My Books


My novels feature strong-willed, strong-minded protagonist Lark Chadwick. The series begins in south central Wisconsin with a vexed, 20-something Lark trying to figure out what to do with her life.

Each story stands alone, but throughout feature the themes of journalistic integrity and mentoring relationships.

To order, click on the book cover images.



Fast Track

Fast Track is my first novel.

The manuscript went through fourteen major revisions over ten years and was rejected nearly forty times until my current agent, Barbara Casey, fell in love with it.

In Fast Track, Lark solves the mystery surrounding the car accident that killed her parents when she was an infant. It's based, in part, on the suicide of my sister in 1980 and a car-train collision I witnessed when I was nine years old.

"Fast Track” is one of those rare novels that you simply can’t put down. I was hooked on page one and it was non-stop until the very end – an emotional roller coaster.
~Wolf Blitzer
Anchor, CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer”

Bluff book cover

Bluff is based, in part, on my hike along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru (four days, 15,000 feet, 25 miles).

In this story, Lark helps her friend and mentor Lionel Stone solve the mystery surrounding the death of his daughter Holly along the Inca Trail.

DeDakis can so accurately write from a woman’s point of view – with all the intrinsic curiosity, emotion and passion – [that it’s] nothing short of astounding.
~Diane Dimond
Author and Investigative Journalist

Troubled water book cover

In Troubled Water, Lark leaves her safe and comfortable job as Lionel Stone's star reporter at a small weekly paper in Wisconsin. Just as she's arriving in west central Georgia to be the cops and courts reporter at a kick-ass (but struggling) daily newspaper, she discovers the body of a young woman, the first victim of a serial killer. When the murderer strikes again, Lark has the inside track, but the guy she's falling for is one of the suspects.

"A great read. Once again, John DeDakis proves he knows how to write a gripping thriller. I loved it.”
~Jillian Harding, CNBC

A masterful adventure that rings true to life. DeDakis really understands how reporters work, women think – and how killers kill.
~Kitty Pilgrim, Author/Journalist

As a young, female journalist, I spent most of this novel wondering how John DeDakis got into my head. “Troubled Water” is sharp, suspenseful and – most importantly – utterly believable.
~Jenna Bourne
Reporter, WJAX, Jacksonville, Florida

DeDakis, himself a journalist, delivers a riveting account of the reporter's process. He writes with the authority of an insider who knows what he is talking about. “Troubled Water” is a tightly wrought thriller that will keep you turning pages as it races to its conclusion.
~Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Bullet in the Chamber book cover

Cover Illustration: Christine Ganas

Bullet Chamber Cover

Audio Book: Read by Suzanne Cerreta

Bullet in the Chamber is personal. It's based, in part, on the fatal heroin overdose of my youngest son Stephen, 22, in 2011.

This story begins on Lark's first day as a White House correspondent for the Associated Press. The executive mansion is attacked, the president is missing, the first lady's life is in danger, and the man Lark loves disappears. It's Lark's job to figure it all out in this deadline-a-minute thriller about drugs, drones, and journalism.

In 2017, Bullet in the Chamber won the following awards:

Reader VIews Reviewers Choice Award Forward INDIES Feathered Quill Book Award
1st Place - Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award - (Best Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Horror)
2nd Place (Silver Medal) - Foreward INDIES - (Thriller/Suspense)

Finalist - Foreward INDIES - (Mystery)
3rd Place - (Bronze Medal) - Feathered Quill Book Award - (Mystery/Thriller)

"Bullet in the Chamber” manages to capture all of the intensity, grit and breathlessness of covering the presidency in an age of nonstop news and fierce competition. Lark Chadwick stands out as a protagonist who is at once compelling and compulsively true to form. John DeDakis gets inside the head of a modern-day White House journalist who has no idea what's in store for her when she begins this rollercoaster of a ride.
~ Josh Lederman, Associated Press White House Reporter

BULLET IN THE CHAMBER is two stories — an intensely personal one wrapped inside a thriller that moves at high-speed. They collide at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. DeDakis combines the heart-stopping and heartbreaking in a story of drugs, drones, corruption and politics. Lark’s latest adventure is entertaining and harrowing. And always riveting.
~Henry Schuster, CBS News “60 Minutes” Producer

There are a lot of novels about White House correspondents. There are only a few by folks who have actually been there. Washington journalist John DeDakis writes about an AP correspondent on her first day on the job – when disaster strikes. What follows will keep you turning the pages.
~Susan Page
Washington Bureau Chief, USA TODAY
Past President, White House Correspondents' Association

Fake book cover

In the era of “fake news,” when facts are suspect and reporters are targets, popular First Lady Rose Gannon dies suddenly during an interview with White House Correspondent Lark Chadwick. Still reeling from the death of her photographer boyfriend, Lark is thrust into the midst of a media-bashing frenzy while covering a grieving president trying to defuse a looming nuclear war. Fake is a real-life look behind the scenes at the ethical struggles of a female journalist in a #MeToo world walking the line between personal feelings and dispassionate objectivity – trying to discern the difference between what’s real . . . and what’s fake.

“'Fake,' by John DeDakis, is a stunner of a mystery, the kind of book that hooks you at the first page, and then won't let go. DeDakis tells this story of betrayal, tragedy, and political posturing with an insider's view of Washington's underbelly that is so vivid and feels so real that he resets the bar for inside-the-Beltway thrillers.”

~John Gilstrap, Author of "Total Mayhem" and the Jonathan Grave thrillers series

"...a chilling ride..."
~Lynne Russell, Former CNN Anchor
Author, "Heels of Fortune"

"John DeDakis writes with the sensitivity that will give you the uncanny feeling that you and Lark are on a parallel journey. Enjoy the ride as 'Fake' builds to an intense crescendo."
~Adrienne Kraft, Clinical Social Worker (specializing in loss and trauma)

"I really loved this book. This is John DeDakis at his best as he shows how 'fake news' has become the tail that wags the dog - especially when it comes to sex. My God, what a world we live in! And DeDakis captures it perfectly. 'Fake' is a page-turner."
~Christine Talbott, Psychotherapist

Available September 1, 2019 - Pre-order now here: https://amzn.to/2HjDzE0

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