Author: John DeDakis

ISBN: 978-1-5950722-1-4

Publisher: ArcheBooks Publishing

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After reviewing John DeDakis debut bestselling novel Fast Track, I couldn't wait to get my hands on his second thriller, Bluff, and I wasn't disappointed.

Bluff is a sequel to Fast Track where we once again meet Lark Chadwick, a young journalist and her employer and mentor, Lionel Stone, a former Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times editor. Lionel is now publisher of a weekly newspaper, the Pine Bluff Standard that is located in a town by the same name in Wisconsin with a population of 21, 303.

As the story unfolds, Lark is about to sell her Grampa's farm to a sleazy real-estate operator, Shane L. Duran, for the sum of four hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars. However, as Shane was handing over the check, Lark notices the sum indicated on the check was forty seven thousand, five hundred and fifty dollars. When she points out the discrepancy, Shane shamelessly tells her that it was the sum they both agreed on and it is the sum mentioned in the sale's contract. Lark tears up the check and agreement and storms out of Duran's office. While out on the street, Lark meets her boss, Lionel who introduces her to Laura and William (Thor) Benedict, who are on their honeymoon. Apparently, they were on the same hiking trip in Peru with Lionel's daughter Holly when she was killed. When Laura and Thor depart, Lark learns of Holly's diary that Lionel could not bring himself to read. He further tells her that perhaps this is a good time to start its reading but there is the question-does he have enough guts to face what he will  find there? And as we will discover, the diary will play a vital role in finding out what actually happened to Holly. Did she accidentally die or was there foul play at work here?

Simultaneously, DeDakis introduces a second thread involving Lark and her boyfriend, Jason, who is a reporter for WMTV, Madison's NBC affiliate and whom she met six months earlier when she was about to be interviewed by him concerning the circumstances concerning her parents' death. Unfortunately, Jason also gets killed under very mysterious circumstances and again the possibility of foul play comes to the fore. The suspense now arises when Lark discovers that there may be a connection between the death of Holly and Jason.

Throughout the novel, DeDakis tantalizes us with questions of who is the good guy and who is not, continually throwing in all kinds of red herrings, as he grabs his readers and hauls them along for the journey. And what a journey we are in for where at the end he really throws us a fast curve ball, which I didn't see coming. This is not to say that his writing is flawless, but it's close. I guess his experience as Senior Copy Editor on CNN's “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” has taught him a thing or two about drama and suspense. His scenes are delicately rendered and crystal clear, permitting the reader to easily visualize the details. Moreover, his ability to cleverly and smoothly interweave two plots without losing focus is awesome! With the ending, I surmise there will be another sequel where we will once again have the opportunity to meet Lark and Lionel.


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