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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Deadline for Murder is a police procedural novel written by John L. Evans. John Kendrick had been a renowned Beverly Hills attorney, a well-known member of the firm of Schapiro & Dunne, but when Detective Kellerman and his partner Rodriguez first came in contact with him, Kendrick was dead from what appeared to be a gangland shooting. His car had been found up on Skyline Drive in Laurel Canyon, where it seemed he had stopped, been shot point-blank and then had his car pushed into a ravine. His widow seemed genuinely shocked and grief-stricken at the news; however, her story seemed to have some glaring inconsistencies and omissions. While the lead she gave them about the recently fired attorney, Paul Lesniak, who had been working with her husband and was fired, was a valid one worth following up on, Mrs. Kendrick wasn’t quite forthcoming with the fact that she knew her husband was cheating on her. Nor was she at all candid about her own extracurricular activities with a member of the police force. Knowing full well that their boss Captain Frank Russo wanted results, not today, but yesterday, and realizing that as time passed the chances of solving the murder would dwindle to nothing, the two detectives were aware of the deadlines in place. All they had to do was figure out who had actually killed John Kendrick.
John L. Evans’ police procedural novel, Deadline for Murder, is a taut and suspenseful novel that details the work police investigators do in sifting through clues, assessing suspects and coming to a final determination as to the guilty party. The author gives his detectives and the reader a number of possible suspects, and sussing the clues he drops throughout his story is great fun. I loved the Southern California setting for this story and enjoyed seeing Laurel Canyon and Venice Beach through the detectives’ eyes. Evans’ detectives are authentic; their characters are well-developed and have flaws that help to make them feel real. His writing style is taut and well-suited for the genre, and his plot is an exciting one. Deadline for Murder is highly recommended.