Dead On — A Review of Richard Sanders’ Dead Heat

Why is does someone who worked for more than a decade at both Entertainment Weekly and People Magazine self-publish eight novels in a three-year period (2010-2012)? Why do many of those novels have zero reviews on Amazon and none have more than eight? Why do all eight of his titles feature the words dead, death, or die in the title?

This reader has more questions about Richard Sanders and his writing career than he has answers. What I do know is that the apparent lack of reader attention to Mr. Sanders’ novels is, judging from Dead Heat, not due his inability to entertain.

Dead Heat, like some if not all of his books, features Quinn McShane––an ex-con, ex-drug addict reporter/detective. From his beat at Real Story magazine he is assigned to cover the NYS governor’s race, although a some point along the way he becomes a Glock-carrying detective working for the NYS State Police, the Democratic Party candidate, and/or the NYS Recreation Dept. (Just kidding about the latter.)

The fact is that it’s hard to know how seriously to take Sanders’ story because he takes it with a highway department sized mount of salt, spreading his pages with humorous names, incidents, and kitschy asides:

“It was creepy and disturbing and I liked it very much.”

“Together they formed a well-oiled team, running on rivalry, envy, jealousy and extreme pettiness.”

Then there are the kitschy chapter titles:

“The Limelight of the Idol”

“Boyz An’ the Hoodie”

“The Truth About Phil Mickelson”

The problem with satire is that humor can undercut the author’s desire to be taken seriously and underneath the fun, Sanders tells a serious story about redemption, love and good guys and gals.

The problem with self-publishing is that your books are like a drop in the ocean. Richard Sanders’ Dead Heat is a fun, year-round read with a serious message or two folded in. I’m betting the others are equally entertaining.

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