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Again, author John DeDakis manages to get inside a woman’s complicated inner workings and write a convincing – and utterly thrilling – first person perspective from his female protagonist, Lark Chadwick. The fourth installment of the ‘Lark Chadwick Mystery’ series, “Bullet in the Chamber” is locked and loaded with current, hot topics – heroin use and drones – and promises to be just as much of a rush as the previous three novels.
“Bullet in the Chamber” begins by finding Lark on the way to the White House, her first day as a White House Correspondent for the Associated Press. In true ‘Lark Chadwick form, it doesn’t take long before she finds herself dead center in an explosive drone attack on the White House itself. While she desperately works to unravel mysterious leads and questionable clues as a professional journalist, she’s emotionally pushed to the core when a close friend’s heroin use threatens to alter the personal side of her life. The heroine versus heroin. Lark struggles to balance them both but the answers she starts getting back aren’t exactly what she was hoping for.
DeDakis brilliantly draws from his career as a Senior Copy Editor at CNN and a former White House Correspondent for CBN News to put Chadwick convincingly at the White House and in the middle of the action. Only someone who’s been there, worked the interviews, knows the specific processes and the real-world lingo, can write about ‘the way it all works’ with such vivid detail and believably recreate it all in the pages of a mystery novel. He further utilizes his own excruciating family tragedy – facing the unimaginable and losing a child to heroin use. Reading the Acknowledgments and Author’s Notes section at the very beginning of the book first puts a unique personal perspective on the plot itself so as I read, I was able to see some of the ‘real’ intermingled with the ‘fiction’. Without giving away any of the story in making this point, I actually had to put the book down and walk away for a few days after chapter 34. But the suspense was also killing me so I was back, deep within its pages before too long.
“Bullet in the Chamber” provides a hold-your-breath, finger on the trigger plot throughout every single one of its 351 pages. It will hit its target with mystery and thriller fans, newsroom fiction readers, and those who enjoy current event/topic novels alike. The book also serves as an intelligent, impactful voice on the real world dangers of heroin use – the plot, the title, and even the cover go to further that important public message. A kinetic, Russian roulette of a read!

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