Dead Air

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Peter Dees is a television correspondent for an international organization that bears a striking resemblance to CNN. Dees is also a mission-oriented individual who does not suffer fools gladly. Not surprisingly, Dees’ career with the network is replete with repeated acts of insubordination that keep him on the short list for termination. All in all, Dees is the perfect person to pursue the tangled threads that indicate an American firm is selling chemical and biological weapons to Iraq.

A mission which is fraught with lethal implications for Dees and anyone who is privy to what he discovers. Each bit of information is purchased with acts of violence and death. Dees is wont to persevere, however, and it all comes together outside Kuwait City alongside what CNN dubbed the Highway of Death. Dees finally puts all the pieces together and endures the last act of betrayal in a drama that began in the slums of Port-Au-Prince.

Author Charles Jaco’s career as an award-wining correspondent spans over a decade of violence. In pursuit of his calling Jaco was stabbed, beaten, detained, and mobbed. He also endured multiple airplane and helicopter crashes. In August, 1990, he was one of the first American journalists to cover a story in Baghdad and soon after was ordered out of the country. DEAD AIR reflects the circumstances of Jaco’s career. The novel is replete with those details which indicate the author writes from personal experience. Unfortunately, background and a pleasant on-camera personality do not necessarily result in a work that blazes across the literary firmament.

Charles Jaco is a good journeyman reporter, but as an author he does not rise far above that level. Nevertheless, DEAD AIR is not a waste of time, inasmuch as fiction frequently falls short of truth.