Thursday, May 2, 2019

ARC Review: Below the Fold by R. G. Belsky

Below the Fold
Author: R. G. Belsky
Series: Clare Carlson Mystery (Book 2)
Publication: Oceanview Publishing (May 7, 2019)

Description: When the murder of a “nobody” triggers an avalanche.

Every human life is supposed to be important. Everyone should matter. But that’s not the case in the cutthroat TV news-rating world where Clare Carlson works. Sex, money, and power sell. Only murder victims of the right social strata are considered worth covering. Not the murder of a “nobody.”

So, when the battered body of a homeless woman named Dora Gayle is found on the streets of New York City, her murder barely gets a mention in the media. But Clare―a TV news director who still has a reporter’s instincts―decides to dig deeper into the seemingly meaningless death. She uncovers mysterious links between Gayle and a number of wealthy and influential figures. There is a prominent female defense attorney; a scandal-ridden ex-congressman; a decorated NYPD detective; and―most shocking of all―a wealthy media mogul who owns the TV station where Clare works. Soon there are more murders, more victims, more questions. As the bodies pile up, Clare realizes that her job, her career, and maybe even her life are at stake as she chases after her biggest story ever.

My Thoughts: Clare Carlson is a TV News Director. She was a Pulitzer Award winning journalist before she got her job. One day, when planning the evening news, it was decided to pay some attention to the death of a homeless woman who was murdered by an ATM machine. Usually, that kind of story is firmly "below the fold" but Clare and her crew decide to spotlight it. Dora Gayle got her fifteen minutes of fame and then everyone thought they'd move on to the next new flashy story.

The next new flashy story was the brutal death of Grace Mancuso. She worked for an investment fund and had made a deal to give evidence about shady happenings at the fund. She also had an active love life. These are the sorts of things that light up the ratings on TV news. But there was an unexpected connection to Dora Gayle's death. A list of names was found by Mancuso's body and Dora Gayle's was one of them. Also listed were politician Bill Atwood who was forced to resign because of numerous sex scandals, Emily Lehrman who is a high profile lawyer who tends to work for the mob, Scott Manning who is a police officer under investigation for the death of a suspect while being interrogated, and Brendan Kaiser who is the media mogul who happens to own the TV station where Clare works.

Beyond the big question of who killed Grace Mancuso is the equally large question of what the five people on the list had in common. Kaiser wants to know and he instructs Clare and her team to investigate.

The story was fast-paced and frustrating at the same time as Clare and her team followed up leads, ran into dead ends, and uncovered new leads all while trying to get TV-ready stories prepared to keep the ratings up at the TV station.

I liked Clare who had issues of her own. Falling for a married police detective who is also a subject of her investigation wasn't very smart but Clare did it anyway. She has good instincts for a story but not necessarily in her personal life as demonstrated by her three ex-husbands. She is also still haunted by an event in her past which caused her to compromise her integrity as a journalist.

Favorite Quote:
"My God, you've got quite a mouth on you, don't you, Carlson?"

"Thanks, a lot of people have told me that."

"It wasn't a compliment."

"Yeah, they've told me that too."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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