Troubled Water by John DeDakis

Even before Lark Chadwick begins her new job as a cops and courts reporter for Georgia’s Columbia Sun-Gazette newspaper, she’s working on a story – like it or not. It’s a murder case and there’s frankly not much to like about it, since she’s the one who inadvertently found the teenage girl’s body when she turned off the Interstate to relieve her bladder after driving to her new location from her home in Wisconsin.

It’s not the most dignified way to begin working a new job, but on the plus side, her reporting instincts immediately kick in as she calls the story in to the newspaper. Soon afterwards, her quick thinking and dedication to investigating and following through on a story earn the praise of her boss, Metro Editor Ed Richards.

Rather than informally meeting them and introducing herself, as most new employees would prefer, Lark is instantly thrown into the business of working the story, interacting with police, the sheriff, her former publisher boss and mentor Lionel Stone, and even Georgia Governor and Presidential candidate Will Gannon, who sees a good opportunity to increase his visibility when a second teenage girl’s body is found. This makes the crime appear to be the work of a serial killer. There’s no shortage of suspects, from family members to former boyfriends to a mysterious bag boy at the local market who has a shady past.

Most surprisingly, another suspect is Doug Mitchell, a photographer for the Sun-Gazette, much to Lark’s dismay, since she feels an instant attraction to him.

Author John DeDakis has crafted a gripping story that reveals an insider’s look at crime reporting and the inner workings of journalists in and out of the newsroom. This comes as no surprise, since he’s a veteran journalist for CNN and a former White House correspondent.

Troubled Water is actually the third Lark Chadwick mystery, though readers new to the series will have no problem feeling right at home with Lark’s story. Tension and suspense run high throughout the book and there’s a twist ending that is sure to shock even the savviest of mystery fans. There’s also a nice set-up for future installments of the series.

The journalistic world’s loss of award-winning writer John DeDakis is a major bonus for fiction lovers. Here’s hoping for many more thrilling mystery novels from him in the future.


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