Sharon Long is reporting back from the Forensics & Technology panel at the world's largest Mystery Convention, Bouchercon.
I was extremely excited to go Forensics & Technology: the Changing Face of Criminal Investigation. Author Kathy Reichs, one of the American Guests of Honor was on the panel. She has always been a favorite of mine, not only a practicing forensic anthropologist but the author of 18 Temperance Brennan novels. Her novels were transformed into the hit TV series Bones and she serves as an executive producer for the show.
DNA was discussed a great deal and what was most extraordinary for me is that only a minuscule part of a person's DNA is in the DNA bank. Kathy mentioned this is to ensure there are no HIPPA issues if a person has a disease or medical condition. She was asked about what type of books she personally enjoys. Her answer a good old fashioned murder mystery - short, credible, plausible and entertaining. When she is writing, Kathy interjects enough science to be believable but does not want the story to be dry.
Anne Hillerman, author who is continuing the Navajo detective stories her father, Tony, made popular, books are set on a reservation. Since there is no water, electricity and somewhat primitive conditions, cops have to use their gut instincts. It was interesting to hear Anne say that she loves characters and uses the human element building her story around that with the hero solving the crime.
Ryan Quinn, author of End of Secrets, writes mostly about espionage. He stated that readers keep him to a high bar for details. If you can believe it, Ryan reads redacted FBI reports for fun over the holidays while his family thinks he is crazy.
Ludwig Lettau, who writes under the pen name Alex Lettau, is an infectious disease specialist. He tries to make his stories medically plausible but also appealing to the average reader. What I loved most was when Ludwig was asked if zombies are real. His answer, most diseases take weeks to develop, not hours or minutes as in the movies.
Bottom line - zombies unfortunately are not real but are FUN. The crowd was roaring at this point and it was the perfect ending.