JEFFERY WILDS DEAVER – Hard News. Rune #3. Doubleday, hardcover, 1991. Bantam, paperback, June 1992.

   Rune, not her real name, but the name she goes by, is an aspiring photojournalist and filmmaker living in a houseboat on the Hudson River in Manhattan. She’s in her early 20s, and as taken from Jeffrey Deaver’s website, she’s “five feet two inches of slick repartee, near-purple hair, and poetic imagination” with “with more ambition than political savvy.”

   A description which doesn’t entirely do her justice, but it’s close enough. In Hard News, after watching a videotaped interview with him, she becomes convinced that a convict named Randy Boggs is actually innocent of the murder he claims he didn’t commit.

   Where does she take her story on him to prove his innocence? Directly to Piper Sutton, the news anchorwoman for Current Events, one of the mostly highly watched TV news programs on the air. Somehow she manages to persuade Sutton to go ahead with the project. (It may have something to do with the fact that the man murdered was the head of the network at the time.)

   All to the good. But do things go smoothly? In a word, no. She does manage to stir up a lot of trouble for both herself and the man in prison. Rune’s life style is, shall we say, somewhat unique, making for a story that’s a lot of fun to read. What makes it even more so is the fact she does all of the work on her project burdened down by a three-year-old girl whose mother abandoned her in Rune’s care.

   Even as early as this in his career Jeffery Deaver, well-known now as the author of a long list of books about quadriplegic detective Lincoln Rhyme, had a way with words, turns of phrases and twists in the tale he’s telling that titillates the reader’s mind and teases one’s brain. The story, while rushed in the ending, isn’t at all bad either.

Bibliographic Note: At the end of the paperback edition, which I’ve just read, the next Rune book was announced as being The Mystery of You, to be released in January 1993. The book was never published. I wonder if it was ever written.

       The Rune series —

Manhattan Is My Beat. Bantam 1989
Death of a Blue Movie Star. Bantam 1990
Hard News. Doubleday 1991