Deadline was originally published in 1995, and this recent edition contains an interesting preface detailing how and why Dunning came to write the novel. I won't go into it, but it really is a glimpse into the background of the novel and why Dunning was able to write it so quickly.
Deadline is a stand alone novel and not part of the Cliff Janeway series, which I have enjoyed for years, but it a fascinating mystery nonetheless.
Dalton Walker is an investigative reporter whose work won a Pulitzer, and even years later, his presence on a newspaper staff is considered a coup. He has just begun a new job at a local paper.
Assigned what appears to be a fluff piece about an Amish girl who left her home and religious strictures behind to become a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall, Walker is not particularly pleased. Walker is only one of several reporters who has tried to get an interview with Dianne Yoder, and when he, too, is turned down, he plans to abandon the piece. His interest in Dianne Yoder, however, he pursues on a personal level.
The story that he is chasing on his own time involves an eight-year-old child who died in a fire at a circus. Walker happened to be on hand at the time, and when no one claims the child's body his interest becomes overpowering. Who would take a child to a circus and then not claim her body?
His interest in the case continues to compel him, and eventually, he does discover a clue to the child's mother. His investigation leads to the FBI becoming involved, and then to a journey that may cost him more than his career.
Dunning is whetting his talent in this novel, and many don't feel that it compares to the Janeway novels, but I have to admit that I enjoyed it very much and that the preface about the unique way he created the outline for the novel is fascinating.
NetGalley/Open Road Media
Mystery. 1995 & 2013. Print version: 224 pages.