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Midland & Odessa, Ep. 1

For a debut to remember, Literary Death Match headed to Texas' southern plains, as we teamed with the Books in the Basin Festival for a pitch-perfect evening rife with story, hilarity and tomfoolery that ended with Jeramey Kraatz outdueling co-finalist Julie Murphy by a closer-than-it-looks score of 39-11 in a Lone Star Lit finale to win Kraatz the LDM Midland & Odessa, Ep. 1 crown. 

But before the finale was even a thought, the night kicked off with Deborah Crombie — crime fiction novelist of 16 Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James — who read a beautiful, quiet excerpt from her all-new book To Dwell in Darkness. Then it was Jeramey Kraatz, author of The Cloak Society series, who skewed hilarious with his piece, How To Be A Hogwarts Graduate During A Recession

The mic was then handed over to the trio of all-star judges: Carrie Vaughn, New York Times Bestselling author of 20 novels and over 70 short stories; John Trischitti, director of the Midland County Public Library; and Peter Clines, author of Ex-Heroes, Ex-Patriots, Ex-Communication, and 14. After delivering a load of pith and wit and smarts, the judges huddled and decided it would be Kraatz who would advance, by the narrowest of margins, as the night's first finalist. 

Then came Round 2, led off by Julie Murphy, young adult author of Side Effects May Vary, who wowed with a piece about falling in love with movies that went over her head during her youth — then she landed on Steel Magnolias. Finally it was Austin Grossman, game designer, game writer, and author of Soon I Will Be Invincible and the all-new You, who reeled off a brilliant piece about President Nixon speaking to an eighth-grade class nine years after being deemed a crook. 

Again the judges were center stage, reeling off brilliances and commentary before declaring Murphy the night's second finalist. 

Then up stepped LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga who announced the night's finale: Lone Star Lit — a game in which Zuniga read off 1-star Amazon book reviews written about classic books. The two finalists (Kraatz and Murphy), were teamed with volunteers and they traded points, but with everything to play for, it was Team Kraatz who slapped the bell first, nailing the final answer, winning him the LDM Midland & Odessa, Ep. 1 crown, and literary immortality to go with it. 

Follow us on Twitter: @litdeathmatch

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