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A light moment with the Palm Beach Peril panel

International Thriller Writers and the Palm Beach County Library system teamed up on Saturday, April 15 to present Palm Beach Peril.  Hosted by the incomparable Oline Cogdill, the panel included veteran author Meg Gardiner and debut authors Elena Hartnell, Kent Lester, KJ Howe, Lili Wright, and Mark Spivak.

Meg Gardiner

The questions ranged from specifics about their books to what books the panel considered inspirational. Meg admitted Stephen King was her muse–and that he still scared her. Her newest book, Unsub, launches June 27th.

Mark Spivak

Mark Spivak wrote Friend of the Devil, a culinary thriller about a restauranteur who makes a pact with the horned one. While he didn’t name names, a very prominent club in Palm Beach owned by a US President inspired his setting.

Elena Hartwell

Elena Hartwell had a special day. Her book One Dead, Two to Go qualified her as a debut author, but April 15th also marked the launch of her second book, Two Heads are Deader Than One. Her Eddie Shoes Mystery series may be lighthearted, but she still weaves social issues into her stories. Congrats Elena! You are now officially a veteran author!

Lili Wright

Lili Wright set her thriller in Mexico and her passion for the country, its people, and traditions was obvious to all in the audience. She honed her writing chops as a journalist and earned her MFA at Columbia University.

Debut authors K.J. Howe and Kent Lester

In her review, Oline Cogdill stated “K.J. Howe delivers a confident debut that combines a rip-roaring adventure, the contemporary issue of high-profile kidnapping with a story about a family fragmented by an unresolved crime.” Howe grew up a child of the world, living in several countries–and she brings that insider knowledge to her pages.

Kent Lester’s background also informs his writing. He studied marine biology, and his thriller, The Seventh Sun, deals with illegal deep sea activities. One of his favorite diving destinations is Honduras and the locale features prominently in his novel.

Congratulations to all the debut authors and special thanks to Meg Gardiner and Oline Cogdill. The presentation drew a large crowd, and the speakers were fascinating.

My to be read pile just got taller.