A dying convict's last request thrusts small-town newspaperman Jefferson Morgan into a deadly maelstrom as he explores a fifty-year-old case of child murder — a wound his town still isn't ready to scrape open. Under the heaviest deadline of his life, and amid threats from unexpected foes, Morgan must struggle with his own conscience to tell a story no matter the consequences, dig deep into the town's past, and unveil a killer who's managed to remain hidden in plain sight for almost 50 years.
From the book: «Jefferson Morgan inhaled, wondering if particles of death floated on cemetery air. After a night of rain, the graveyard smelled like sweet resurrection. The morning sun drew out the damp, the dark and the ferment, and they mingled as they rose on the warming air. The long-dead floated in the June morning, cleansed by both clay and concealment in Wyoming's ancient soil. He knew well that death in its various other forms was not so fragrant. He'd smelled most of them. Morgan was sure even the stink of Laddie Granbouche had mellowed.»
«Ron Franscell has undeniably hit his mark. His masterful storytelling strikes hard at the heart. It leaves his readers stunned one moment and tenderly moved the next. … a brilliant and engaging blend of fast-paced suspense, painstaking prose and characters so real they could drive down southbound I-25.» — Denver Post
«An impressive debut that will keep you on the edge of your seat!» — San Francisco Chronicle
«Full of well-drawn human relationships that make the reader care about Morgan and the people who cross his path, but Franscell's second book has healthy doses of crime, death, destruction, violence, sex and page-turning action to go along with its terrific characterizations.» — Rapid City (SD) Journal
«What separates Franscell from the rest of a large pack of mystery writers is the sheer quality of his writing…. When you add writing that flows smooth and runs deep, like a proud old river, you have something different: A mystery novel that transcends and separates itself from all the others.» --Publisher's Auxiliary
«The Deadline is a masterfully woven mystery, filled with colorful characters.» — Charlotte Austin Review