My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I just finished Fast Track last night, after receiving it at a writer’s conference where John DeDakis was the featured speaker. I’ve read some of the other reviews on Goodreads and have to say, I enjoyed it more than some others who have reviewed.
To be honest, I started out reading it as a writer – I was going to study the style, character development and so on, but I honestly got pulled into the story, so Kudos for that!
Going from a journalist background into fiction writing is a lot harder than one would think (I’m doing the same thing),so I may have a higher regard for DeDakis’ attempt with Fast Track; but overall, I thought he did a good job.
I enjoy when the author writes in a totally different character’s voice than they themselves are. We see women write male protagonists a lot more than what we have here – a mature man writing as a young woman, but I thought he was succesful in this. While anyone who was going through what Lark was experiencing would have experienced grief and pain, I think we get some of the emotion that is more consistent with a girl of her age and life thus far.
One of the reviews mentioned the fact that they could sometimes tell what was coming, and that may be so in some of the sub plots – Lark’s relationship with Lionel, Muriel, and even Father Dan – but the main plot, the mysteries of her parents death and the other innocent parties involved, well I didn’t see it coming, so the book was a good read in my opinion. The point of writing a story isn’t to create surprise after surprise after surprise for the reader…you have to have some sort of rhythm and part of that is including things that the reader can feel confident they get right away. That’s what makes those big moments of surprise special.
Characters could have been fleshed out more – especially Annie, who I wish we could have learned more about, but for a novel of this length, the story itself was well structured.
I enjoyed Fast Track and applaud DeDakis’ foray into fiction writing. Every book a writer creates isn’t going to be the one that sells a million copies, but a first novel is special to every writer, and can only serve to make the next one better.