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Talking with John Dunning

John Dunning

John Dunning’s new mystery sets aside the theme of his two earlier titles, BOOKED TO DIE and THE BOOKMAN’S WAKE, which feature bookman and ex-cop Cliff Janeway. In addition to his interest in antiquarian books, Dunning is also an expert on American radio history and the author of ON THE AIR: THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF OLD TIME RADIO (Oxford University Press). TWO O’CLOCK, EASTERN WARTIME shares similarities with the Janeway stories because the listener learns so much about the radio (or book) business. Woven through the story are rich details of the actual making of radio in the 1940s.

Dunning told AudioFile about his passion for radio plays and his collection of 40,000 OTR shows. He decries the loss of American talent and expertise, saying, “Radio was a great medium that was just thrown away.” But he admires the survival of the radio play in Britain and encourages the renewing interest in audio theater in the U.S. Dunning’s fascination for the format has not yet led him to write contemporary audio theater. As for audiobooks, it’s too much like re-reading his finished books, “I don’t revisit them. It’s almost painful to go back. You always find something you would do differently,” Dunning says. Listeners, like his readers, should have no such reservations; his books, and audiobooks, are eminently revisitable.

© AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine

Photo © Rykleen Johnson

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