“A school shooting and groundswell of demand to arm teachers challenges a young reporter for the Shady Park Ledger to find out and report what really happened. Everyone is sure the shooter was a terrorist. A woman who wears a hejab is arrested, but Anthony believes she's not guilty and works to find out who is. Luckily he has the help of the beautiful Pari, who encourages him to keep reporting the facts they find despite the publisher's threats to fire both of them.”
“Rea Keech has lived in Severna Park, Maryland, in the same house since 1980. He enjoys sailing on the Severn River and writing. His previous novel, First World Problems, is the beginning of a series set in Shady Park.”
This is satire and, like satire should, takes aim at reality by presenting it as a slightly over the top story. In this instance the targets of that satire are people who stake out various political positions as well as news media (specifically local news media). Done right satire will make you laugh and also make you think, possibly learning something in the process, maybe viewing some things differently. (Maybe not.)
Satire is tough. Hitting the ideal sweet spot with a story means coming up with something that the reader can almost believe, but not quite. Too far out there and it’s tough for the reader to play along. But not far enough and it feels like it is real (or easily could be). Recent political happening have made hitting that always moving spot more difficult. (Maybe you haven’t read anything from The Onion or The Borowitz Report lately that you believed was true, but I sure have.)
Shady Park Panic wavered from the sweet spot a bit, but not very often or by very much. It was an enjoyable read that made me laugh, got me riled up a time or two, and got me thinking more than once. All in all, a solid effort in my book.
This is book 2 of a series. I hadn’t read book 1 and didn’t feel that this was an issue in following this story.
No significant issues.
Rating: **** Four Stars
Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 80-85,000 words