Executing a noir steeped in style highlighting an American (or similar) navigating the essences of Marseilles is an interesting element but within the narrative of “Deadline” [Chris Ewan/Minotaur/352pgs], the story could take place anywhere. The intended story structure involves a hostage negotiator for private clients who steps in to aid and assist with an unemotional attachment in a situation rife with snap judgments. What makes this book unique but ultimately formulaic is that the hostage negotiator attached to the situation portrayed in this book does have an emotional connection. He believes his client Jerome is in someway, if not completely, responsible for the disappearance of his fiance and his unborn child. Said fiance was part of his team, setting up different kinds of insurance to rich clients, should anything happen. The kidnapping, as portrayed here, seems less than happenstance. Trent, the negotiator, just happens to be on scene trailing his intended target. He then becomes embroiled in the act to save, if for only to make sure he finds something in relation to his fiance’s disappearance. The man’s son turns out to be sleeping with the client’s trophy wife and the requisite bodyguard has more than a passing loyalty to his employer even if he does keep things from him. The negotiator, again in a lapse of narrative logic, covers up the murder of a chauffeur and also enlists the snooping capabilities of a former cop when it is revealed that he too was struck by the kidnapper that Trent is pursuing. Twists and turns ensue eventually leading to an apparent killing of an ally, both up close and brutally and another one simply out of desperation. The good thing is that the author does not apologize for his characters actions…it is simply a means to an end. Ultimately this functionality proves fatal. The fatalism though is not a consequence of a lack of focus. It simply is a means to an end. In this way, the novel is successful but the way it gets there is not necessarily succinct or overtly interesting.