Mystery Writers Fest in Key West

The 2nd annual Mystery Writers Key West Fest launches this Friday, August 14, with international bestselling and global multi-award winning suspense-thriller writer Jeffery Deaver headlining a Who’s Who of world class story tellers whose tales keep readers up all night – and often with the lights on.

Open to published authors, aspiring authors and non-writing mystery-buffs, the Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel is the main setting for the “Murder & Mayhem in Paradise” themed Fest – a weekend of total mystery immersion via panels, presentations, workshops, book signings and social events with Deaver and other genre giants.

Kicking off at 1 p.m. on Friday afternoon, two back-to-back true-crime workshops led by Florida Keys Law Enforcement Officers will present a bird’s eye view of how detectives and CSI investigators collect and work with evidence in real life.

Next up, Irish mystery writer Laurence O’Bryan will present a Social Media & Writing session, followed by an audio books discussion with noir author Mike Dennis. With the evening comes a welcome celebration presided over by New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Heather Graham and Key West City officials at Smokin’ Tuna Saloon, and a libations stroll though some of Key West’s popular places, including the Hog’s Breath Saloon, Fairvilla, Pat Croce’s Rum Barrel and Schooner Wharf Bar.


Saturday’s series of panels is populated with leading mystery fiction authors representing a variety of genres including (but not limited to), action/adventure, comic, “cozy” mysteries, conspiracy thrillers, forensic, hardboiled, supernatural, noir and police procedural. They include, “Does Sex Sell,” with Jeffery Deaver, Don Bruns, Nancy J. Cohen, Vicki Hendricks, and Laurence O’Bryan, moderated by Heather Graham; “Choosing a Point of View” with authors John H. Cunningham, Heather Graham, David Beckwith and Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, moderated by Shirrel Rhoades; “The Mystery Umbrella” with James O. Born, Chuck Van Soye, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Nancy J. Cohen, and Mike Dennis, moderated by Don Bruns; and “Character vs Plot” with Robert Coburn, Sandra Balzo, Sharon Potts, and Chris Kuzneski, moderated by Libby Fischer Hellmann.

True crime takes its turn under examination during the final panel of the day. Moderated by author James O. Born, the panel features notable area true crime experts: Florida Department of Law Enforcement Carol Frederick, Joint Interagency Task Force Jim Linder, Drug Enforcement Administrator Ken Davis (ret), Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay, KWPD Chief Donie Lee, and USCG Commander Jim Fitton (ret) who will share insights on the Keys criminal element and details of the strange crimes that surround them.

Saturday highlights also include a luncheon with Jeffery Deaver, presentation of the inaugural Jeremiah Healy Mystery Writing Award, the opportunity to participate in a roundtable editing critique session with Deni Dietz, Senior Editor for Five Star Publications, and a dinner with award-winning author and former undercover agent James O. Born, followed by a Tropic Cinema screening of the Cannes International Film Festival selection, “Swingers Anonymous,” a neonoir film presented by Key West based director Quincy Perkins.

Sunday is for chilling along the waterfront with the Fest’s finale Bloody Mary Sunday Morning Buffet Breakfast at the island’s iconic Schooner Wharf Bar.

Sponsored by the Key West Citizen, Mystery Writers of America – Florida Chapter, the Florida Keys Council of the Arts and numerous public and private sponsors, the Fest is produced by Shirrel Rhoades, an award-winning writer and publisher (Absolutely Amazing eBooks), and author Michael Haskins via their company Key West Writers Bloc. At just $125, the Mystery Writers Key West Fest includes full access to three days of panels, presentations and social events, plus three meals. “It’s practically criminal,” says Rhoades.

For more information and a complete schedule visit

Source: Global Multi-Award Winning Suspense-Thriller Writer Jeffery Deaver to Headline August 14-16 Mystery Writers Fest at Key West Marriott Beachside –