has two mystery series in print, one stand-alone novel, a book on marketing screenplays and eight feature films produced from his screenplays. He is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and was the Liaison to the TV and Film Industry in Los Angeles, CA for five years and worked on TRANSFORMERS 1&2, I AM LEGEND, GI JOE, THE MESSENGER and many other films and television episodes. He teaches screenwriting at the University of West Florida, in Pensacola. Paul has a MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. His website is:



True-Crime Experts

Carol Frederick - FLorida Department of Law Enforcement
Carol Frederick has been with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for 26 years. She has investigated fraud, corruption, missing persons and narcotics violations and is a nationally recognized speaker on the topic of identity theft. Carol is currently serving as FDLE’s Resident Agent in Charge for Monroe County.

Jim Linder - Joint Interagency Task Force
Jim Linder - is a President and CEO of Technical Systems Management Corporation, an aviation consulting and services firm in North Carolina. Specializing in aviation mysteries, Jim was heavily involved in the recent search for Malaysian Flight 370 and as member of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), participated in the September 2014 expedition to Nikumaroro Atoll to search for Amelia Earhart.

A former naval aviator, Jim served in every war and conflict involving the United States since Operation Just Cause in 1989 — in the air, on the ground, on the sea and under it. From 1999-2008, excluding periodic deployments to the Middle East, he ran drug interdiction operations in Latin America and the Caribbean while serving with the Defense Intelligence Agency in Key West.

Sheriff Rick Ramsay - Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Richard A. “Rick” Ramsay graduated from Marathon High School in 1984 as president of his class. His affinity for the field of law enforcement began in school, where he was in the Safety Patrol, eventually serving as captain. He was also a member of the Sheriff ’s Office Law Enforcement Explorers program. Rick’s strong desire to serve his community led him to attend the Florida Keys Institute of Criminal Justice — Law Enforcement Academy class of 1987. Upon graduation Rick began his career with the Monroe County Sheriff ’s Office as a road patrol deputy.

Rick’s next post was in the Traffic Enforcement Unit. He was promoted to sergeant of that unit before transferring back to Road Patrol in a supervisory role. He held the position of road patrol sergeant, then became detective sergeant of the Monroe County HIDTA Group, in the Special Operations and Narcotics Division. In 2012, he ran for Sheriff and was elected with an overwhelming majority of the vote.

Lt. Michael DiGiovanni - Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad Mike DiGiovanni spends most days stationed at the Key West International Airport. But if there is any danger of explosives in Monroe County, he springs into action as a member of the MCSO Bomb Squad. When on the scene of a suspicious situation, he’s often accompanied by his “partner,” the bomb squad robot.

“Johnny 5” - Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad Robot
Call him what you want, but the Bomb Squad Robot has on long arm for picking up strange packages and he can climb stairs.