FAKE is John DeDakis’s newest entry in his Lark Chadwick thriller series with a look inside the Beltway that will seem all too believeable.

Auntie M liked Lark as a character, and readers will, too: feisty and smart, she’s nevertheless aware of her own shortcomings and foibles, and still in the midst of deciding what she wants to be when she grows up.

Reeling from a series of losses that would decimate a lesser woman, Lark is currently working as a White House correspondent when First Lady Rose Gannon agrees to a set of interviews that will form the basis for a biography Lark plans to write.

Rose has already told Lark off the record of her pancreatic cancer, with Lark agreeing to hold that news for now. Then during one of her interviews, Rose collapses and dies suddennly, leaving the new President and his two young children dealing with their grief just as a serious international issue springs to light and he must try to avert a nuclear war.

Soon Lark has an interview with a fascinating job offer dangled in front of her with another network owned by a woman she’s considered an idol. When that idol turns out to have clay feet, the aftermath will affect Lark in ways she could never imagine, with tendrils affecting everyone she cares for. Suddenly Lark finds herself on the wrong side of a thirsty media frenzy.

Who’s behind it all and the lengths will they go to to secure the prize they want form the mystery part of this gripping ride.

This is a clear-eyed look at the supposed line journalists walk every day, juggling their personal feelings with fast-breaking news while trying to figure out the truth from the fake news we all hear about these days. Fast-pacing means the reader is in for one quick ride, with surprising results.

DeDakis has a good handle on writing emotions, too, which allows the reader to connect with all of the main characters here. Calling on his own experience as a former White House correspondant and Senior Copy Editor for CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer,” DeDakis brings a view of reality mixed with tidbits of behind-the-scenes information to the reader that make this mystery a standout.