Just when you thought there was nothing fun left to read, detective and vigilante Jack Vane returns in what may be his most surprising adventure yet. Author Jeffrey Friedberg is known for his social commentary in his novels, depicted through humor and hard-hitting truths about what may at times be considered the stupidity, or simply, the ridiculousness of the American people as they allow their country to be taken over by politicians with agendas that don’t support the nation’s founding principles. But in Kill the Media, perhaps Friedberg has gone too far....Wait! No way—going a tad too far is what I love about Friedberg’s writing.
In past novels, Jack Vane was accused of killing members of the media. This time, a new killer, building on past incidents, is out to frame Jack Vane as a killer. The Media-Killer first shows up as an old man with a walker who sets off a bomb at a political event at the New Mexico Statehouse — an awards dinner to honor “the notorious TV personality Bill Mars, a small, pale, no longer funny man who had once been entertaining, but was now merely bitter and envious.”
Following the explosion, the killer’s manifesto is discovered, demanding “complete media honesty in reporting or more will die.” The killer was obviously disguised since, not long after, he is seen skydiving to kill a left-wing female comedian. Because some law enforcement officials think only Jack Vane would have the skills and know-how to commit such crimes, Jack must clear his name and learn the killer’s identity before the Media-Killer strikes again.
Set against the backdrop of a political election in which a white, Jewish left-wing president is seeking reelection against a black, female, right-wing Muslim candidate, Kill the Media holds back no punches. Friedberg is known for his sharp, tight prose-style, mixed with a dose of sarcastic, political humor. Here is a short example from the political awards dinner scene, as seen through the eyes of the Media-Killer, who is about to set off his explosive walker: