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Thriller writer Jeffery Deaver received the prestigious Raymond Chandler Award at the 24th edition of the Courmayeur Noir Festival Wednesday night. Each year the popular ski town in Italy, underneath Mont Blanc, invites fans to enjoy the best in the latest mystery works across film and literature.
After screening a clip from The Bone Collector, the 1999 film starring Denzel Washington, Angelina Jolie and Queen Latifah, Deaver announced to the crowd of “terrified faces” that he was going to prove he’s not as frightening as he seems.
He then launched into a hokey song inspired by his latest book The Skin Collector. Accompanied by acoustic guitar, he sang a rhyme about shadows, as convincing as any summer camp counselor.
Horror maestro Dario Argento had the honor of presenting the award. Deaver admitted that he was greatly influenced by the iconic Giallo director and had been a fan of his for many years.
Acknowledging that a former recipient of the award, U.S. writer John Grisham, accepted the prize with a speech in Italian, Deaver was not one to be outdone.
“I’m going to accept this award in the native language of this country,” he said before launching into a few lines of Latin, much to the amusement of the Italians assembled.
Deaver, who studied Latin in high school, credited the ancient tongue for teaching him about the beauty and structure of language, and for encouraging him to become a writer. “I have Italy to thank for the beginning of my career,” he said. And for that reason, he announced that he’s already started writing his latest work, which is to be set in the Mediterranean country.
The Courmayeur Noir Festival, directed by Giorgio Gosetti and Marina Fabbri, continues through Sunday with special screenings of Fargo and Lilyhammer, the premiere of Argento’s autobiography Paura (Fear), and a number of global films including Snow in Paradise, White God, and The Salvation.
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