Reviews and updates from Amber Foxx, author of the Mae Martin Psychic Mystery Series
I listened to this as an audiobook, and it delivered what I want from that medium: it kept me wildly alert on long drives (except during one of the sex scenes, which ran on so long I found myself thinking, “No, I don’t want to hear about a third orgasm; get on with the story.”)
Just when you think the mystery is solved and there’s nothing left reveal, there’s more. (Kind of like that sex scene, only more exciting.) Brown accomplishes this layered process of revelation through police procedure, an investigative journalist’s persistence, and authorial sleight of hand. The first two are done well, but I’m not a fan of authors overtly withholding from readers. In this case, it makes a certain big discovery feel like a trick rather than part of the growth of an organic plot and I was thrown out of the story for a while. Having the protagonist suddenly share a stunning secret that he has known all along, while effective in making me sit up and say “Whoa!” didn’t work for me otherwise. If he knew this truth, and more than half the book is in his point of view, and he never once thinks about this secret in his private ruminations or during interactions with affected people, especially with a close friend who knows the secret, it’s out of character for such a deep and introspective man. Aside from that and the over-long sex scene, however, this is a great book, masterfully crafted, with intense and believable relationships. Brown waits until the antagonists’ biggest secret has been revealed before showing their points of view. She uses diary excerpts effectively to get yet another point of view and a glimpse of the past. While Deadline isn’t perfect, I still recommend it for fast-paced listening, an excellent audiobook for long stretches of highway. You won’t get close to falling asleep at the wheel.
This next comment is more of a footnote than part of the review—food for thought. The book is set in the South and yet everyone is apparently white. Maybe some authors don’t think they should mention race or skin color in a description, but if hair color and eye color are worth noting, why not skin color? In the points of view of a white protagonist, white love interest, and white close friend and ally, it seems that other races and ethnicities would be noticed as a matter of observing appearances, not judging or categorizing. Without any mention of race at all, I got the image of a hundred-percent white cast of characters, and I have never gone a day in the South or the Southwest without interacting with diverse people. (Am I the only reader who ever has this thought? Do other readers have auto-diversity imaginations?)