Bouchercon, as some of you may not know, is an annual International Conference of Mystery Writers, readers, and friends. It’s held in a different city each year, and I’m very proud that this year it will take place in Cleveland, Ohio. Hard to believe the convention is less than three months away!
I’m proud to be one of the Bouchercon guests of honor, along with Elizabeth George, Robin Cook and the icon of mystery thriller writers, the delightful Mary Higgins Clark. Frankly, among these guests of honor, I am the only one I’ve never heard of!
For those of you who’ll be arriving from out-of-town, or are THINKING about attending, I’d like to point out a few other things about Cleveland that you might not know:
- Many believe that the Cleveland Orchestra is the finest symphony orchestra in the United States, if not the world. I agree with them. And if you aren’t into classical music, the Rock and Roll Museum and Hall of Fame is just a four block walk from the Renaissance Hotel where Bouchercon will be held. Also, there is an amazing rock music community here, with small clubs too many to mention.
- Cleveland has the second-largest theater complex in America, Playhouse Square,second only to Lincoln Center in New York. It has one of the finest and most beautiful art museums in the world, the Cleveland Museum of Art. It also has the Cleveland Institute of Art and the Cleveland Institute of Music. It proudly supports art galleries in virtally every neighborhood.
- Considering that we’re considered a “medium-sized city,” we are proud of our THREE major league sports teams: The Cleveland Browns (football—but I’m sure you all know that), The Cleveland Indians (baseball) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (basketball). And they all play within walking distance of Public Square, location of the Renaissance Hotel.
- Bouchercon takes place within five blocks of Lake Erie, and within about three hundred feet from the Cuyahoga River. “Cuyahoga,” by the way, is a Native American word meaning “crooked river.”
- Just across the river, on West 25th Street, is one of the country’s best food markets: The West Side Market, which celebrates its 100th birthday this year. It’s open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
- If you arrive by plane at Cleveland-Hopkins airport, no need to hassle about a taxi; trains run directly from the airport to the lower level of Tower City, in which the hotel is located. If it’s raining—well, sometimes it DOES rain in Cleveland—you won’t even get your feet wet.
What excites me most about Cleveland, though—what made me relocate here almost twenty-two years ago—is the people. Proud of their city, friendly and warm, strong in their loyalty to city, state and country, the Clevelanders are what seduced me into writing about Milan Jacovich and Cleveland in the first place, and they are the ones who inspire me to keep on writing about them. Hope you’ll learn more about some of them in a few weeks when you can read my newest, soon-to-be published novel, Whiskey Island.
My heart beats just a bit faster whenever I see our downtown skyline. I know you’ll love it as much as I do. Every out-of-town visitor I’ve ever spoken to raves about Cleveland and swears they’ll return to visit again. So, Bouchercon attendees, my chest swells with pride as I welcome you this year—to MY town.