In my short time in publishing, one of the great things I've discovered about the business is that you get to meet a lot of wonderful people. People you never dreamed you'd get a chance to meet.
Years ago, while I was in the midst of my Hollywood phase, I longed to write a novel. But I was one of those wannabes who are always planning to write that novel "some day" while never bothering to lift a finger to actually do it.
During a vacation to visit family in Hawaii, I was in the Honolulu Bookstore (which, sadly, no longer exists), browsing the magazine rack, when I saw an ad for a hot new thriller coming out by an author named Tess Gerritsen. I looked at the photo and was pleasantly surprised. Ms. Gerritsen looked like a "local girl," someone you might bump into at Ala Moana Shopping Center.
Intrigued, I sought out her book, Harvest, and found myself falling instantly in love with her writing. And I can't tell you what that did to my spirit. Her obvious talent, along with the fact that she wrote the kind of book I loved, AND looked like someone I could have grown up with in Honolulu, gave me hope that I might one day do exactly what she had done.
Of course, it took me many years to get off my okole and finally do it. But once I got my book deal with SMP, I sent Tess an email and she responded immediately and the next thing I knew, she was reading and blurbing my first book. I discovered that Ms. Gerritsen was as classy as she looked in that author photo and I was thrilled to be exchanging emails with her. I also found out that she had actually LIVED in Hawaii for many years and practiced medicine there. So I actually COULD have bumped into her at Ala Moana.
I finally met Tess in the flesh at Thrillerfest Arizona. And she's as much of a class act in person as she is via email. Just prior to that meeting, she had contacted me about a presentation she was planning and I volunteered to help her put together a video segment. It was a bit of a rush job, Tess writing the script, her husband shooting some of the witness footage and recording some audio, which they then sent to me.
I shot more footage, added music, sound effects and some graphics and the video made its debut at that very first Thrillerfest.
The presentation was well attended, but I'm sure there are a lot of you out there who never got a chance to see it. So, as a way of welcoming Tess to Murderati, I decided to show you the video here. I've made a few changes. Blurred out some of the autopsy images that made the Thrillerfest audience cringe, and changed another small section, but it's pretty much what Tess showed during that presentation.
Oh, and don't expect Emmy award winning material. Far, far from it. The guy who plays the cop is probably the worst actor on the planet, but he told me he had a lot of fun doing it. Think of it as the neighborhood kids putting on a play.
What you'll see here was merely the beginning of Tess's wonderful presentation. After you watch, skip down below for a follow-up and a chance to win something.
Here we go:
Okay, now that you've seen it, I hope you were paying attention, because the medical examiner at the end of the video was dead wrong about cause of death.
So your job? Tell us what really killed this poor guy. Yeah, I know, the clues are a bit sketchy -- most of it was filled out by Tess and Doug Lyle's follow-up, but take a guess anyway.
The first person who gets it right, wins a copy of my just released paperback KISS HER GOODBYE, along with the trade version of my recent UK release, WHISPER IN THE DARK.
Oh, and no cheating. Anyone who saw the video at Tess's presentation or read the solution later is ineligible for the prize. So, feel free to comment, but please refrain from giving away the answer. Next week, I'll show you the very brief ending, along with all the credits, and announce the winner.
And, answer or not, I hope you'll all join me in welcoming the lovely and talented Ms. Tess Gerritsen to Murderati.