by Makayla Mason
After completing our first week of classes, the LEAP Ambassadors went on another venture to H-Town for our annual LEAP retreat! This retreat will help us lay the foundation for what will be an amazing year, while giving us the opportunity to explore the city of Houston.
Billy Jensen & Kathryn Casey
Murder By The Book is a LEAP favorite as we take many trips to see authors speak throughout the year. This event was extra special because a favorite Texas author, Kathryn Casey, was moderating a conversation with investigative journalist and New York Times Bestselling author, Billy Jensen. Billy is known for helping complete Michelle McNamara’s New York Times bestseller I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, the true story of McNamara’s search for the Golden State Killer, after McNamara’s untimely death. Jensen was on tour to promote his newest book: Chase Darkness With Me, which highlights cases Jensen has worked on since he’s been involved in true-crime cases. Unlike most other authors, Jensen spends his time writing and actively seeking suspects in open cases.
Once inside the cozy bookstore, we were able to meet Kathryn Casey and catch up a bit…
…while also discussing the David Temple case, which she wrote about in Shattered, and which is back in the news.
Once the book discussion began, time flew by as we were caught up in these two great authors discussing crimes, victims, law enforcement, and all the complications that arise from investigating crimes.
There were over 80 people in attendance excited to hear from these authors.
Jensen discussed how he hated that there is currently no central database for case information such as DNA and Modus Operandi (MO) for everyone in the nation to access and contribute to.
He went on to explain how there are thousands of missing people and thousands of unidentified bodies that could be connected, but the system doesn’t allow interested parties to collaborate as well as it should.
Ms. Casey did an expert job leading the discussion and asking questions and occasionally giving a “mom” look at Jensen, like an eye roll might be next …
…and indeed there was a real affection between the two authors.
For his part, Jensen was entertaining, apparently accustomed to saying things that can’be said on television, but can be said on podcasts or in book stores.
The authors were great, the crowd was engaging, and the event as a whole was exceptional. Makayla enjoyed the talk so much she purchased Jensen’s book and had him autograph her copy.
Professor Yawn and Stephanie were also nice enough to purchase us each a Kathryn Casey book of our choosing for Mrs. Casey to autograph. We also took a quick photo-op with Mrs. Casey and thanked her for the great discussion.
We really enjoyed the event, but we were hungry for more than just a good true crime novel.
After getting our crime novel fix, we headed to Urban Eats to settle our appetites. The restaurant looked very welcoming and trendy from the outside with an inside to match. The first floor was more market style with grab-and-go type options and a display with an array of desserts that caught our eye. We walked upstairs to the restaurant floor.
We started off by ordering the Monkey Bread, fluffy pull apart rolls with garlic, rosemary, sea salt, and whipped honey butter.
We also shared an order of the 3 Pig Truffle Mac and Cheese, an instant favorite of the table from the very first bite!
For our main course, we ordered a Slow Roasted Pork Loin Salad…
and an array of sliders.
Overall, it was a great way to initiate our retreat!