In the Steddy Theater. Book sales, bites, and bar available. Free but registration encouraged.
Our favorite characters in crime, mystery, thriller, and horror writing often go above, around, or beyond the law — some also breaking the “laws” of nature. In this panel, former and practicing lawyers turned crime writers, and writers with deep understanding of criminal and natural law, discuss their research and process for writing believable, compelling crime. Join scholar of Native American issues, law and political science, and author of the multi award-winning debut Winter Counts, David Heska Wanbli Weiden; novelist and lawyer best known for the Lucky O’Toole Las Vegas Adventures series of romantic, humorous mystery novels, Deborah Coonts; 25 year L.A. trial lawyer turned writer of the Jack MacTaggart series of legal mysteries, Chuck Greaves; New York Times best-selling author of the Detective Betty series, Kathleen Kent; and author of the forthcoming Unweildy Creatures, a queer gender reversal retelling of Frankenstein, Addie Tsai in getting the goods on lawlessness, villainy, misdeeds, and justice in some our favorite books.
David Heska Wanbli Weiden, an enrolled citizen of the Sicangu Lakota nation, is author of the novel WINTER COUNTS (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2020). WINTER COUNTS, an IndieBound bestseller, is a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and was named one of the Best Books of 2020 by NPR, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Amazon, Sun Sentinel, LitReactor, CrimeReads, Deadly Pleasures, Air Mail, MysteryPeople, and BOLO Books. The book was also selected as an Amazon Best Mystery and Thriller of the year, an Indie Next pick, Best Noir Fiction and Best Debut of the Year as well as a Notable Selection for Best Crime Novel by CrimeReads. The novel was a main selection of the Book of the Month Club, Best of the Month by Apple Books, and was the November choice of the BuzzFeed Book Club and the AWP Virtual Book Club.
Kathleen Kent is a New York Times bestselling author and a two-time Edgar Award Nominee for her contemporary crime novels, The Dime and The Burn. The Washington Post writes of the series, “Raymond Chandler praised Dashiell Hammett for taking crime fiction out of the drawing room and into the streets. With Betty Rhyzyk, Kathleen Kent brings those mean streets to life as excitingly as anybody has in years.” The third Det. Betty book, titled The Pledge, will be released Nov. 2021. Ms. Kent is also the author of three award-winning historical novels, The Heretic’s Daughter, The Traitor’s Wife, and The Outcasts. She has written short stories and essays for D Magazine, Texas Monthly and LitHub, and has been published in the crime anthology Dallas Noir. In March 2020 she was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters for her contribution to Texas literature.
Addie Tsai (any/all) is a queer nonbinary artist and writer of color. They collaborated with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater on Victor Frankenstein and Camille Claudel, among others. Addie holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College and a PhD in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. She is the author of the queer Asian young adult novel Dear Twin. Unwieldy Creatures, their adult queer biracial retelling of Frankenstein, is forthcoming from Jaded Ibis Press in 2022. They are the Fiction Co-Editor at Anomaly, Staff Writer at Spectrum South, and Founding Editor & Editor in Chief at just femme & dandy.
Deborah Coonts swears she was switched at birth. Coming from a family of homebodies, Deborah is the odd woman out, happiest with a passport, a high-limit credit card, her computer, and changing scenery outside her window. Goaded by an insatiable curiosity, she flies airplanes, rides motorcycles, travels the world, and pretends to be more of a badass than she probably is. Deborah is the author of the Lucky O’Toole Vegas Adventure series, a romantic mystery romp through Sin City. Wanna Get Lucky?, the first in the series, was a New York Times Notable Crime Novel and a double RITA™ Award Finalist. She has also penned the Kate Sawyer Medical Thriller series, the Brinda Rose Humorous Mystery series, as well as a couple of standalones. Although often on an adventure, you can always track her down at www.deborahcoonts.com.
Chuck Greaves has been a finalist for most of the major awards in crime fiction including the Shamus, Macavity, Lefty, and Audie, as well as the New Mexico-Arizona, Oklahoma, and Colorado Book Awards, the CAL Award for Fiction, and the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. He is the author of six novels, most recently Tom & Lucky (Bloomsbury), a Wall Street Journal “Best Books of 2015” selection, and Church of the Graveyard Saints (Torrey House), the six-city “Four Corners/One Book” community reading selection for 2019-2020. Chuck’s screenwriting debut “Badwater” is currently in production in Los Angeles. You can visit him at www.chuckgreaves.com.
For Immediate Release
Announcing the 2021 Murder in the Mountains Festival
The Crested Butte Center for the Arts is thrilled to present the third-annual Murder in the Mountains Thriller Festival held over Halloween weekend, October 29-31. At its core, Murder in the Mountains is a genre fiction festival but also a celebration of mystery, noir, and horror in books, film, live theater, dance, games, and food. Held in the brand new, state-of-the-art Center for the Arts, organizers are excited to welcome a host of award-winning presenters for a weekend of thrills that include readings, workshops, live theater, film screenings, panel discussions, murder mystery dinner, live podcast events, trivia, dance workshops, special effects makeup masterclass, junior forensics workshops, tastings, and more.
“We are so excited to announce Murder in the Mountain’s most dynamic lineup yet! Leaning into the Halloween weekend, we decided to break open the festival to include events and programming for everyone — from book talks and readings, to live theatre and dance, we hope all of your Halloween desires will be sated,” said Festival Director, Brooke MacMillan.
Books & writing
Festival authors include David Heska Wanbli Weiden, an enrolled citizen of the Sicangu Lakota Nation and author of the novel Winter Counts, an IndieBound bestseller, New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and named one of the Best Books of 2020. Weiden will give a reading and take part in a panel discussion over the weekend.
Also joining the festival, New York Times bestselling author and a two-time Edgar Award Nominee for her contemporary crime novels, The Dime and The Burn, Kathleen Kent, will host a workshop on crime writing, give a reading and sit on a panel discussing criminal and natural law in writing. Novelist and 25-year L.A. trial lawyer turned writer of the Jack MacTaggart series of legal mysteries, Chuck Greaves. Festival-goers will also be treated to a special screening of Greaves recent television project, “Badwater,”
Novelist and lawyer best known for the Lucky O’Toole Las Vegas Adventures series of romantic, humorous mystery novels, Deborah Coonts will lend her voice and considerable expertise to the festival. Author of the forthcoming Unweildy Creatures, a queer gender reversal retelling of Frankenstein, Addie Tsai will give a workshop on retellings of classic and contemporary texts. All authors will get into the goods on lawlessness, villainy, misdeeds, and justice at Saturday’s panel discussion, Bending, breaking and defying law.
New this year and not to miss, enjoy lunch on the edge of your seat with famed British playwright Harold Pinter’s classic, one-act comedy-drama, The Dumb Waiter. Starring Tony Award nominee for Best Actor Sam Robards, and acclaimed actor and WCU Theatre Director, Steven Cole Hughes as hitmen awaiting their next target.
Screened in the stunning Steddy Theatre, enjoy a curated flight of Buckel Family wines and a very special screening of the film noir classic The Big Sleep. Also, Sunday, check out award-winning mystery writer Chuck Greaves and veteran director Felix Alcala (ER, Breaking Bad, The Good Wife, Madam Secretary, etc.) roughcut TV pilot “Badwater.” Cult classic, Young Frankenstein, will round out the weekend’s film offerings.
The weekend also includes a thrilling trivia night with the mind behind the hugely popular Quiz Quiz Bang Bang podcast, testing your smarts on all things mystery, noir, horror, and monsters in literature, pop culture, movies, television, and more.
Saturday, join former and practicing lawyers turned crime writers, and writers with deep understanding of criminal and natural law, as they discuss their research and process for writing believable, compelling crime. Sunday, Colorado County Coroner, Michael Barnes; local historian, Duane Vandenbusche and special surprise guests will discuss murder, mystery, and intrigue in Colorado.
Murder Mystery Dinner
Join other festival-goers for a costumed and ghoulishly immersive Murder Mystery Dinner Saturday night when all the underworld is invited to Dracula’s birthday party and a hunt quickly ensues for a ghoulish killer. Dinner by local favorite the Divvy Ghost Kitchen.
Over coffee Saturday morning, David Flora of the Blurry Photos podcast will give a live podcast recording with audio and visual storytelling and facts, exploring the unexplained by seeking the facts behind the fiction of the world’s most fascinating, unbelievable, and chilling mysteries and legends.
Special effects makeup
An introduction to gore and special effects makeup will be led by local artist and theater designer William Spencer Musser on Saturday and Sunday, including discussion, demonstration, and hands-on activities focused on creating wounds, scars, and other bloody trauma for those getting ready for Halloween, or fans of the horror genre.
Entertainment for the little ones can be found at the Junior Forensic Workshop with the Crested Butte Marshalls Office where young detectives will dust for fingerprints, case footprints and solve a crime scene mystery in this wonderful introduction to forensic science. Look also for a super spooky craft and storytelling sessions for little ones.
Sunday, learn modern monster dance moves with master dance instruction Sasha Chudacoff — just in time for hip-shaking Halloween.
The 2021 Murder in the Mountains Festival will take place October 29-31 in Crested Butte, Colorado. For a full schedule and to purchase tickets, visit https://crestedbuttearts.org/event/murder-in-the-mountains-a-thriller-festival/
COVID 19 Info: To attend Murder in the Mountains, proof of full vaccination (via vaccination card) OR proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to the event start time. Thank you for doing your bit to keep our festival community safe and healthy!