Crime Fiction | Noir at the Bar

I have argued that the phrases “it is a privilege” and “I am honored” should be banned from social media posts and blog writings, but it is a privilege and an honor to participate in Birmingham’s Noir at the Bar this coming Saturday at The Red Cat Coffee House at Pepper Place with some nationally-accomplished crime-fiction writers including Brian Panowich, Rebecca Forster, Peter Farris, Emily Carpenter, Randy Moon, Meagan Lucas, Hayley M. Moon , Bobby Mathews, and Liz Lazarus.

The event is free but you may want to register here. (If it says “Sold Out,” feel free top stop by anyway).

Brian is a Georgia based author who has topped the best thriller list on Apple iBooks, was placed in the top twenty best books on Amazon, went on to win the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel, as well as the Southern Book Prize for Best Mystery. He has also been nominated for the Barry Award, the Anthony Award, The Georgia Townsend Book Prize, and was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. His first novel, BULL MOUNTAIN was also selected for the coveted BOOKS ALL GEORGIANS SHOULD READ list by the Georgia Center of the Book, and has been the recipient of several foreign press awards. Brian’s sophomore novel, LIKE LIONS, earned him The Georgia Author of the Year Award for best Mystery, and his latest, HARD CASH VALLEY was released in April of 2020 to critical and commercial acclaim and was named one of the top 10 best crime novels of the year by the New York Times.

I started writing on a crazy dare and found my passion. Now I’m a USA Today and Amazon bestselling author. I write what I love to read—thrillers. More importantly, I live the experience whenever I can. From graduating from the DEA and ATF Citizen’s Academies, landing by tail hook on the USS Nimitz, and living in Albania to research ancient blood feuds, I hope my adventures make my books unforgettable. 

~Rebecca Forster

“The new novel by award-winning author PETER FARRIS. Published in France to critical acclaim, THE DEVIL HIMSELF was an ELLE Magazine Best Mystery of the Year, won Le Prix 813, Best Foreign Novel at the Beaune Film Festival, and was an official selection for the prestigious Grand Prix de Littérature Policière.” 

“Emily Carpenter, a former actor, producer, screenwriter, and behind-the-scenes soap opera assistant, was born and raised in Alabama. After graduating from Auburn University, she moved to New York City and now lives in Georgia with her family. She is the author of Amazon bestselling Burying the Honeysuckle Girls and The Weight of Lies.”

“Randy Moon is a highly accomplished author renowned for his exceptional storytelling skills in the crime fiction genre. Under the pen name Schuyler Randall, he has captivated readers with his compelling narratives, establishing a formidable presence. His acclaimed novels, such as “Jacqueline Willoughby,” “Raina,” and “Francis Laurent,” have solidified his reputation as a remarkable talent within the crime-thriller genre.”

“Meagan Lucas is the author of the award-winning novel, Songbirds and Stray Dogs (Main Street Rag Press, 2019) and the collection Here in the Dark (Shotgun Honey, 2023). Meagan has published over 40 short stories and essays. She is Pushcart, Best of the Net, Derringer, and Canadian Crime Writer’s Award of Excellence nominated and won the 2017 Scythe Prize for Fiction. Her short story “The Monster Beneath” was listed as Distinguished in the 2023 Best American Mystery and Suspense. Her novel Songbirds and Stray Dogs was chosen to represent North Carolina in the Library of Congress 2022 Route 1 Reads program, and won Best Debut at the 2020 Indie Book Awards. Meagan teaches Creative Writing at Robert Morris University and in the Great Smokies Writing Program at UNC Asheville. She is the Editor in Chief of Reckon Review. Born and raised on a small island in Northern Ontario, she now lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina.”

“I am an Alabama native and I have been writing poems and short stories since the age of 10.

During my freshman year of college, I had two of my poems Damaged Wings and Untitled published in my school’s literary magazine the Filibuster. 

I don’t set out to write a story that is genre specific but I am a huge fan of the supernatural and horror and I unintentionally have a tendency to lean toward those themes.”

“Bobby Mathews is a novelist, short-story writer, and journalist who lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

He currently has two books under contract with independent publisher Shotgun Honey. Living the Gimmick, a crime novel set against the backdrop of 1980s professional wrestling, publishes in May 2022; Magic City Blues, a noir love story set in Birmingham, came out in 2023.

He’s the author of Prodigal, a Southern-fried thriller about failed rock star Johnny Riles, who returns to his hometown to reunite with his first love … who just happens to be married to Johnny’s brother.

When he’s not writing fiction, Bobby covers sports in suburban Birmingham and spends time with his family. Follow him on Twitterand Facebook.”

Liz Lazarus grew up in Valdosta, Georgia, known for its high school football and being the last watering hole on highway I-75 before entering Florida. She was editor of her high school newspaper and salutatorian of her class. Lazarus graduated from The Georgia Institute of Technology with an engineering degree and Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management with an MBA. She went on to a successful career as an executive at General Electric’s Healthcare division. Later, she joined a leading consulting firm as a Managing Director.

Interestingly, Lazarus initially ignored the calling to become a novelist—instead, she tackled other ambitions on her bucket list: living in Paris and learning to speak French, getting her pilot’s license and producing a music CD. But, as she explains, her first book “wouldn’t leave me alone—it kept nudging me to write to the point that I could no longer ignore it.”

Though her first novel, Free of Malice, released in the spring of 2016, is fiction, the attack on the main character is real, drawn from Lazarus’ own experience. It portrays the emotional realities of healing from a vicious, physical assault and tells the story of one woman’s obsession to force the legal system to acknowledge her right to self-defense.

Reader response to Lazarus’ first novel was so encouraging that she embarked on a writing career, releasing her second novel in the spring of 2018. Plea for Justice is a thriller that depicts the journey of a paralegal investigating the case of her estranged friend’s incarceration. As she seeks the truth, loyalties are strained and relationships are tested leaving her to wonder if she is helping an innocent man or being played for a fool.

Her third novel, Shades of Silence, released in 2021, showcases the resilience of a woman faced with devastating loss, the unexpected friendships forged from tragedy and the recurring societal themes that confront every generation.”