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Deadline Man Hardcover – May 1, 2010

24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Talton (The Pain Nurse) brings his journalism expertise to this fine mystery narrated by an unnamed columnist for a Seattle newspaper. Shortly after the columnist has a routine meeting with sometime source and heavy-hitting hedge fund manager Troy Hardesty at the man's downtown office, Troy falls 20 stories to his death on the street below. Back at the columnist's office, the paper's managers announce the company will be sold or closed in 60 days. Despite the uproar, the columnist is more concerned with juggling his three lovers than his future—until he's accosted by a streetwalker who shouts,Eleven-eleven! Later, sinister men claiming to be federal officers ask the columnist what Troy told him at their meeting. The columnist joins forces with Amber Burke, a cub reporter who wants to prove herself with a big story, in an effort to find out what's really going on. Well-rounded characters and a lightning-paced plot raise this well above the average global conspiracy story. (May)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* A cabal of defense contractors with a diabolical plan to gain control of the govenment runs up against the power of the press in this nonstop thriller. When the respected business columnist of the Seattle Free Press—a man known for his ability to write under pressure and meet deadlines as he cranks out three columns a week—stumbles on a story about the local company Olympic International, people around him begin to die in murders framed to look like suicides or lovers’ quarrels (but could be something much more ominous). People are not what they seem here, from the new female police reporter who works with the columnist (and who remains nameless throughout the journalist’s first-person account), to the federal agents inquiring about a missing teenage girl, to the higher-ups at the newspaper, which is facing tough financial times. And throughout the four weeks during which the story takes place, the term “eleven/eleven” echoes ominously. Talton, author of The Pain Nurse (2009) and the David Mapstone series, combines a moving paean to the free press with a chillingly plausible thriller plot built around black ops. A knockout novel that leaves the reader with renewed appreciation for independent daily newspapers. --Michele Leber

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590587146
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590587140
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,749,596 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jon Talton is the author of 11 novels, including the David Mapstone Mysteries and the Cincinnati Casebooks. His latest book is the mystery, High Country Nocturne.

Jon's award-winning work has been widely praised by the critics. The Washington Post BookWorld called Concrete Desert "More intelligent and rewarding than most contemporary mysteries." In a starred review, Booklist called it "a stunning debut." The Chicago Tribune lauded Camelback Falls for its "twisty and crafty" plot. For Dry Heat, Publishers Weekly wrote, "Taut prose helps tighten the screws, and the winning, sensitive portrayal of the Mapstones -- both of them a relief after too many hard-nosed PIs who are all gristle and no brain -- lends credibility to the noirish narrative."

Jon is also a veteran journalist and blogger. He is the economics columnist of the Seattle Times and is editor and publisher of the blog Rogue Columnist. Prior to that, he was a business and op-ed columnist for the Arizona Republic. He also worked for newspapers in San Diego, Denver, Dayton, Cincinnati and Charlotte.

Before journalism, he worked for four years as an ambulance medic in the inner city of Phoenix. He also was an instructor in theater at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Jon is a fourth-generation Arizonan now living in Seattle.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jim Thomsen on December 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
"Deadline Man" is a whip-cracking thrill ride, full of great writing, witty characterizations and tightly wound plotting ... up until the story sails cheerfully over the top in a speed-of-light third act, and crashes under the weight of its own hyper-convoluted conspiracy theories.

Author Jon Talton, an economics columnist for The Seattle Times, starts this set-in-Seattle mystery novel centered on an unnamed Seattle newspaper business columnist with smart, and smartassed, surefootedness. He knows the city, he knows business and he knows newspapering. So does his fictional doppelganger as his probing into the death of a hedge-fund hustler, set against the all-but-certain death of his newspaper, takes him on a breakneck tour of hesitant sources and hot sort-of girlfriends. (The sex scenes are just as over-the-top as everything else in this book, with even a touch of unfortunately fashionable torture-porn.) All of which makes for a crackling Seattle mystery yarn in the vein of Earl Emerson's earlier work.

But, not long after the halfway mark, the tale takes an abrupt shift into apocalyptic geo-political thriller mode, as shadowy nemeses with seemingly unchecked federal powers stack up with a wildly escalating body count. Along with this shift come too many straw-men characters, too many contrived endangerments and escapes, and ultimately too much confusion about who did what to who and why. By the end, I felt exhausted by a whirlwind of wild developments and windy expositions.

That said, I like Talton's crisp pacing, colorful characterizations and authoritative certitude. The man has craft and style to spare. In this case, he simply let his story sprint away from him. But the stuff I liked about "Deadline Man" makes me want to search out his other mysteries to see if they're the same ... only better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Fountain on June 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
The dawn of the electronic age has newspapers poised to go the way of the dinosaur. E-zines, blogs and online reading have all but made the printed word extinct.

The latest casualty, The Seattle Free Press, once a titan of free speech, finds itself sotto voce with each passing year and in danger of being silenced for good. One man, the columnist, born with ink in his veins and knows no other medium capable of transmitting the information he was born to print, fights with everything he has to keep the presses moving.

Trying his best to pull a column out of his hat--one of three for the week--the columnist pays a routine visit to Troy Hardesty, a successful hedge fund manager. Seeming a bit distracted, Troy responds to prompts regarding a company called Olympic International, giving the columnist a few off-the-record tidbits, while gazing into the horizon of his office balcony's 20-story view. Suddenly it's the columnist's turn to answer a question: what does he know about 11:11. The question, asked quickly and quietly, disappears in the same manner.

Back on street level, the columnist reflects on Troy's somber mood and the bits of information culled, before moving on to ponder 11:11. Moments later, he is pulled from his reverie just as Troy Hardesty's body appears before him, having completed its 20-story plunge. From this moment on, the columnist's life will never be the same.

Returning to the Free Press offices, word of the newspaper being sold or closed is making its way down the ranks. However, approaching deadlines leave little time to worry about the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. S. Butch VINE VOICE on September 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Deadline Man" is a mystery that is also an elegy for the newspaper. It is suffused with melancholy over the death of the newspaper and, more importantly, the "news" as it used to be. None of us can have missed the fact that most of our "news" these days is just entertainment (on most home pages, you have to search to find anything not sports or celebrities). Corporate objectives have suppressed unpalatable truths in pursuit of corporate goals. In "Deadline Man", Talton mentions all these ills. What's remarkable, though, is that he does it so deftly that it doesn't interfere at all with his story. As you likely read in other reviews, the story is told by a business columnist for the Seattle Free Press who discovers that his latest column has upset some powerful but unidentified people. He realizes that they must think he knows something important that he doesn't realize he knows, and that it may be connected with a recent interviewee who died shortly after meeting with him. As the columnist looks for answers, rather than the excitement and encouragement that Woodward & Bernstein got from Ben Bradlee, he receives orders from his management to leave the subject alone and refusal to publish his findings. Of course, being stubborn and "old school", he perseveres, precipitating escalating mayhem.

The one aspect of "Deadline Man" that bothered me was the women. Talton for some reason included the male fantasy of endless available women longing to have sex with the columnist. In particular, I was bothered by the beautiful young reporter who more or less tackles him and strips them both at their first meeting. Come ON!

That aside, I highly recommend this wonderfully atmospheric mystery.
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