Strategic Media Books, Inc. (2019)
Reviewed by Jennifer Wilson for Reader Views (1/2020)
“Fake” is the follow-up to the award-winning novel, “Bullet in the Chamber” by John DeDakis. In this tale, our protagonist, reporter Lark Chadwick, becomes the reported after a whirlwind of ill-fated events places her in the middle of the biggest presidential scandal since Monica Lewinsky.
Lark is the White House correspondent for the Associated Press, working in the aftermath of former President Donald Trump’s well-publicized aversion of what he called “fake news.” In today’s time, it seems having a reputation for being a good and fair journalist isn’t easy. But, Chadwick has done just that, she’s even gained the respect of First Lady Rose Gannon, who chooses Lark to interview her for her memoir and write her biography. Lark is even trusted with the secret of Mrs. Gannon’s terminal pancreatic cancer diagnosis. When the First Lady collapses during the interview and later dies, Lark and the President are the only witnesses. Through a series of strange coincidences, Lark becomes possibly the most hated woman in America as the news media begins reporting that President Gannon had his wife murdered to cover the affair that he and Lark are purportedly having. Lark must now figure out what to do as she once thought and stood for comes into question – her life thrust into the spotlight by the very group she was once a part.
Honestly, the culture has changed. The media is no longer just the daily newspaper. Now anyone with access to social media is a reporter of sorts. In this society, how does the average person discern what is real, and what is fake?
Being unfamiliar with his previous novel, I was unsure whether I should start with the first Lark Chadwick mystery in order to relate to her character in “Fake.” I quickly found my skepticism unfounded. This book is a stand-alone narrative, not generating the feeling that I was unaware of pertinent information as some sequels do. From beginning to end the author’s style imbued me with a sense of familiarity with the characters. Lark’s dilemmas had me feeling a real affinity for her character. As well as wanting to see how she would react, I found myself wondering what I would do in her place. I was extremely delighted to find that Mr. DeDakis has a real flair for conveying the female thought process.
“Fake” is an engaging novel that is so well-written that I had no trouble staying completely engrossed. You don’t have to be politically adept to understand and appreciate this book. As a journalist, DeDakis writes with great detail concerning the inner workings of the press and their relationship and role in our government. As well, he writes in a manner that, in my opinion, does not alienate anyone regardless of personal political views.