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Two O'clock, Eastern Wartime

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  559 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
Widely acclaimed for his groundbreaking crime novels "Booked to Die" and "The Bookman's Wake," award-winning author John Dunning triumphantly returns with a riveting new thriller that takes us back to the summer of 1942, when radio was in its prime, when daylight saving time gave way to "wartime," when stations like WHAR on the New Jersey coast struggled to create programm ...more
Hardcover, 1st., 480 pages
Published 2001 by New York: Scribner
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Feb 07, 2011 Tracey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction, wwii, 3-star
Not what I was expecting. What I thought this would be, from the book description, and what I wanted was something along the lines of (though probably more serious than) … oh dear, this will take a little searching. AMC series, radio station – Ah: Remember WENN (1996 – 1998). I did, in the end, remember. "… Set at the fictional Pittsburgh radio station WENN in the early 1940s, it depicted events (both dramatic and comic) in the personal and professional lives of the station's staff in the era be ...more
Jun 15, 2008 Blaire rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I'd really like to give this book a higher rating, because I've enjoyed the Bookman series. Like many books by authors who have a love for a particular historical period, this one is long on period color and short on the other things necessary to make an absorbing read. I found the plot to be thin and confusing, the characters to be more numerous and less rich than I'd like, the pace to be very slow, and the length to be, well...too long. Nevertheless, I persevered to the end mostly out of respe ...more
Apr 19, 2009 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan Reelitz
I could not wait for this book to end...all the while thinking, gosh, this has been reviewed as one
of Dunning's best. Groan. Too many twisting plots, interconnecting (one hopes) at the end but I'm going, now wait a minute, didn't this guy die in New York some pages ago? One unique and very entertaining aspect of the book, was the historical detail of early radio and how exciting it must
have been to be working in the "new" medium. That was really cool and putting the setting of the radio station
Apr 23, 2009 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book about the creative process, love, loss, World War ii radio, cloaked in mystery. Very strong characters make this a stand out book for me.The weakest part of the book is the mystery. Well worth the time to read.
Jan 06, 2017 Nd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read & loved John Dunning's Booked to Die and The Bookman's Wake years ago, even though I'm not much of a reader of war-centric books, out of curiosity I pounced on this one at our library's book sale. It's difficult to define its genre, and it was difficult to put down even though I was reading it through the holidays and drowsy from a cold part of the time.

In summer 1942, writer Jack Dulaney was jailed for a barroom fight that he didn't start, but certainly didn't back away from. He
Jan 20, 2017 Duchess_Nimue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, mysteries
It is late spring in 1942 America.

Working on racetracks by taking care of the horses, Jack Dulaney leads a peaceful life which is stopped by a drunken bar fight that ends him in jail. When there, a friend from the racetracks, Marty Kendall, brings him a letter from his old friend and crush, Holly, who indicates she's run in trouble. Dulaney decides to escape the prison to help her.

(view spoiler)

Mar 23, 2016 Dyana rated it really liked it
I would classify this book as enigmatic historical fiction. I was totally confused (but in a good way) through the whole book and everything didn't jell until, literally, the last couple of pages. The best part of the book was the background of the story which was behind-the-scenes of old time live radio. The author happens to be an expert on American radio history with 40,000 shows in his personal archive. Also Eastern Wartime (from the title) is what the Daylight Savings Act was called when in ...more
Todd Stockslager
Jun 04, 2015 Todd Stockslager rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Review title: Radio Nowhere
Dunning's sprawling mystery (478 pages in the hardback is Michneresque for the mystery genre) encompasses World War II, Nazi spy landings on the East coast, Irish freedom fighters, horse-racing culture, and the era of live radio drama, and ultimately falls prey to its grand ambitions.

Despite its extra weight, the story is light on its feet, moving quickly as hero Jack Dulaney walks away from a prison labor gang in California to pursue the woman he finally realizes he s
Lisa H.
Jul 11, 2012 Lisa H. rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 30, 2015 Thomas rated it really liked it
Recommended to Thomas by: a friend
Shelves: spy
I enjoyed reading this book and give it 4 out 5 stars. I borrowed it from a friend. Jack Dulaney is a man with an extraordinary talent for writing radio drama shows in 1942, the golden age of radio drama. He also is looking for the missing father of his girlfriend, Holly Carnahan.
The two threads converge in a story a of a Nazi spy murdering people who might expose him.

The spy is based on a real life Nazi spy, whose biography is Counterfeit Hero: Fritz Duquesne, Adventurer and Spy by Art Ronnie w
Mar 19, 2015 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: WW II stories fans
A surprisingly compelling read. I didn't know what to expect having never read any of Dunning's stuff before but I was interested in the subject matter, WW II and 40s radio, so I plunged right in.

The protagonist, Jack Dulaney, wanders into Regina Beach, New Jersey searching for his lost love, Holly Carnahan. He's a wanted man so takes on the nom de plume of Jordan Ten Eyck and hooks on to station WHAR as a continuity writer. He finds Holly, also using an alias, Holly O'Hara, singing with a local
Jun 21, 2016 Tina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read this book more than once, and listened to the audio book as well. This is definitely one of those books where I needed to read the book - put my eyes on the page and see the words - for a few reasons.
I picked up this title because I truly enjoyed Dunning's Cliff Janeway/Bookman series. I have both read and listened to each of those titles several times. This title felt very similar to the Janeway titles - similar pace and historical content, which I really enjoy. My first time through
Feb 18, 2010 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: completed
I thoroughly enjoyed John Dunning's BOOKMAN series and this one was quite a departure from that series. This time Dunning meanders through the inner workings of a small radio station in New Jersey. As a background mystery there are a number of disappearances to deal with. The lead characters wander in and out of the mystery while working at the radio station.

Sadly, by the time we get to the mystery and its revelations, the readers are only confused by it. Sure, there's a lot of wonderful histo
Nancy Black
Finished this novel yesterday. I had to plod through it as it wasn't easy to follow all the twists & turns from the first page onward.

I had read all the Booked books and love them but this one puzzled me.

First the hero goes by two different names and disappears by running away from a jail work party. The girl is just as puzzling. You never figure out what happens until the last few pages.

The authors work does have something going for it. The Radio Station and the reclusive owner. Murder mos
Dec 21, 2012 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: better-junk-food
I picked this up before a European vacation last fall, thinking I'd have lots of time en route to enjoy some mystery novels. While this proved more suspense novel than mystery -- and a bit darker than I like my mysteries -- Dunning conjures a fascinating picture of American radio during the war years. It's several days since I finished this, but the story still lives on inside my head, as if the characters were still there, revising scripts, planning shows and drinking beer along the boardwalk. ...more
Sep 05, 2012 Loretta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the book years ago. I was reminded of it after listening to "The Postmistress". It has all the flaws that other reviewers noted, but still packs a lot of entertainment if you are interested in radio and the impact of World War II on the East Coast. I found it fascinating to read about the behind the scenes work in putting together a radio production. The mystery part is confusing, no doubt about it, but if you hang in there, it all comes together. I definitely recommend listening t ...more
Carolyn (in SC) C234D
I liked this book, but not as much as the Janeway books. There was a lot of interesting information about what went into producing radio shows in that era, and Jack Dulaney/Jordan Ten Eyck is a likable character, but there was just something that kept this from being a four-star novel for me. It's rather long, almost 500 pages, and perhaps would have been better had it been a bit shorter and tighter. It does contain a good mystery.
Mar 03, 2012 Alistair rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book is one of the few I have read many times and also listened to the audio version!
It features Old Time Radio as a backdrop and that was way before my time. I found it
highly interesting to learn about this period and that was a bonus to the plot.
You really participate with the lead characters and the twists and turns of the plot are enthralling.
My only annoyance is Dunning has, to my knowledge, never written a sequel.
Highly Recommended!
Nov 02, 2012 Viviane rated it liked it
A great mystery novel but it took me awhile to get into it. Probably because I was very busy and I had little time to read. I normally like starting and finishing a book in the same week. This one took me 4 months to finish so that's why I gave it 3 stars. I wasn't drawn to get back into the story. I loved the era and setting of 1940s and the radio station on the east coast. Learned a lot of how they made radio dramas pre TV.
Dec 17, 2015 Dorothy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
I listened to the Simon & Schuster audio version of this. Nowhere on the outside did it say it was abridged, but at the end of the 6th CD, it thanked me for listening to an abridged version. This wasn't a bad listen, but there seemed to be some holes and jumps, which became much easier to understand once I realized it wasn't the full text. Grrrr....
The best part of the book was the history of radio. There was the hope that radio in the forties was on the brink of something great but it was being dumbed down for the masses. The radio station in this story WHAR was going to be ground breaking. Radio never achieved the dream. But the dream was nice while it lasted. Television has the same struggles.
Sheila Johnston
Sep 19, 2013 Sheila Johnston rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It was a departure from John Dunning's "bookman" series, but the writing is as good as ever. Set in a time of war, with a focus on old-time radio, add a pinch of conspiracy, mistrust and intrigue and great characters. You really don't know how it will end until it does, which is always a sign of a good mystery.
Oct 07, 2012 Steve rated it liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
Barely six months after Pearl Harbor, Jack Dulaney is sitting in a California jail, dreaming of Holly Carnahan, onetime flame and his late half-brother's wife, now a war widow. When he finds out Holly is in trouble, he escapes and heads cross country to New Jersey -- in the guise of a radio writer -- to help her. A fast-paced and engaging read.
Sep 05, 2009 Michael rated it it was ok
There are times when this got extremely boring for me and I didn't even know if I would finish it. The only saving grace in this average-at-best mystery was the dialogue between Jack and Holly. Their on again, off again relationship (to put it in a way that makes sense) had its quirks and their language was very real and honest.
Randy Schultz
Aug 02, 2012 Randy Schultz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This will be my second Dunning and from here on out, I will buy anything I see with his name on it. This book was simply outstanding except for what I consider one small miss at the end but oh well. A great read.
Aug 29, 2008 John rated it liked it
Recommended to John by: Book club
This book isn't really good or really bad. It felt like a good story about radio in the 1940s shoved into a poor mystery. I'm still not sure what the killer's motives were, or the whole sequence of events that led up to the storyline.
Michelle Casey
Mar 12, 2011 Michelle Casey rated it really liked it
Just really enjoyed reading about it took to produce a radio show in the 1940's. Better than the mystery element, but I got this book because I was fan of his Bookman novels which are excellent mysteries.
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 20, 2009 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it
This story hearkens back to a time almost completely past. The 1940s and WWII era very few remember now and they're passing. I remember the 1950s and there were still radio dramas then, but it wasn't the war.

You'll get to know the people in this book, and remember them.
Nov 20, 2012 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing, ho-hum
We both read this. Javaczuk liked it; I liked bits of it, enough to finish the book, but it was slow reading.Interesting historical perspectives, but rather dry at times. I liked it more when the author focused in on the Holly story, rather than the scripts. But I'm a romantic at heart.

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John Dunning was born in 1942 in Brooklyn, NY. He was raised in Charleston, SC, is married, and has two adult children.

John always wanted to write, but was a poor student. He left high school in the tenth grade, partly because of an inability to concentrate and absorb lectures. Several years ago he was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD), a malady that could not have been imagined in t
More about John Dunning...

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