Devil in the Deadline
A Nichelle Clarke, Headlines in High Heels Mystery by LynDee Walker
Review: When the body of a young woman is found brutally murdered in an abandoned loft used by the homeless of Richmond, Virginia, the police offer newspaper reporter Nichelle Clarke an exclusive on their investigation if she'll help them connect with potential sources, who may have information about the crime. Always willing to go the extra mile to best her competitors, she agrees, in Devil in the Deadline, the fourth mystery in this series by LynDee Walker.
Nichelle meets with three of the dead woman's friends, who tell her she went by the street name of Jasmine and that they were planning on leaving soon for Colorado, a story she finds hard to believe given they collectively had no way of paying for such a trip. They give her Jasmine's diary, in which Nichelle finds a symbol drawn repeatedly, one she soon discovers is the logo to the Way of Life Ministries led by televangelist Simon Golightly. Now that's an interesting connection, she thinks. Could Jasmine have known someone from the organization and possibly learned something that put her life in danger?
(SPOILER ALERT: A clue to the killer's identity is included in the next paragraph.)
Though the murder is introduced in the first chapter of Devil in the Deadline, it takes a long time — nearly a third of the book — for Nichelle to make the connection to the Way of Life Ministries. Once made, however, the story picks up speed as suspects are introduced and motives for murder outlined. The supporting cast is well drawn and Nichelle is an interesting lead character, who clearly knows the business of investigative reporting and is very good at what she does. Which makes it all the more disappointing when the killer turns out to be a minor character briefly introduced midway through and not heard from again until a climactic scene towards the end.
Another element that doesn't work is the love triangle between Nichelle and "good guy" Kyle and "bad guy" Joey. She seems to care for both while not hesitating to use their respective talents to further her investigation, and each is aware of the other, but somehow here the interplay between all three becomes tiresome. This kind of interpersonal relationship in a series works for a while as it helps in overall character development, but at some point it gets repetitive and tedious, and that point may have been reached.
Overall, Devil in the Deadline is a well-structured mystery that generally keeps the reader's attention throughout, and probably suffers only when compared to the previous book in the series, the far superior Small Town Spin.
Acknowledgment: Henery Press provided an ARC of Devil in the Deadline for this review.
Review Copyright © 2015 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Small Town Spin
Henery Press (Trade Paperback), April 2014
ISBN-13: 9781940976037; ISBN-10: 1940976030
Location(s) referenced in Devil in the Deadline: Richmond, Virginia
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Devil in the Deadline by LynDee Walker — A Nichelle Clarke, Headlines in High Heels Mystery
Publisher: Henery Press
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: January 2015
List Price: $15.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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