From the Booking Desk:

Last night I attended the first ever Northern Virginia Noir at the Bar. It was held at Busboys & Poets in Shirlington Village and was also co-sponsored by Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. The venue could not have been any more perfect for an event of this type. As far as the participates, there was never any doubt, but this was an evening that confirmed we have some of the most talented crime fiction writers working in the MD/DC/VA corridor. The list of accolades read over the course of the evening touched on every possible highlight for a crime fiction career. Here is just a brief rundown of the event. Hopefully, you will join us for the next Northern Virginia Noir at the Bar.

Josh Pachter hosted the event and he made everyone feel welcome and keep the evening flowing, while also providing important information about the readers. He was also the final reader for the evening. Josh read a great story, one that is already scheduled for publication next year, that incorporated some B. B. King lyric in a very clever way.

Ed Aymar wrote a “choose your own adventure-” style story, even though he knew that this sadistic crowd was going to choose the most violent path each time. Just as members of the audience (yes, my table) planned to throw him a curveball, he forced our hand and ended the story on a high point.

One of the names that might be new to fans, Jehane Sharah also proved to be one of the most memorable. Jehane provided a story about a traffic accident, a window-shield washer, and four little words that can change a life…or a death.

Clowns provided the backdrop for John Copenhaver’s creepy story that also addressed the challenges of fitting in (and standing out) during high school. John has a way of tapping into the outsider perspective in ways that make it relatable to everyone and this story followed that tradition.

I could listen to Shawn A. Crosby read forever! He graced the audience with his Anthony-Award-Nominated story, “The Grass Beneath My Feet,” and it was instantly clear why this man in generating the buzz that he currently is. This incredible story was a touching and tragic tale that hit all the right notes.

It is no secret that I am a huge Angie Kim fan. Her story last night – “Displacement” – only further proved that when it comes to writing about motherhood in a deeply visceral way, no other writer comes close to Angie Kim. This tiny, intimate story elicited an epic response from the gathered crowd.

Short story legend David Dean regaled the audience with a tale that felt more like a play than a mere story. David’s reading of it, complete with dramatic pauses and Irish accents, allowed the crowd to visualize every strategically-placed moment as if a movie were playing in our minds.

Of all the readers last night, Stacy Woodson is probably the one making the biggest splash in the short story world at the moment. Her work is appearing everywhere one turns and it never fails to impress. Last night, her story documenting the most twisted of Thanksgiving dinners was the shortest of the bunch, but rest assured, it sure did pack a punch.

Unfortunately, Dana King was also scheduled to read, but took ill and was unable to participate. No doubt, he will appear at a future Northern Virginia Noir at the Bar evening.

I hope that we will see you there as well!