Dying for Dana

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Dying for Dana starts late at night in an upscale bar in Portland, Oregon, as Roop, the owner, and Highwire Harris, a former basketball player turned television sportscaster, try to persuade their friend Max Travis to go to Roop’s house for more drinks. Max declines, still feeling low after yet another break-up with a woman. At Roop’s, two masked men enter the house, steal the considerable money from Roop’s safe, and shoot Highwire.

Max heads the Violent Crimes Unit at the District Attorney’s office and is called to the scene. Duty mingles with guilt at not being with his friends when the shooting occurred, but his involvement becomes much more complicated when he begins a torrid love affair with Dana Waverleigh, one of Roop’s ex- girlfriends.

The identity of the two masked men is made known to the reader early on, but of course not to Max and the police. Dana had been outside Roop’s house and recognized one of the men as a former lover, but he also spotted her. He threatens to say she was in on the robbery scheme if she tells anyone, and he also demands that she ply Max for information about the investigation.

Two other women add to the mix—Candy, a stripper, and Pamela Gramm, a television newscaster. There are multiple murders, a kidnapping, a hostage situation, and all sorts of other suspenseful elements, including who loves whom and how much.

Jim Patton provides insight into his characters’ flaws, and he deftly manages the action to keep the reader interested in their fates.