Like the hot and sticky weather he sometimes reports on, Lansing meteorologist Jake Dunne uses his concise and easygoing storytelling ability to grab the reader in “Stand By,” his new mystery-thriller.
Dunne’s follow-up to his 2008 “Johnstone Junction” picks up on Denver weatherman Sam Stone, a year and a half after the amateur detective was called on to solve a mystery. This time, Stone is pulled into a missing-person case when Julie Anderson, an anchorwoman at his previous TV station disappears without a trace while on the way to work.
“Sam has the answer — he just doesn’t know it,” Dunne said.
He also said that in-depth readers might be able solve the mystery: “Clues to the ending of the book are sprinkled throughout, but no one has solved it yet.”
As in the first book, weather plays a major role in the plot, and Dunne said his writing career is a natural outgrowth of his day job. “I tell many stories every day,” he said. “Some are a minute. Some are three minutes.”
He said he likens his writing to John Grisham and calls his style “simple yet sarcastic.”
Since the weather in Michigan is so notoriously unpredictable, many readers will understand how Dunne has slipped so easily into writing fiction.
The WLNS-TV morning meteorologist has now logged nearly seven years in Lansing after moving to Michigan from Casper, Wyo. Dunne is a geosciences graduate of the other MSU — Mississippi State University.
He said growing up in Wichita, Kan., with its crazy weather patterns attracted him to reporting on the weather. Much of his new book is set in his hometown.
Dunne also likes to make it clear that although his book includes “some true stories” that he is not Dan Stone. However, some of that may change in his next Dan Stone mystery, which is set in Michigan.
That’s all he’ll say about his next book.
Dunne, who squeezes in time for writing here and there in his busy schedule — he’s up at 1:30 a.m., getting ready to go to work — has come to grips with the understanding that “writing is a full-time job.”
He said sales of his new book have exceeded his expectations. “We’ll see where it goes,” he added.
The weatherman wouldn’t predict more than that.
Reading and signing “Stand By”
3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 2
Everybody Reads Books and Stuff,
2019 E. Michigan Ave. Lansing