MWC Faculty 2023


Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference 2023 Faculty

Cara Black - Hallie Ephron - Rachel Howzell Hall - Naomi Hirahara - Laurie R. King - John Lescroart - Tim Maleeny - Kelli Stanley


Cara Black
Conference Co-Chair
Bestselling author of the Aimée Leduc mysteries set in Paris. Hr latest in the series is
Murder at the Porte de VersaillesPublisher's Weekly describes her new book this wasy: “In bestseller Black’s riveting 20th Aimée Leduc investigation, tensions are high in Paris two months after 9/11 . . . Rich with detail about life in Paris, this entry illuminates the complications that friends and family can unwittingly create." She is a member of the Marais Societe Historique and received the Medaille de la Ville de Paris, bestowed on those supporting French culture. She is a San Francisco Library Laureate. The New York Times says "If the cobblestones could speak they might tell a tale as haunting as the one Black spins." Mystery Conference Alum. 


Rhys Bowen

New York Times bestselling author of the Anthony Award - and Agatha Award-winning Molly Murphy mysteries, the Edgar Award-nominated Evan Evans series, the Royal Spyness series, and several stand-alone novels including In Farleigh Field. Born in England, she lives in San Rafael, CA.

Susan Breall

San Francisco Superior court judge. When she was in the District Attorney's office, she supervised the prosecution of violent crimes against women, children, and the elderly.

Tony Broadbent

Writer of acclaimed mystery novels and short stories. His novels include The Smoke and The One After 9:09: A Mystery with a Backbeat Mystery Conference Alum. 

Peter Busch

Retired judge having served many years on the Superior Court of San Francisco County in California.

Kimberley Cameron
Literary agent and President of Kimberley Cameron and Associates. She has been successful with many different genres, and especially loves the thrill of securing representation for debut authors. Cameron represents both fiction and nonfiction manuscripts

Karen Catalona

A Deputy District Attorney for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, Karen Catalona prosecutes sex crimes and domestic violence. Her past assignments included the gang unit, felony trial team and prosecuting elder abuse.  She teaches at the Police Academy and recently wrote short plays as a 2017-2018 member of the PlayGround Writers Company.  She is currently revising her first novel.

Joe Clifford
The author of the soon-to-be-released The Shadow People. Clifford's previous books including The One That Got Away, and Junkie Love. He is the editor of the anthology Trouble in the Heartland: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Bruce Springsteen

Hallie Ephron

A New York Times bestselling author, Edgar Award finalist and five-time finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. Hallie teaches writing at workshops and writing conferences across the country and abroad, and was an award-winning crime fiction book reviewer for the Boston Globe for more than ten years. Lee Child called her book Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel “The best how-to guide I have ever seen — I just wish I could have read it twenty years ago.” Her latest novel is Careful What You Wish For.

George Fong
Spent twenty-seven years as a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, investigating all facets of violent crimes, including kidnapping, extortion, serial killings, crimes against children, bank robbery, drug trafficking, fugitives, and Asian gangs. He was a member of the FBI's Evidence Response Team and a certified undercover agent. Fong is now the Director of Security for the world-wide sports television network, ESPN, and author of the thrillers The Coldness of Night and Fragmented.  

Juliet Grames

Since 2010 she has worked at Soho Press, where she is associate publisher and curator of the critically acclaimed Soho Crime imprint and the literature in translation program. In 2022, she was the recipient of the Mystery Writers of America Ellery Queen Award for her editorial work in the crime fiction genre. Her debut novel, The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna (Ecco/HarperCollins), a national and international bestseller, was shortlisted for the New England Book Award and the Connecticut Book Award, and received Italy’s Premio Cetraro for contribution to Southern Italian literature. It has been translated into nine languages. Her second novel, The Lost Boy of Santa Chionia, is forthcoming from Knopf. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in Real Simple, Parade, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and the Boston Globe, among other venues.

Naomi Hirahara

The Edgar-winning author of the Mas Arai mystery series, including Blood HinaStrawberry YellowSayonara Slam, and the seventh and final in the series, Hiroshima Boy. She is also the author of the L.A.-based Ellie Rush mystery series, published by Penguin. Her Mas Arai books have earned such honors as the Chicago Tribune's Ten Best Mysteries and Thrillers and Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year.

Rachel Howzell Hall
Author of the acclaimed Lou Norton series, including Land of Shadows, Skies of Ash, Trail of Echoes, and City of Saviors, as well as They All Fall Down, a standalone thriller, and the co-author of The Good Sister with James Patterson, which was included in the New York Times bestseller The Family Lawyer. Her latest novels include And Now She's Gone. She is on the board of directors for Mystery Writers of America.

Joe Ide

Joe’s favorite books growing up were the Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories. The idea that a person could face the world and vanquish his enemies with just his intelligence fascinated him. Joe went on to earn a graduate degree and had several careers before writing his debut novel, IQ, inspired by his early experiences and love of Sherlock. HIs latest book, the sixth installment in his critically acclaimed series, is Fixit. 

Laurie R. King
The award-winning, bestselling author of seventeen Mary Russell mysteries, five contemporary novels featuring Kate Marinelli, and many acclaimed standalone novels such as Folly, Touchstone, The Bones of Paris, and Lockdown. King is an Edgar Award winner and was also named the 2022 Grand Master by Mystery Writers of America. She lives in Northern California, where she is at work on her next Mary Russell mystery.

Ellen Kirschman
A police psychologist for 40 years, she is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, The American Psychological Association, Sisters-in-Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and the Public Safety Writers Association. She is the recipient of the California Psychological Association's award for distinguished contribution to psychology as well as the American Psychological Association's award for outstanding contribution to the practice of police and public safety psychology. In addition to her award winning four book Dot Meyerhoff mystery series, Ellen is the author of I Love a Cop: What Police Families Need to Know; I Love a Fire Fighter: What the Family Needs to Knowand lead author of Counseling Cops: What Clinicians Need to KnowShe blogs with Psychology Today, writes an occasional newsletter, and maintains a website at

Elizabeth K. Kracht 

A literary agent with Kimberley Cameron & Associates and a freelance editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical writing from New York Institute of Technology. She has lived in New York, San Francisco, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, and regularly participates in writers’ conferences nationally and internationally.

James L’Etoile
Author of novels, short stories, and screenplays influenced by his 29 years behind bars. He is a former associate warden in a maximum security prison, a hostage negotiator, and director of California’s parole system. His published novels include At What Cost, Bury the Past, and Little River. Bury the Past was a Silver Falchion award finalist for best procedural mystery of the year.

John Lescroart

John Lescroart is the author of thirty novels, nineteen of which have been New York Times Bestsellers.  Libraries Unlimited has named John among “The 100 Most Popular Thriller and Suspense Authors.” With sales of over twelve million copies, his books have been translated into twenty-two languages in more than seventy-five countries, and his short stories appear in many anthologies. His most recent novel is The Missing Piece.

Tim Maleeny 
Conference Co-Chair
Author of the award-winning Cape Weathers mysteries including Boxing The Octopus, Stealing The DragonBeating The Babushka, Greasing The Piñata and the bestselling comedic thriller Jump, which Publishers Weekly called "a perfectly blended cocktail of escapism." Tim's short fiction has won the prestigious Macavity Award and appears in several leading anthologies.

Vilaska Nguyen
Felony trial attorney at San Francisco Public Defender's Office. For over a decade, he has tried cases ranging from drug sales to homicide. He guest lectures at USF School of Law and facilitates the mock-trial workshop at 826 Valencia, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting under-resourced youth in San Francisco. His short stories have been published in NANO Fiction, Blue Fifth Review: Blue Five Notebook Series, Squawk Back and As It Ought to Be. His story "Wardship" was nominated for Best Small Fiction of 2016 in the Queen's Ferry Press.

Bill Petrocelli
Author of Electoral Bait and Switch and mystery novel Through the Bookstore Window, Bill attended Oakland Public Schools and is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the U.C. Law School. In addition to several years in private practice, he served as a California Deputy Attorney General and as the head of a poverty law office in Oakland, California. He served on the Board of the American Booksellers Association and as attorney for the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, in which he successfully pursued a major price-discrimination suit against publishers. Recently, he was the plaintiff in a First Amendment case challenging a California law that threatened to interfere with the distribution of autographed books.

Susan C. Shea
Author of Dressed for Death in Burgundy as well as Love & Death in Burgundy, and the Dani O’Rourke mystery series. She is past-president of the Northern California chapter of Sisters in Crime and secretary of the national SinC board, a member of MWA, and blogs on CriminalMinds.

Luisa Smith
Editor in Chief of Mysterious Press, and the head book buyer at Book Passage.

Kelli Stanley
Critically-acclaimed, multiple award-winning author of crime fiction (novels and short stories). She is best known for the Miranda Corbie series of historical noir novels and short stories set in 1940 San Francisco. She's the author of City of Sharks.

Robin C. Stuart
Veteran cyber crime investigator and contributing author to Fault Lines: Stories by Northern California Crime Writers and Handbook for Information Security. She consults on all things cyber security for Fortune 100 companies, television shows, and media outlets, including BBC and NowThis News. She was a significant contributor to the Tech Museum of Innovation's acclaimed Cyber Detectives interactive installation, one of the museum's most popular permanent exhibits, which earned praise from the Obama Administration.