Monday, March 15, 2010

Left Coast Crime 2010 - Part I

I have so much to tell you about Left Coast Crime 2010! So much, I'm going to turn this into several posts.

I was one of the Guests of Honor this year, and I consider this among the highest honors I've received.

I was asked to be a GOH a few years ago by Paul Anik, an incredibly bright and energetic lover of mystery books. He collected them, and reviewed for "I Love a Mystery."

Paul and his wife, Barbara, traveled all the way to Santa Barbara to surprise me an appearance there, and you'll get a glimpse of his sense of humor when I tell you that Paul, an attorney, "served" me with a "subpoena" -- an invitation to be a Guest of Honor in that format. I was so flattered -- the first mystery convention I ever attended was Left Coast Crime 1992, so Left Coast Crime has always been special to me. When Paul offered this prestigious honor to me, of course I immediately agreed!

Paul's enthusiasm was contagious, and over the next two years I saw him make many efforts to ensure that LCC2010 was a success.

Then tragedy struck. In early 2009, Paul died of a heart attack. He was an active man, and far too young to be lost in this way, and it was a great shock to all who knew and loved him. To have someone so full of life and laughter suddenly taken from us seemed incomprehensible. (You can see a photo of him and read more about his life here.)

Paul's committee of volunteers carried on his work. Putting a convention together isn't easy under any circumstances, but this group did so after losing the chief organizer of the event, and while dealing with their own grief over his loss.

They dedicated this convention to his memory, and I was deeply honored to be seated with Barbara and his children, Vanessa and Ben, at the convention banquet.

In tribute to Paul, LCC 2010 created the Panik Award, given for the "best Los Angeles noir book published in 2009." It was won by Linda L Richards for Death Was in the Picture.

I think Paul would have been very pleased by how his convention turned out. I heard nothing but raves from attendees. He worked hard to ensure that his fellow mystery readers would have a great experience, and the committee ensured that happened. And I think he would have been especially happy to know that his pick of Downtown Los Angeles as the site of the event proved to be a excellent choice.

1 comment:

Linda L. Richards said...

What a terrific post, Jan. Thank you. I didn't know much about Paul and I feel I know him a little bit now. I've excerpted a bit of this on my own blog, hope that's okay. But I was delighted at my book winning The Panik Award and I wanted to be able to share a bit about Paul with my readers. And now I have.

Thanks, again!