She's Sally Naturale, America's deliciously loathsome doyenne of good taste and wholesome living... and everybody wants to kill her. He's Giovanni "Jackie Disaster" De Sesto, former South Jersey welterweight boxing champ, ex-flack for the Atlantic City Police Department, and founder of Allegation Sciences, a crisis management firm.
Hired by Sally after a media-hungry South Jersey woman accuses her of peddling genetically engineered soy milk that the woman says caused her miscarriage, Jackie doesn't buy the accuser's story. However, he also thinks his crunchier-than-thou client is selling more than funky milk, and his suspicions are confirmed when assassins from the Jersey Pine Barrens try to kill him one night as he sleeps. So how does a spin doctor make a scandalous client look good? Sometimes, the answer is to make her critics look really bad, and that takes a special kind of image guru. Besides, what kind of wuss can't handle a little fraud?
As Martha Stewart emerges fresh from the clink, blue chip corporations collapse from deceit, and politicians bob and weave though minefields of scandal, they've all got one thing in common: They want a guy like Jackie Disaster to make their problems go away, any way he can.
In a fresh take on the mystery genre, the treacherous and comic "inside game" of damage control in the era of media witch hunts is the subject of Eric Dezenhall's new novel, Jackie Disaster. For this tale of schadenfreude at its nastiest, set in the author's native South Jersey, Dezenhall draws on his own experience as one of the country's top media and damage control experts, as well as his boyhood growing up among the rogues and racketeers who populated Atlantic City's infamous boardwalk.
As Sally Naturale battles media-hungry trial lawyers, cyber-rumors, and protests of "baby killer," her stock tanks. Claiming that despite the rumors she's as wholesome as the milk she endorses, she hires Jackie to vindicate her. Although he doubts the truth of both the accuser and his own client, he nevertheless embarks on a Machiavellian damage control campaign, conducting a team of Jersey Shore con artists ("The Imps"), rogue cops, stock manipulators, avaricious clergymen, ratings-obsessed reporters and Sopranos wannabes (Jackie calls them "Falsettos") to clear Sally's good name and catch the folks who are trying to drag him down with her. As Jackie puts it, he spends his life in pursuit of "a lower truth."
During the stressful campaign, forty-year-old Jackie has to balance his profession with a cantankerous aging father who wields guilt like a revolver, a strong-willed girlfriend (the Ivy League-educated daughter of the local crime boss), and his deeply adored ten-year-old niece whom he raised from birth after her parents died.
In Jackie Disaster, Eric Dezenhall takes readers on a nail-biting tour of modern day damage control, providing a clear-eyed, behind-the-headlines view of what caught-in-the-headlights celebrities deal with on a daily basis. One of its leading practitioners, Dezenhall examines hot-button issues including the role of reality television programming, the Internet and spread of disinformation, the role of consumer illusion in the popular culture, and the less-than-holy motives of those who would justify attacks on celebrities in moral terms.
Suspenseful, insightful and hilariously funny, Jackie Disaster is a spin-til-you're-dizzy dance through the dark alleys of media manipulation and, of course, the "star" of the novel, the author's beloved South Jersey.