With a name like America, you’d think the main character in Diane Majeske’s “Death on Deadline” would be knee deep in either a national or an international scoop. Not the case here. But that doesn’t take away from this quirky and altruistic 30-something’s desire to dig for the answers surrounding the deaths of her fellow workers at the local newspaper in Hyacinth, Missouri. There’s even room in this tidy who-dun-it for a little romance.
The story starts out a little slow – e.g., too much info about a cheese and crackers appetite – while providing less-than charitable descriptions of most of the characters. And the reader is nearly a fifth of the way through the story before things turn from trivial to tense. But once there, that’s when the roller coaster ride begins.
“Miss America” is the kind of woman who is compassionate, but she also has a critical eye, a trait that serves her well as a sleuth reporter but perhaps less so as a trustworthy friend or sincere love interest. With job layoffs and death lingering in the air, everyone is suspicious of everyone else’s motivation.
I believe most readers will find America’s out-going, matter-of-fact approach to both her job and private life endearing as well as refreshing. This is a nice read for anyone looking for a mix of crime and romance in small-town America.