Fast Track by John DeDakis, book review

[Categories: Literature, Reading, Writing, Fiction, Mystery, Book Review]

Wow!  This is GOOD!

Five stars, bearing in mind I’ve given everyone from Chester Nez through Jodi Picoult to Ayn Rand the same on their individual merit, not as compared to each other.

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From an author with whom I wasn’t familiar until recently, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this story.  I had taken an afternoon seminar in general writing taught by him.  I purchased Fast Track, the first of 3 novels he has written, out of curiosity.  I also heard him speak a couple of times at the weekend event I was attending and he is very good at that.  Amongst his many credits he is a former CNN journalist.

I’m continually amazed when an author comes up with yet another clever plot.  This one is very clever and LINEAR!  What a NOVEL idea!!  I’m so tired of  the gimmicky flash-foward, flash-back, multiple converging character plot lines, all of which you can barely keep track of without a spreadsheet and project management software.

The back cover tells as much of the story as I’d care to share:

“The most cataclysmic week of Lark Chadwick’s life begins when she discovers the dead body of her aunt, a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning. This was the aunt who raised Lark from infancy after the tragic deaths of her parents in an auto accident. Yet what unfolds for Lark in the coming days is a dark and twisting mystery into the sinister circumstances of that awful day so long ago. Lark’s desperate search for the truth reveals secrets that are about to put her life in great peril.”


The story moves very fast.  (Fast Track, remember?)  There are plot twists and turns galore, LOTS of suspense, action to the VERY end.  Outstanding entertainment.  (I really couldn’t put it down.)

The author writes well too.  He’s descriptive!  Don’t get me started on books like the Hunger Games Trilogy that seem like a mere outline for the movie, letting the screenwriters add color, landscape, and structure.

I’m intrigued when a male author dares to choose a female as the lead character.  Khaled Hosseini does that well in A Thousand Splendid Suns in my opinion.  Perhaps Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is another example.  I think DeDakis does an admirable job.  There is a lot of angst in the young woman, but Jodi Picoult is all over teen angst in The Tenth Circle.  It must be something in the water these days.  Of course none of us are without angst, are we?

The sub-plot (non-diverging!) of the love interest and tribulations of the Episcopalian priest threw me a bit as I’m a Protestant-raised mild-agnostic, but it wasn’t a show-stopper.

It didn’t go unnoticed that the 6×9 book format was of excellent quality.  Apologies that I don’t know publishing specs but the binding is sturdy, paper much better than the usual pulp, and the cover glossy and attractive.

To summarize: clever plot, descriptive writing, fast-moving suspense, action, totally entertaining.  What’s not to like.  I will read DeDakis again.

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