Terry Mathers feels like a failure. His small-town weekly, The Webster Chronicle, is facing bankruptcy; he has separated from his wife; and his journalist father, Maury, is both the king of prime time and a magnet for younger women. Now in midlife, Terry's fed up with being disappointed---and disappointing.
But then Webster is shocked by an accusation of child abuse at the local, and highly esteemed, preschool. As the community grapples with rapidly escalating allegations, Terry seizes his chance to scoop the national media. His articles fan the flames of the growing crisis, and as the major news organizations descend, he struggles to maintain his professional judgment and ethics.
The Washington Post called Daniel Akst's first novel, St. Burl's Obituary, an "ingenious and thought-provoking . . . map of the contemporary world." With The Webster Chronicle, Akst gives readers another sharp and perceptive look at modern America, using as his backdrop a dark period in our country's early history. He deftly describes a community helpless in the face of mass hysteria and mass media, and guided by hapless, awkward Terry Mathers, who believes he's on a mission to save the children until he realizes, too late, that he's really only trying to save himself.
A molestation incident in the day-care facility of a small town sends the community spinning out of control in Akst's complex, thought-provoking follow-up to his raucous, over-the-top debut.
Akst vividly illustrates the rocky road from ethical journalism to tabloid sensationalism by showing how isolated accusations can be fed and regurgitated as fact to a hungry and otherwise bored public.
Library Journal - Karen Traynor
Akst's second novel promises to garner the same respect as his first, St. Burl's Obituary....Akst, a columnist for the Sunday New York Times, uses bold and descriptive language to tell a story that takes unexpected twists and turns. Even in small towns, people are perhaps not what they seem.
When the justice system fails her daughter, one courageous mother takes matters into her own hands. In a wrenching race against time, the safety of one child becomes entangled in the theatrics of Family Court, bottled-up family dynamics, media frenzy, and the pressure of the political machine.
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