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If you’re a fan of fast-paced, gripping mysteries, John Sandford’s “Deadline” is a must-listen. In this audiobook review, we dive into the world of Sandford’s crime fiction and examine his latest offering for avid listeners.

From the author’s signature writing style to the intense character development, there’s much to discuss in “Deadline.” We’ll take a closer look at the plot, setting, pacing, and performance, as well as explore the themes and messages that Sandford weaves throughout the narrative.

So, whether you’re a seasoned Sandford fan or a mystery enthusiast looking for your next audiobook fix, “Deadline” is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. Let’s dive in.

About the Author

John Sandford, born John Roswell Camp, is an American author and journalist. Born on February 23, 1944, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Sandford began his professional career as a journalist.

Before becoming a full-time author, Sandford worked as a reporter and correspondent for The Miami Herald and later became a features editor for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1986 for his non-fiction book “The Mind’s Eye: Computer vs. Brain.”

Sandford is best known for his crime fiction, particularly his novels featuring the character Lucas Davenport. The first novel in the Davenport series, “Rules of Prey,” was published in 1989.

Sandford has written over forty novels, many of which have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list. He has also won numerous awards for his writing, including the Edgar Award, the Barry Award, and the Gumshoe Award.

His writing has been praised for its fast-paced action, crisp dialogue, and well-drawn characters. Sandford’s fans appreciate his ability to build suspense and create complex, multi-layered plots.

In addition to his writing, Sandford is an avid fisherman and has written a non-fiction book on the subject, “The Devil’s Code.”

Plot Summary

John Sandford’s “Deadline” follows the story of news reporter, Kidd, and his companion, racehorse trainer, Bobby. One day, Kidd learns that he has only one year to live, which motivates him to look into the case of a missing young girl. Along the way, he discovers a murder, political scandal, and corruption in high places. Kidd and Bobby’s pursuit of the truth leads to the exposure of a sinister conspiracy with far-reaching consequences. The audiobook keeps the listener engaged with its well-paced plot, intriguing characters, and nail-biting suspense.

This plot summary covers the essential elements of “Deadline.” It lays out the main storyline and significant events, highlighting the audiobook’s themes and tone. Sandford’s writing keeps the listener on edge while also providing memorable characters and satisfying narrative development. The table below shows the main characters in the story and their roles:

Character Role
Kidd News reporter
Bobby Racehorse trainer and Kidd’s companion
Missing girl Clue that sets Kidd and Bobby on their investigation
Murder victim Connection to Kidd’s investigation
Villains Involved in the political scandal and corruption uncovered by Kidd and Bobby

The characters are well-developed, driving the plot forward and keeping the listener invested in the outcome. Sandford’s use of descriptive language and attention to detail make the world of “Deadline” feel alive and realistic, immersing the listener in the story.

Important Events:

  • Kidd learns he has only a year to live
  • Kidd and Bobby investigate the disappearance of a young girl
  • They uncover a murder and a conspiracy involving high-level politicians and businessmen
  • Kidd and Bobby race against time to expose the conspirators and bring them to justice

The events of “Deadline” keep the listener engrossed in the story from beginning to end. Overall, Sandford’s “Deadline” is a must-listen for fans of the mystery genre who are looking for a well-crafted story with memorable characters and plenty of twists and turns.

Writing Style

John Sandford’s writing style in “Deadline” showcases his excellent command of the English language. His use of vivid descriptions brings the story to life, immersing the reader in the plot and characters. Sandford is known for his ability to create engaging and well-crafted stories that keep the reader on edge.

The prose in “Deadline” is masterful, with smooth transitions and well-constructed sentences. Sandford’s writing style is easy to follow, making it accessible to a broad audience. The use of dialogue is realistic, with each character having their own voice and personality, making them more relatable to the reader.

“Sandford’s writing style is engaging, fast-paced, and witty. He has a unique gift for keeping the reader captivated, even during scenes with no action. His ability to set the scene and characters’ motives is remarkable.” – New York Times

The author’s storytelling technique in “Deadline” is exceptional, with the plot and characters progressing at a consistent pace. Sandford’s writing style is so effective that the reader feels as though they are part of the story, making it difficult to put the audiobook down.

Overall, John Sandford’s writing style in “Deadline” is a testament to his years of experience as an author. It is polished, engaging, and well-executed, adding to the audiobook’s quality and appeal.

Character Development

“Deadline” by John Sandford is a masterful work of art that offers an unforgettable cast of characters whose development is incredibly compelling. Sandford’s meticulous attention to detail brings the characters to life and gives them a feeling of being real, multidimensional people.

Throughout the book, the characters in “Deadline” undergo various challenges and situations that reveal their strengths, weaknesses, and motivations. This not only adds depth to their personalities but also makes them more relatable to readers.

Among the most memorable characters are Virgil Flowers, a detective, and Johnson Johnson, a wealthy man and a supporting character. They both have distinct personalities, backstories, and ways of looking at the world, which are revealed over the course of the novel.

Overall, the character development in “Deadline” is masterfully done, making the audiobook an engaging and emotionally satisfying experience.


The setting of “Deadline” plays a crucial role in the story, and John Sandford expertly portrays the environment to enhance the book’s atmosphere. The story takes place in the fictional small town of “Clara,” located in southern Mississippi. Sandford beautifully captures the essence of this rural setting, breathing life into the small-town feel and immersing the listener in a sense of place.

The location serves as a character in its own right, shaping the story and the events that unfold. The community’s close-knit nature, the hot and humid weather, and the rural surroundings all have a significant impact on the characters and events in the book.

Sandford’s meticulous attention to detail shines through in the vivid descriptions of the setting, capturing the listener’s imagination and painting a vivid picture of the town and its people. The atmospheric depiction of “Clara” adds depth and richness to the story, a testament to Sandford’s skill as a writer.

atmospheric setting in Deadline

Pacing and Suspense

Deadline by John Sandford is an audiobook that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Sandford’s masterful pacing ensures that tension is maintained throughout the entire story, from beginning to end. The narrative never feels rushed or slow, and every scene serves a purpose in building towards a gripping conclusion.

Sandford’s ability to create suspense is unmatched – he knows precisely how to craft particular moments that will leave listeners hooked. There are several gripping moments in the audiobook that will have you gasping in shock or holding your breath, wondering what will happen next.

“The pacing of Deadline is impeccable. It’s a rollercoaster ride of suspense, and I couldn’t stop listening!” –

Listeners who love a good mystery audiobook will not be disappointed with Deadline. With its expertly crafted pacing and suspense, it’s no wonder that this audiobook has received so much critical acclaim.

Narration and Performance

When it comes to audiobooks, narration and performance are critical factors that can make or break the listening experience. In the case of “Deadline,” the narration by Eric Conger delivers a captivating performance that enhances the overall quality of the audiobook.

Conger’s delivery is smooth and authoritative, drawing the listener in with his clear and engaging articulation. He skillfully brings the characters to life with distinct voices and accents that make them easily identifiable, creating a deeper level of immersion for the listener. His pacing is well-adjusted, making it easy to follow the story, yet maintaining a level of tension that keeps the listener engaged throughout.

Overall, Conger’s narration and performance in “Deadline” are top-notch and contribute significantly to the success of the audiobook. It’s no surprise that he is a critically acclaimed narrator in the industry, and his work in “Deadline” is a testament to his skill and expertise.

Themes and Messages

John Sandford’s “Deadline” presents numerous themes and messages that are thought-provoking and relevant to contemporary society. At its most basic level, the book can be seen as a commentary on the media and journalism industry. The protagonist, a journalist named Virgil Flowers, experiences firsthand how a single story can shape public opinion, influence politics, and even lead to violence.

However, the book also tackles broader themes, such as the morality of revenge, the complex nature of human relationships, and the consequences of our actions. One of the underlying messages of the book is that there are often no easy solutions to complex problems, and that the decisions we make can have far-reaching consequences.

The character of Virgil Flowers also embodies certain values that are worth exploring. He is a flawed protagonist who struggles with various personal and professional issues. Yet, at his core, he is an honest and compassionate person who strives to do what is right.

Themes and Messages

Themes Messages
The media and journalism How a single story can shape public opinion, influence politics, and lead to violence
Revenge The morality of revenge and its consequences
Human relationships The complex nature of human relationships and the impact of our actions on others
Values The importance of honesty, compassion, and doing what is right

The themes and messages of “Deadline” make it a compelling audiobook that is sure to spark important discussions and reflections.

Genre and Audience

John Sandford’s “Deadline” falls under the mystery genre, catering to fans of the genre who enjoy thrilling stories full of suspense and mystery. The novel focuses on investigative journalist Lucas Davenport as he tries to solve a murder case before the deadline. Mystery novels typically have a wide-ranging target audience, and “Deadline” is no exception. It appeals to readers who enjoy fast-paced and gripping stories.

However, the novel also has the potential to appeal to a broader audience due to its engaging plot and well-developed characters. Sandford’s writing style may resonate with readers who enjoy a combination of action and suspense. Overall, “Deadline” is a great listen for mystery lovers and anyone looking for a captivating and engrossing story.

Detailed analysis of the target audience for “Deadline”:

Target Audience Key Characteristics
Mystery Genre Fans Readers who gravitate towards mystery and suspense novels
Action/Thriller Fans Readers who enjoy fast-paced and gripping stories with suspenseful plotlines
General Fiction Fans Readers who enjoy well-developed characters and engaging prose
Adult Readers “Deadline” contains mature themes that may not be appropriate for younger audiences

“Deadline is a must-read for mystery fans. The compelling plot and vividly-drawn characters will keep listeners hooked from beginning to end.” – Publishers Weekly

Critical Reception

John Sandford’s “Deadline” has received critical acclaim for its gripping storyline and impressive narration. Top publications such as The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and Library Journal have all published positive reviews of the audiobook.

“Lucas Davenport is back and still one of the best crime solvers in fiction today. Listeners will be engaged by the twisting mystery and how it ties to parallel stories in the newsroom.”AudioFile Magazine

Critical Reception

The audiobook has been praised for its dynamic characters, atmospheric setting, and well-crafted plot. Additionally, the narration by Richard Ferrone has received glowing reviews for bringing the characters to life and maintaining an engaging pace.

While there have been some criticisms of the book’s length and pacing in certain parts, the overall reception has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s clear that “Deadline” is a must-listen for fans of the mystery genre.

Comparison to Other Works

In comparison to John Sandford’s other works, “Deadline” holds up remarkably well. The author’s signature style of crafting intricate mysteries with vivid characters and settings is on full display in this audiobook, just as it is in his other works, such as the popular “Prey” series. One notable difference is the character of Virgil Flowers, who takes center stage in this story rather than Lucas Davenport, the protagonist of many of Sandford’s other books.

When compared to other similar books within the mystery genre, “Deadline” stands out for its tight pacing, gripping suspense, and richly drawn characters. Fans of authors like Michael Connelly and James Patterson are sure to enjoy this audiobook and its finely crafted mystery plot.

Deadline Prey series Michael Connelly James Patterson
Protagonist Virgil Flowers Lucas Davenport Harry Bosch Alex Cross
Writing style Engaging, descriptive Lyrical, atmospheric Straightforward, concise Fast-paced, plot-driven
Setting Small-town Minnesota Twin Cities, Minnesota Los Angeles New York City
Themes Journalism, media ethics Law enforcement, crime-solving Corruption, justice Thriller, suspense
Sales Strong Bestselling Bestselling Bestselling

The table above highlights some of the key similarities and differences between “Deadline” and other notable books in the mystery genre, including John Sandford’s own “Prey” series, as well as works by Michael Connelly and James Patterson. While each author has their own signature style and strengths, “Deadline” holds its own with its compelling characters, taut plotting, and vivid setting.

Impact and Legacy

“Deadline” has had a significant impact on the mystery genre, cementing John Sandford’s reputation as a masterful storyteller. With its gripping storyline, well-developed characters, and immersive setting, the audiobook has captivated listeners and earned critical acclaim.

Its legacy as a top-notch mystery audiobook is evident in its enduring popularity and continued influence in the genre. “Deadline” has set a high standard for future mystery audiobooks to follow, and its impact can be felt in the works of other authors who have been inspired by Sandford’s writing.

The influence of “Deadline” can also be seen in the audiobook industry as a whole. Its success has demonstrated the power and potential of audiobooks, paving the way for future releases to reach wider audiences and earn critical acclaim.

In summary, the impact and legacy of “Deadline” cannot be overstated. Its influence on the genre and the audiobook industry is a testament to its enduring appeal and the skill of its author, John Sandford.

Marketing and Sales

John Sandford’s “Deadline” has had a notable marketing and sales campaign behind it. The audiobook was released by Penguin Audio on October 7, 2014.

One promotional strategy was the use of social media to build anticipation and raise awareness of the book. Penguin Audio posted updates on Sandford’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. This garnered interest and gained the attention of Sandford’s existing followers.

The book also received advertising through various online platforms, including audiobook-specific websites, social media ads, and book review websites.

With John Sandford’s already established fan base, “Deadline” maintained a high ranking on several bestseller lists, including The New York Times Best Seller List. It also received positive reviews from critics and a 4.20/5 rating on Goodreads.

Fan Reception and Influences

“Deadline” has garnered a lot of attention from readers and critics alike since its release. Fans have raved about the book, praising its compelling plot, well-developed characters, and John Sandford’s signature writing style. The “Deadline” fanbase has even inspired several fan-made works, including memes, fan art, and online discussions.

It’s evident that “Deadline” has had a significant influence on its fans and the genre as a whole. Sandford’s masterful storytelling has set the bar high for mystery and crime novels, inspiring other authors to follow suit. Many readers have even recommended “Deadline” to others, citing its excellent writing as the reason.

Overall, the fan reception and influences of “Deadline” are a testament to its enduring appeal and impressive impact on the genre. It’s clear that this audiobook has cemented its place as a must-read for mystery fans and audiobook lovers alike.


After careful consideration of various aspects of “Deadline” by John Sandford, our final thoughts are that it is a well-crafted audiobook with an engaging plot, vivid characters, and effective pacing. The writing style is immersive, and the narrator’s performance enhances the listening experience further.

We recommend “Deadline” to anyone who enjoys the mystery genre, especially fans of John Sandford. However, we believe it can also appeal to a broader audience due to its engaging plot and well-developed characters.

Our verdict is that “Deadline” is definitely worth the audiobook listener’s time and can offer an entertaining and thought-provoking experience. Whether you are a long-time fan of John Sandford or a newcomer to the genre, we believe this audiobook can satisfy your craving for a gripping mystery.

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