A school shooting and groundswell of demand to arm teachers moves the satire of suburban America into the Trump era in Shady Park Panic, Book 2 of the Shady Park Chronicles Series.
Anthony, the reporter from Book 1, First World Problems, now becomes the focus. When he submits his report that it was unarmed teachers who subdued the assailant while two parents who had claimed to be armed for personal protection fled the scene, his publisher deletes those details. It's not what the public wants to read, and, besides, as Anthony finds out, the Ledger publisher is lending his support to a pro-gun, anti-immigrant politician in return for a favor.
The assailant had aimed his gun at a parent in a hejab. But a mystery develops when it is discovered that, although a teacher was wounded, it was not the assailant's gun that fired the shot. Bea, an evangelistic School Board member, falsely claims she saw the woman in the hejab fire the shot, and it's up to Anthony to prove the woman's innocence and find out who actually shot the teacher.
The publisher's daughter leaves the paper--and Anthony--to take up with a TV news anchor and starts broadcasting false reports that stir up fear of terrorism. Anthony falls in love with her replacement, the beautiful Pari, who encourages him to keep reporting the truth despite the publisher's threats to fire both of them. Together they reveal how Bea and her cronies have schemed to cash in on the fear of terrorism they helped to spread.
I love literary fiction and humor. Lately I've been reading books set in Iran and other countries outside of the U.S. I taught English and World Literature at a community college for many years. My doctorate is in Comparative Literature.
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.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **
Anthony is a local newspaper reporter. He is on a case where a local teacher is shot in school, while a few unarmed teachers tackle the shooter. But things are not clear cut. Bea an Evangelical school board member insists that the shooter was a woman wearing a Hijab. This in turn starts a panic that this was a terrorist attack. But Anthony knows she didn't do it and is determined to unveil the truth at any cost.
The story moves at a fast pace with a true to life (disturbing) story. In today's society something like this can, and does happen across the Country and abroad. With vivid detail, and engrossing dialog, I felt as if I were part of the story. I highly recommend Shady Park Panic and plan to read the other two books by Rea Keech.
Stereotyping people because of race nationality color or gender preface is not something foreign to the public. Incidents of racial violence or attacks are broadcasted throughout the world. The media at times sensationalizes it and stirs up the public creating unnecessary hype and fear. How many times have you walked the streets of Manhattan and realized that so many people of so many countries make up the workforce and communities we live in? Are you afraid? What about our schools should we change the books and the curriculum and make it more religious or Christian? The focus of the novel Shady Park Panic revolves around a Board of Education meeting dealing with curriculum changes and hoping to the support of those at this closed meeting. But, somehow it turned ugly and violent and a teacher was shot, a Muslim woman arrested another young man accused of pulling the trigger and chaos ensued.
Anthony Mansfield is a reporter with the Shady Park Ledger who attended this meeting and got the events on paper and on his phone. Hoping that his story would hit the next edition he called the editor only to tell by the publisher it was not going in. At the meeting tensions rose and one woman who is Muslim spoke out and then a shot was fired. The head of the riverside project has a stake in this issue as publishing the books in question connects them. But, when Beatrice Doggit the newest member of the Board of Education gets up and county executive MAUREEN is running for re-election is present, they thought things would go their way but someone decided differently. Shahnaz gets up to speak and talk about immigration and history books and how what is written confused her son, the statement made next ignited and fueled the events that followed. The publisher does not want any negative stories about riverside and their dealings since they support the paper. Anthony at this point is dating his overbearing and mindless daughter, Victoria who seems to work on stories when it suits her. Things get violent and dangerous when the supported shooter is arrested along with the Muslim woman and threats are made all around.
Victoria is manipulative and uses Anthony for her own purposes until she finds someone else thinking he can boost her career but hidden beneath John Rowland is a snake in handsome armor. Events spiral out of control as Anthony’s informant learns information about the sewer line deal to replace septic tanks and Esmeralda the maid gets attacked by Rowland and fired only to find herself work for Victoria’s family. Paris is now learning more about the recently adopted all-right textbooks for the county schools and published by Bea and the pastor’s RES-RECT, which stands to gain monetarily from their adoption. The pastor claims that Esmeralda gave Pari that information for her Searchlight Blog. Esmeralda does not know what a blog is.
Victoria is vindictive when she learns the truth about John and then replacing her on the news she goes with information that is false causing the police to go after Shahnaz and her family. Things gets worse when hen Beatrice makes up a lie about Anthony and the County executive and his running mate for house delegate are win the election. What’s worse is the sewer deal and it looks like his boss is in on it. . Lies, fear, betrayals, racism, hate, vengeance and revenge take center stage. Bea accuses Anthony of something and charges might be brought as Shahnaz is arrested and an interesting point is made. With the story going into the Shady Ledger and the blog about the textbooks causing some furor, Anthony is hoping Pari will return soon but there is much more discord to come. Author Rea Keech brings to Light more issues is hate, injustice, freedom to teach children without religious constraints and the issue of insisting teachers be armed. Victoria is relentless and when she realizes that she is no longer reporting on the frontlines and is replaced by someone else, she goes back to thinking that she will now have Anthony, but he has other ideas and a truth behind a story comes to light. Will Pop allow Pari to publish the article on the textbooks and will she be allowed to reveal who really owns Riverside Paradise and the publishing company and what about the ethics code? The end result is that those involved in the Riverside Paradise and in the book publishing areas will stop at nothing including bribery and blackmail to take away the properties they want in order to build what they feel will yield them profits and destroying anyone or anything in their path is their goal. When Anthony is accused of raping Bea and is set up the end result is members of this group offer him a bribe in order to have the supposed charges dropped with the police and high ranking officials in their back pockets they did not even wait for the sewer project’s approval before forging ahead. When Emma relates something to Anthony that Esmeralda found things get explosive, lives might be in danger and an untold betrayal comes forth. Just how powerful are politicians that they can push things through, skirt the law and regulations and not be held accountable as these issues are brought to light in this novel by the author. The final revelations will surprise readers and just how high is the corruption and why won’t Anthony’s connection in the police department follow through on an important lead? Some think they are above the law and the real shooter is revealed but is this person going to pay the price for placing other lives in danger? What about the gun laws and the curriculum? Who survives and who will find themselves out? The ending reveals who shot the teacher and the end result of what happens to Riverside Paradise and the legislation to pass having teachers armed. This novel brings many controversial issues to light as many cities and states allow citizens to carry weapons whether concealed or not, even the Secretary of Education wants teachers to be armed, just how safe is that? What happens when guns get into the wrong hands? The issue of calling someone a terrorist or bullying a student in school because of where he comes from is wrong in some eyes and right in others. Author Rea Keech gives readers much to think about as the ending lets the reader know there is much more to come for Anthony, Pari and the cast at Shady Ledger. Who will remain standing at the end when the mystery of the Shady Park Panic is solved? Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine/MJ network
Another great book by one of my favorite authors. This one has a minor character from First World Problems, Anthony the reporter, as the main character. He uncovers a series of white-collar crimes behind the scenes.
I did not read the first book in this series but that was not necessary to understand the plot of this book. Anthony is a local reporter covering a variety of events. One night at a school board meeting there is a man with a gun, a person shot and lots of stories behind that event. I enjoyed the layout of the book where each chapter starts with an insightful quote from other sources that are applicable to the chapter, thereby introducing the reader to other works. I also loved the discussion of topics facing our country today from fake v. real news, the role of facts in creating our positions on matters, the separation of church and state, what happens when fear overtakes people leading to bias and violence against those who are different, etc. Very interesting book.
I received this book from Library Thing member giveaway. All opinions are my own. 🌟🌟🌟 Shady Park Panic by Rea Keech. In a community full of gun advocates reporter Anthony fights to report the real news while the police, tv news, and politicians only report what supports their agenda. A staged school board shooting leads to racially motivated crimes that the news wants to spin into getting the right person voted in office. While the premise of the book is exceptional I feel like it loses something somewhere. It doesn't feel like the intrigue to find out what happens next is there. This is book 2 of The Shady Park Chronicles by Rea Keech. Review also posted on Instagram @borenbooks, Library Thing, Go Read, Goodreads/StacieBoren, Amazon, Twitter @jason_stacie and my blog at readsbystacie.com
I enjoyed the author's calm, quiet writing style. The problems of our great nation are on display in Anthony's normally quiet little town: guns, terrorists, greed, political fraud, fake news. But honesty, morals and love prevail, along with a lot of good, investigative reporting on a small town paper. I'll look for more of his works. Proud to say he's a fellow Loyola University Maryland grad.
Book #2 This book starts off with a school shooting and a petition to arm teachers with guns. This tells the story of Anthony and Pari. Bea is trying to pin the shooting on Shanhaz whom she calls a "Muslim terrorist", just because she wears a hijab. Bea is behind trying to change the school's curriculum to a Christian based curriculum. Gun control issues are the theme of this book.
I received this book from the author. Thank you so much Rea!!!