Deadlines

Deadlines

by Paul McHugh

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Product Details

BN ID: 2940013564190
Publisher: Cypress House
Publication date: 09/20/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
File size: 686 KB

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Deadlines 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
PicoAlaska More than 1 year ago
DEADLINES is an engaging mystery yarn with a journalist in the role of the shamus. The novel, by former newsman Paul McHugh, is a page-turner that champions the investigative reporter and the urge to "afflict the comfortable" as timeless necessities regardless of the technology used to get the news out. The multi-layered "Deadlines," McHugh's 2nd novel, also is a story of personal redemption--that of a hard-drinking, self-pitying, all-but-washed-up ink-stained wretch who rediscovers the core mission of his craft and the joy he once got from it. McHugh's flawed hero becomes his stand-in for the entire news industry, making "Deadlines" a book about the survival of investigative reporting as much as about anything else. In 2007, McHugh, a feature writer & editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, was let go in a severe downsizing, another victim of the techno-economic bust that struck the entire newspaper industry. McHugh took a buyout and in a farewell column urged readers to ride herd on all their news outlets so reporters and editors would always "delve a level deeper and ask the disturbing questions." He was speaking from experience. McHugh had played a major role on Chronicle investigative teams that probed the workings of California state parks authorities. Most famously, in the 1990s, McHugh et al exposed a corrupt arrangement whereby private entities were under contract to manage public lands--the Asilomar Conference Center near Monterrey, Calif.--and were making millions at it but returning zilch to state parks. The mystery at the heart of "Deadlines" is an echo of the Asilomar case. In it, Cornu Point, a hunk of land along the exquisite California coast near Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco, was given to the state decades ago by its private owner under the stipulation that it would forever remain a public park. However, California State Parks, its budget withered by the crisis in public funding, has contracted with a private firm to manage Cornu Point. The corporate suits intend to exploit the choice coastal forest, scrublands and trails--plans that have nothing to do with public benefit or even with keeping Cornu Point open to all. An elderly lady, daughter of the man who gave Cornu Point to the state, is outraged at the subversion of her father's wishes. She protests loud enough that, in a chilling scene, she's murdered--but not before she phones a rookie reporter for the fictional San Francisco Post-Dispatch, a man young enough to be ablaze with journalistic idealism even in an age of print-news retrenchment. That call, her death and the young reporter's yen to know the truth and establish his rep set the plot on. Soon Colm MacCay, a weary alcoholic ex-columnist, is willy-nilly sucked in. Inspired by the youngster, MacCay finds that his old reporter's bones are creaky but surprisingly hot for another go at the old game. To tell his story, McHugh shows some scorn for narrative reliability. In the early going, he breaks point-of-view rules, but never really to distraction, and anyway--who cares? In 243 highly readable pages, the "Deadlines" banquet serves up sumptious action; the still seductive, iconic crime setting of San Francisco and the coastal lands to its south; precisely etched characters, including a lesbian gym trainer and cop wannabe who could almost step out of Stieg Larson's "The Girl Who..." novels, and the invigorating portrai
Cosmagic More than 1 year ago
I always enjoy being able to escape into a good book and "Deadlines" delivers! The characters quickly become people you can feel and often identify with. The settings, from the newsroom to the Pacific Coast, are vivid with details. Mr McHugh has the unique ability to elicit strong emotions with his words. I loved this novel and hope to see these characters again.
Rasyad More than 1 year ago
Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How, McHugh's crisp story sweeps us into the lives of his main characters and grants us an insider's view of the chaos that is journalism. I found myself both entertained and moved by Deadlines. McHugh delivers quite a bit more than one might expect from a fast paced read. There is revealed a richness and compassionate insight into life that left me thinking about the characters long after the "mystery" was solved. This is a book that you will pass on to others and heartily recommend.
adventureRus More than 1 year ago
My wife and I shared it on a trip down the coast, (past some of the sites mentioned) and had a great time with this political-enviro-sport-mystery (she tore out the pages she had read and gave them to me, while I waited for each next installment). McHugh must be thinly disguised as the main character, and with his journeyman's experience in a colorful big city newsroom, the book rang true. There's plenty of City Desk lingo and archetypal people in this book--humor and quirks and twists. I've always liked hard-boiled reporter/investigator characters. There's a Steinbeck-like streak that runs through it. I happen to remember his stories from the Chronicle a few years ago when he wrote up his epic kayak trip along the rocky coast. So we picked it for the trip. He comes at this material honestly and with the ability to nail it accurate. McHugh has a way with extreme description (adventure, fights, booze, women, politics), and characters that have me waiting for the next story. Quote: "Journalism may be a cranky, wheezing, fractious, unwieldy amalgam of the most obstreperous, independent and feisty souls on the planet, but when the enterprise gathers itself to deliver a bolt of hot, fresh, major news to the republic, there's nothing more thrilling than being a part of it." I could practically taste the hot lead type. You won't be disappointed.