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Edinburgh, Ep. 8

December 3, 2013 — After an unforgettable night at the Edinburgh Book Festival, Literary Death Match returned to Auld Reekie to trump our August magic by presenting the penultimate LDM of 2014, and what a night it was! the grand finish came as Russel D. McLean outlasted Julie McDowall in a One Star Wonder finale by a score of 39-38 in SUDDEN DEATH!!! to win McLean the LDM Edinburgh, Ep. 8 crown. 

But before the ending came a brilliant beginning, as the night kicked off with Kirsti Wishart, author of Dreams of the City, who wowed more than her cheering section with her electric Pocket Guide to Scottish Superheroes. Next up was the Russel Mclean, crime writer, blogger and bookseller extraordinaire, who read a tense and haunting excerpt from his debut novel The Good Son, focused on a man considering pulling the trigger. 

The mic was then handed over to the trio of all-star judges: Roland Gulliver, director of the Edinburgh International Book FestivalJo Caulfield, standup comedian, actress and writer; and Richard Wiseman, superstar psychologist and author of 59 Seconds and QuirkologyThe trio doled out praise and wisecracks in the direction of both competitors, before they made the night's first difficult decision, naming McLean the night's first finalist. 

After a drinks-and-chat-filled intermission, Round 2 commenced with Julie McDowall who read for the first time ever (!), telling tales from her book Casting The Net that had the crowd tittering. Finally, it was Shetlands Islands gem Roseanne Watt, who read a handful of poems, some of which used Shetland-specific language that she had to preface with definitions. 

Again the judges were center stage, with hoorays and delight delivered in the direction of both writers, before they made their night's second impossible choice, naming McDowall as the night's second finalist. 

Then host and LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga took center stage, announcing the One Star Wonder finale, in which he read off 1-star Amazon book reviews written about classic books. The finalists, teamed with a mix of volunteers from the crowd, traded points, and while Team McLean rocketed off to a blazing start, Team McDowall cruised in the late frames to tie it up and force SUDDEN DEATH!!! overtime. With all to play for McLean himself jabbed the buzzer first, and nailed the final answer, winning himself the Edinburgh, Ep. 8 medal, and literary immortality to go with it.

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