John Dunning (born January 9, 1942) is an American writer of non-fiction and detective fiction. He is known for his reference books on old-time radio and his series of mysteries featuring Denver bookseller and ex-policeman Cliff Janeway.
Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1942, Dunning moved to his father's hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, at the age of three. In 1964 he left his parents' home and moved to Denver, Colorado, where, after a time working as a stable hand at a horse racing track, he got a job at The Denver Post. In 1970 he left the newspaper and took up writing novels, while pursuing a variety of jobs. Partly because of trouble with his publishers, in 1981 he stopped writing and opened a store specializing in second-hand and rare books. At the urging of fellow authors, he returned to the world of novels in 1992 with his first Cliff Janeway novel, Booked to Die. The novel won the Nero Award that year.
Dunning currently lives in Denver with his wife Helen.
In addition to compiling encyclopedic reference books about the history of radio programming, Dunning hosted a long-run weekly radio show, Old-Time Radio.
I was a collector of old-time radio shows for 30 years. I grew up with this stuff. It was like collecting part of my own life. I parlayed that into a weekly radio show, which I hosted on Denver radio for more than 25 years... In 1973 I worked on the Robert Altman film, Thieves Like Us. Altman's film was based on the 1937 novel by Edward Anderson, and he wanted it scored with old radio shows. My job--which lasted six weeks--was to find the right sounds to fit his story.