24: Deadline by James Swallow
24: Deadline by James Swallow

24: Deadline Review

When 24 originally ended four years ago, Jack Bauer was a fugitive on the run after killing multiple Russian diplomats, kidnapping a former US President, and stopping just short of assassinating Russian President Suvarov. 24: Deadline picks up roughly one hour later and gives us another thrilling day in the life of Jack Bauer.

Deadline is a smaller scale, more personal storyline. Both Kiefer Sutherland and the producers of the series often say they desire to go back to smaller storylines, but Deadline actually delivers on this promise.

The story in Deadline is exciting and well paced. It doesn’t get bogged down with any of the tiresome CTU drama – there’s no moles or office romances. There’s no presidential storyline, no nuclear bombs or World War III scenarios. Just Jack Bauer fighting to see his daughter again. It feels most similar to the first season of the show, which still remains my favorite of the series.

There’s a few more things it has in common with the first season: Jack eats and drinks, he gets stuck in traffic, he gets tired and dozes off. These small touches make Jack feel more human and relatable and it’s something that hasn’t really been done much since the first season.

Jack and Kim Bauer discuss their family’s future in 24 Season 8 premiere
Jack and Kim Bauer discuss their family’s future in 24 Season 8 premiere

The driving force for Jack Bauer is keeping the promise he made to his daughter Kim and granddaughter Teri in the eighth season premiere. Jack is determined to see his daughter one last time before fleeing the country. He’s already vanished on her once and doesn’t want to put her through that agony again.

It’s not going to be easy for Jack. The FBI has assembled a task force to bring him in dead or alive and a covert operations unit of Russia’s SVR has orders to kill Bauer on sight. His friends are either all dead or arrested, so he doesn’t have any backup. He can’t rely on Chloe providing him satellite assistance or sending schematics to his PDA; he’s forced to fend for himself and use his wits to stay alive. Jack starts off without a gun, vehicle, or any method of communication and is forced to improvise in clever ways.

“I made a promise to my daughter. I won’t let her down.” - Jack Bauer

It’s still very much an authentic 24 storyline. Frequently heard phrases like “within the hour” are used, there’s shootouts and car chases, Jack puts people in sleeper holds, he threatens to shoot others in the kneecap, and all of the other things you’d expect. There’s plenty of physical confrontations with brutal hand-to-hand combat. Many of these bone-crunching fight scenes would make even Jason Bourne green with envy.

More than one character from the past makes a surprise reappearance in 24: Deadline. These aren’t just small cameos either, these familiar faces play an integral role in the storyline. The first return was expertly handled and is the kind of moment where you fist pump the air and let out a loud cheer. The second return introduces some fun scenarios, but will require readers to suspend disbelief a bit more.

There’s plenty of references to past events including Jack’s time in Delta Force, Operation Nightfall, the Salazar sting operation, Palmer’s assassination, the nuke that went off in Valencia, and even something from 24: The Game. Over two dozen previous characters are mentioned in the book including Jack’s former lovers Teri, Audrey, and Renee; former CTU colleagues Nina, Chase, Tony, and Chloe; and villains Cheng, Saunders, Mandy, Victor Drazen, Fayed, and Marwan just to name a few. All of these mentions are very organic and do not simply feel like fan service.

You’ll find out more about Kim’s husband Stephen (including his last name and occupation), you’ll read about what happened to Russian President Yuri Suvorov, and catch up with an old character or two that we haven’t seen in a while. You’ll also discover which villain still haunts Jack Bauer to this day and gives him nightmares. Since this is a prequel to Live Another Day, we already know Jack survives, but other characters might not be so lucky…

Many tie-in stories are often shoddy cash grabs that fail to capture the essence of the original work. But author James Swallow appears to have a very good understanding of what makes 24 tick. He respects the source material and you can tell the story was crafted with lots of love.

Besides consulting with 24 showrunners Manny Coto and Evan Katz, Swallow gives a shout out to the fans of both 24 Wiki and 24 Spoilers in the acknowledgments. There’s an impressive attention to detail, from using the same fictional CNB news network occasionally seen on the show to mentioning somewhat obscure facts like Jack’s history of riding motorcycles in his youth.

When the series originally ended four years ago, we were promised Jack Bauer would make his long-awaited debut on the big screen but that never happened. 24: Deadline feels like the 24 movie we never got.

Deadline is the first of three “24” novels planned by Tor/Forge Books and it sets a high bar for the next two. James told us that he’d love to write more 24 stories if this book is successful, and I hope he gets the opportunity to do so. If the TV series gets renewed for another season, the producers would be smart to bring him on board as a writer or consultant.

I recommended this to all fans of the show, especially if you like the first three seasons. You can purchase 24: Deadline on Amazon, iBooks, Google Play, and book stores near you.

James SwallowAbout the Author
James Swallow is a British author and scriptwriter. A BAFTA nominee and a New York Times bestseller, he is the author of several original books and tie-in novels, as well as short fiction, numerous audio dramas and video games.

His writing includes The Sundowners series of steampunk Western novels, and fiction from the worlds of Star Trek, Warhammer 40,000, Doctor Who, Stargate and 2000AD. He lives and works in London.


Comments Closed
Well…I wish this had been Season 9…

So do I, sounded bloody perfect.

Get James Swallow in the writers room, and fucking listen to him!

For what it’s worth, it makes more sense to bring back characters from the past in a novel rather than on TV. A TV show has to appeal to a broad audience, and the casual viewer of 24 probably doesn’t remember anymore who
Chase Edmunds or Mandy
is; however, the novels are mostly for hardcore fans anyway, so the readers of this novel will eat it up!

It would be really neat if they made an audio book of this read by Kiefer or Dennis Haysbert who have great voices. Glad that Katz, Coto and Fox supported this book.

I’m usually not the kind of person who’s interested in material outside of TV shows, but I’m actually really excited to read this.

Same here, this sounds pretty great, looking forward to reading it.

Me too I can’t wait to read the book it comes to my house tomorrow . And I still wonder what’s in President Taylor’s speach.

Love anything on the 24 format

wow, i want to read it now, i want to know want happened to president Taylor, i loved that character.

Major spoiler on returning character/death:
Chase dies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wasn’t that already assumed anyway? Didn’t he move to Valencia where the nuke went off?

Chase faked his death in the Valencia nuke bomb and lived then, but died now… :(

I’m not up to his death yet, but I’m suddenly realising that I’ve missed Chase, I’m really feeling for the guy, I’m really enjoying the bromance, so it’s really gonna bum me out when he dies.

Spoiler on big death
NOOOOOOOOOOOOO CHASE. Dang it, they have a vendetta against all of the old characters. Audrey, Cheng, Morris and Prescott, Chase, and pretty much Heller have all been killed off after Day 8.

There’s barely any old characters left now. I was sad that Chase died, but he did have a pretty good send off. In this case his storyline was mostly wrapped up already (he’d never be a field agent with one hand and he broke up with Kim) so it was unlikely he’d ever return to the TV series in a meaningful way. It was nice to get some closure there, one final story that tied up some loose ends with his character and gave him a more definitive ending.

August 7, 2014 at 4:38 am
This doesn’t bode well for Tony, if he’s really in 24 Solitary…

Y’all do know that nothing outside the actual television series is officially canon, right guys/gals?

I don’t think
James Badge Dale
was really on the best terms with the 24 lot – Le Kief included, so he might as well be dead, ‘cos there was never any interest on either side for him to come back. I think the fans would’ve liked to see him again though, shame.

August 9, 2014 at 3:40 am
My prediction: Cole Ortiz dies in the next novel. No way they’d ever bring back Freddie.

The guy actually said year ago, that he was stupid not to return to 24 when he had the chanse.

I’m pretty sure the books are official canon. Plus
wiki 24 lists Chase as deseased.

Typically I agree, but this is more of a unique case IMO. I consider this novel canon because the actual writers of the show were involved in some fashion and it ties into the series perfectly – there’s not really many inconsistencies or anything.

And it’s unlikely this information will ever be contradicted by future episodes of the series because there was pretty much no chance of
returning in the first place.

Manny Coto and Evan Katz were asked questions by Swallow during his research for the book, but they contributed no story ideas and weren’t involved in any way with it’s writing or publication.

It’s probably a ripping good read, but some things should be left to the imagination and go untold; the ’24’ video game and the various tie-in novels/comic books are undoubtedly solid entertainment, but at the end of the day, only the show remains canon.

Is there a terrorist threat?

No terrorist threat. The story from cover to cover is primarily Jack attempting to make his way from New York to Los Angeles while being hunted by the Americans and Russians.

There is one sort of diversion where Jack gets caught up dealing with an
outlaw motorcycle club after he saves a woman he sees being attacked. They’re very bad people and not happy that Jack killed one of their own, but they’re not terrorists.

What happened to President Taylor and Suvarov?

They both got arrested by their respective countries’ authorities for their part in the Day 8 conspiracy pending an investigation. President Taylor for covering it up, and Suvarov for plotting an assassination of Omar Hassan, and ordering the murder of ex-FBI agent and Jack’s lover, Renee Walker.

The story is about Jack trying to get out of the country but see Kim first before he does. I am halfway through and there is no threat which is pretty cool. He enlists some help from an individual from the past meanwhile trying to elude the Russians and FBI. Solid so far but not realtime as the other 24 books are. The book is engaging and continuously moving. Solid holdover since the show ended.

Where can u get the book

Where can u buy the book in stores?

Angelika Kanis
August 8, 2014 at 4:53 am
I already read 45 pages of the book and am totally thrilled. Was hard to put it aside. Am waiting now that I can make time out to read the rest. Very good job! Only one small thing: James Swallow should have known that
Chloe’s ex-husband is called Morris and not Miles!

Didn’t they remarry some time after season 6? Why is he “ex”? Also, O’Brian! Lol

Finished the book yesterday though. Loved it!! Awesome character returns… never saw

So sad he died though.

Did anyone else die.

It is bizarre that he got the Morris info wrong. I mean, the author clearly knows and appreciates the show, when describing a room at the strip club he included the pelt of a mountain lion hanging on a wall, which is a stroke of genius. LOL So yeah, he knows the show well enough to include a dead cougar gag, but gets Morris’ name wrong?

On the whole though I’m finding it very well written, the characterisations ring true and the action builds well and it all feels like what you get on the show itself.

Can’t believe I missed that mountain lion bit! Awesome. Gonna have to go back and re-read that section :)

I liked the book a lot and look very much forward to the ones yet to come. Lol, and I loved the “cougar” hint, too. :)

Does anyone not like it?
I heard an excerpt and I thought it was awful.


The audiobook excerpt that’s online was from the prologue and is probably the worst part of the entire novel IMO. it was just a poor segment to showcase and not really representative of the full novel.

can you read it online?

Just buy it yer cheap fucker!

He kinda screwed up with the whole story about the ‘contractor’ and Jack when they were discussing the situation under which they met and ‘worked together’.
They said that Mandy helped stop multiple nuclear meltdowns when she only helped stop the nuclear missile.

Sorry about the previous post. Wasn’t sure if I worked the spoiler button correctly and apparently I did not. Apologies in advance and if anyone can fix it please do so.

No problem David. For future reference, the portion of the message you want blacked out has to go in-between the two spoiler brackets (the ] and the [ character).

Did Subconscious! Nina give anyone else chills, or is it just me? GAH I hate her so much, she’s even creeping me out from beyond the grave now. The inclusion of that was a master stroke. Actually the whole bit about what goes on in Jack’s head when he attempts sleep was brilliant IMO, (again, perhaps it’s just me but I’ve often wondered how Jack manages to sleep, and now I know).

It may be a well-written and thoroughly entertaining novel, but I’m sitting this one out; it makes little to no sense that Jack would travel a couple thousand miles across the continental United States just to see Kim when the entire U.S. law enforcement apparatus plus the entire Russian Federation are wanting his head at that very moment and he has an extremely limited window of time to actually make his escape… in addition to the fact that by the end of Day 8, he’d likely been awake for 30 hours straight, and that’s not even taking into consideration his physical exhaustion and injuries sustained that day, even Jack has limitations!

Creating a new story where none was needed also takes away the pathos of the Day 8 finale; it had dramatic and emotional weight in my opinion that was tragic yet stoic; the hero who saved his country many times over, now a wanted outlaw by that very same country he helped defend, and whose sole aim throughout that day was to leave it all behind and be with his family, but whose own actions have meant he may never see that family ever again, a bitter irony that gave the finale resonance, that last shot of Jack seen on the drone feed the perfect image to leave it at… until the events of ‘Live Another Day’…

Just my own humble opinion of course, I don’t feel the need nor do I believe there to be a need to see every last dotted ‘i’ and crossed ‘t’ of an ongoing serialized story, this current obsession of having to literally tell every last drop of story, leaving nothing to the imagination, is detrimental to storytelling integrity… I don’t want to see how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, I don’t want to know where the deserted ship in ‘Alien’ came from, and I don’t think filling in every last detail of Jack Bauer’s life between seasons either makes those seasons work any better or furthers our understanding and enjoyment of said seasons overall… that’s what exposition is for.

What’s next, ‘Mandy: The Early Years’? Actually, on second thoughts…

“it makes little to no sense that Jack would travel a couple thousand miles across the continental United States just to see Kim when the entire U.S. law enforcement apparatus plus the entire Russian Federation are wanting his head at that very moment and he has an extremely limited window of time to actually make his escape… in addition to the fact that by the end of Day 8, he’d likely been awake for 30 hours straight, and that’s not even taking into consideration his physical exhaustion and injuries sustained that day, even Jack has limitations! ”

Actually it makes a lot of sense IMO, and his thought process is explained, that he can’t just disappear on Kim again without seeing her one last time to explain, especially not after having told her he’d see her in LA. PapaJack has always had a special place in my heart, so I love and believe that he’s making the effort to see her one last time, despite the extreme risk.

He’s aware he has very little time to do it. He doesn’t just jump in a car and go, he has to get around the obstacles of the FBI in order to get there and he’s also well aware of the Russians being after him too. The book cuts between Jack and the two parties searching for him, and how they’re gaining on him. It’s not a simple cross country joyride just because he wants to make a pitstop in LA. Even just getting out of NYC to begin with is a major obstacle he has to deal with.

His lack of sleep is addressed, that he was trained to be able to stay up and effective for 72 hours, but in his current physical and emotional state, he’s not invincible and the man actually sleeps.

You won’t lose out in terms of the overall story if you skip the book. It doesn’t add anything that’s vital knowledge for Day 9 to believably follow on from Day 8. But the way the story has been written, it fits, it makes sense, and it’s a nice bonus to expand Jack’s personal story a bit more. It may not be necessary, but nor is it detrimental IMO.

*thumbs up*

I’m not convinced at all that Jack would attempt to see Kim one more time (however much he wanted to) prior to disappearing into exile, for any number of reasons;

It would be foolhardy in the extreme for Jack because that’s the very first thing the Americans and Russians would think of, Kim’s phone and e-mails would be bugged in all likelihood and her house would be under constant surveillance, they would be lying in wait for him long before he got there and he would be either caught by the feds or killed by the Russians.

Jack would know that attempting to contact Kim would not only automatically put her and family in potential mortal danger, it would also potentially put her in a very dicey legal quandary… and he would know that, and why he wouldn’t put her in that position.

That’s just how I see the stuation, but if the book takes those things on and resolves them, then I’m all ears…

Jack hires Mandy to “kill” him with multiple people including FBI agents as witnesses. By the final chapter, they had inconclusive footage of Jack in LA, so it was set up that they were still looking for him by the time the story ended, but he did have that plan to hopefully make it easier for him to get to and say goodbye to Kim without interference. Ideally, the Russians would have heard he was dead too, which would have eliminated any threat to Kim’s family from that side as well. Unfortunately, the Russians had also hired Mandy to kill Jack and they didn’t believe the photos she sent them of his “corpse”, so there was some unpleasantness in LA with them using Steven to help them get Jack, and a bomb on Kim’s car which was almost but not quite detonated. So yeah, his presence did end up putting his family in danger, but he did attempt to lessen the likelihood of that happening, and when Kim all but begged him to stay, he insisted he had to leave ASAP to protect them, it’s not like he thought he could just rock up on their doorstep no worries.

We have to look at this with the suspension of disbelief. Why would
work with Jack? He’s got a secret chip that has tracking data on individuals who don’t want to be found? If you think about it maybe he does cross the country to exit America. New York was being locked down and the last place they would look would be crossing the country. The story was good and as all seasons of 24 there are things you need to look past and just enjoy. They said there are two more books coming. Should be interesting what they tackle next.

Sounds like a lot of improbable situations going down in this novel.

I’ll pass.

August 10, 2014 at 7:53 pm
Also, didn’t Jack record that video for Kim in episode 23… which explains why he did what he did. I strongly assume Taylor made it public. So no need to go see Kim.

Yes! I hope 24Spoilers keeps an eye out for that meeting the FOX CEO said he will eventually have with the 24 big wigs. Notice Kiefer used the same phrase the FOX CEO used: “many more stories to tell”. woo hoo, we want more!

I really want another season to be announced soon.

A source revealed: ”Fans are desperate to know what happened to Jack once they got him back to Russia.

So we now need sources to reveal to fans… how they feel as fans?

I was tired of Jack, lost interest to watch the drama. I was hoping the story will bring Tony Almeida and Michelle back, from what i can see now is only a dream. 24 loses lots of fans due to this. In 24 Jake is always like God, but Tony Almeida is more like human and we prefer human. That is all i can say, from a Chinese fan.

The24Podcast did an interview with the author where he talks a bit about the process of coming up with the story and writing the book: http://the24podcast.com/james-swallow-is-the-author-of-24-deadline/

I borrowed the novel from the library last friday and read it all weekend. It was great reading more about Jack Bauer’s adventures as he travelled desperately from New York to Los Angeles to see his daughter Kim, and granddaughter Teri while being pursued by American and Russian authorities for his crimes in Day 8. Its too bad that this was not a season 9 or a movie version following the events from Day 8, but at the novel was able to tie up some loose ends from that day.