The sun breaks through the window of your beautiful room at the JW Marriott Indianapolis hotel. It’s CrimeCon time! Maybe you’re not accustomed to rise-and-shine at 7:30, but there are mysteries to solve, and true crime celebs to meet, and sleeping in is not an option.
Questions buzz through your head as you go about your morning routine.
Coffee. How am I going to squeeze into my schedule all the cool stuff I want to see and do?
Shower. What is this Wine & Crime event about?
Clothes. Who is the CrimeCon Informant and will I be able to spot her in the crowd?
(Probably not. I’m a true-crime-nerd-writer-ninja. But if you do, you win a prize. Maybe. Or not. It won’t be a big prize. Like a sticker. I dunno. I’ll work on the details.--CCI)
Now it's time to get the day started.
8:30 - You grab some breakfast in one of the hotel’s fine restaurants and then head to registration. You skip the line and go directly to the VIP check-in table to get your shiny CrimeCon credentials.
9:00 - Your day begins with a whopper. Out of pure curiosity, you check out The Steven Avery Experience with Making a Murderer prosecutor Ken Kratz. This is a long one; nearly four hours, so you grab another cup of coffee on your way.
12:30 - The convention officially kicks off with a welcome address from (a yet-to-be-announced speaker. Top names are still playing rock-paper-scissors for the honor. --CCI). You’re pumped up and excited to see what the day holds.
1:00 - You visit the crime scene walkthrough. Since you’re staying at the JW Marriott, you’ll participate in a murder mystery game exclusively for hotel guests over the course of the weekend. This experience will help you solve it.
2:00 - Time to head on over to the Carl Marino meet and greet, trying to control your fangirling/fanboying.
2:30 - Whew! You’re ready for a break, so you head to the VIP lounge to relax for a moment and indulge in another cup of coffee. You’re gonna need the energy!
3:00 - You know that you can always sharpen your amateur detective skills, so you attend Cold Case Research 101 and take a seat in the VIP-reserved seating area. Your host is Atlanta CSI Sheryl McCollum is head of the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute. She and her team have made progress on cold cases like Natalee Holloway, the Boston Strangler, and Chandra Levy.
4:00 - Former FBI Supervisory Special Agent and criminal profiler Jim Clemente is now a writer and co-producer of one of your favorite true crime shows, Criminal Minds, so you can’t miss this session. You’ll hear his white-knuckle stories of high-speed chases through New York City and fascinating mysteries from “skid row” to the White House. You’ll have tons of questions for the Q&A.
5:00 - Of course you’ve read her entire bibliography, so you take your VIP-reserved seat in Aphrodite Jones’s session to hear the secrets behind Scott Peterson’s arrest for the brutal and heinous murder of his wife, Laci, and her unborn child Connor. She’ll also talk about the behind-the-scenes antics of Peterson’s high-profile attorneys.
5:30 - It’s Wine & Crime time! Sheryl McCollum returns to host this incredible Gold VIP event. She passes out packets containing every piece of evidence the CCIRI has gathered on a real-life cold case. You pour a glass of wine and examine the evidence. Your brain hamster is running full-speed on his little wheel. You have a theory, so you discuss it with one of the three experts in the room. Together, they have over 100 years of investigative experience, and it’s all at your disposal. (Psst! If you can’t make this one, there’s another session tomorrow and a Bloody Brunch on Sunday).
7:00 - Getting a little peckish? It’s time for dinner. The VIP murder mystery dinner will introduce you to some colorful characters (and maybe some high-profile CrimeCon guests) as you try to determine whodunit in a town where a killer could be lurking anywhere. (If you’re not hungry yet, there’s an 8:00 seating for this experience, too.)
8:00 - It’s been a long day and you rallied like a rockstar. You’re tired, but it’s the best kind of tired -- the kind that means you learned something new and you met new people. When you return to your room, you find a new clue in the ongoing murder mystery game. You puzzle over it while you wind down and begin to form a theory.
But it’s time for sleep because you have a full day again tomorrow. You’ll learn the basics of self-defense and how Generation Why produces their episodes before heading over to a live recording of Up And Vanished with Payne Lindsey. Stop to see the Midwest Search Dogs in action and grab a cuddle with Garmin. Catch another live recording -- Crime Stories with the always-entertaining Nancy Grace. After another action-packed day, you’ll relax and unwind at the VIP cocktail hour (open bar!). And possibly rub elbows with some big names in crime.
Sleep well, VIPs. I’ll see you at CrimeCon -- but you won’t see me. Probably.