Thursday, May 6, 2021

ARC Review: The Last Scoop by R. G. Belsky

The Last Scoop

R. G. Belsky
Series: Clare Carlson Mystery (Book 3)
Publication: Oceanview Publishing; None edition (May 5, 2020)

Description: The scariest kind of serial killer—one you don’t know exists

Martin Barlow was Clare Carlson's first newspaper editor, a beloved mentor who inspired her career as a journalist. But, since retiring from his newspaper job, he had become a kind of pathetic figure—railing on about conspiracies, cover-ups, and other imaginary stories he was still working on. Clare had been too busy with her own career to pay much attention to him.

When Martin Barlow is killed on the street one night during an apparent mugging attempt gone bad, it seems like he was just an old man whose time had come.

But Clare—initially out of a sense of guilt for ignoring her old friend and then because of her own journalistic instincts—begins looking into his last story idea. As she digs deeper and deeper into his secret files, she uncovers shocking evidence of a serial killer worse than Son of Sam, Ted Bundy, or any of the other infamous names in history.

This really is the biggest story of Martin Barlow's career—and Clare's, too—as she uncovers the path leading to the decades-long killer of at least twenty young women. All is not as it seems during Clare's relentless search for this serial killer. Is she setting herself up to be his next victim?

Clare Carlson is perfect for fans of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone and Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski

My Thoughts: Clare Carlson feels guilty when her old mentor Marty Barlow is murdered. He wanted them to get together but she was always too busy. She has a full-time job as the news director for television Channel 10. He was retired but still doing some investigations. He said he had the story of a lifetime; she still couldn't find the time.

After he dies, Clare begins to look into what Marty was investigating. First off, she finds he was looking at some buildings in New York City that have a number of problems. She finds that there is mob involvement and that the Manhattan Attorney General might be letting things go on. After all, Terri Hartwell is taking the political world by storm and is likely the next mayor of NYC. 

But there's more. As she looks through Marty's computer files, she discovers a hidden file which seems to indicate that there is a secret serial killer who has been killing women for more than thirty years. It all began with a murder of a 17-year-old girl in a small town in Indiana. 

Clare brings Marty's file to one of her ex-lovers named Scott Manning who now works for the FBI. She's still in love with him but he has gone back to his wife and is trying to rebuild their relationship. Clare is noteworthy for her difficulty with relationships. After all, she has been married and divorced three times and has any number of other short term relationships in her past. 

Besides her current investigations into Marty's investigations, Clare is also dealing with a media consultant who wants to make Channel 10 a better news organization and also with the on-again-off-again romance of the two main evening news presenters. 

To add even more drama, Clare is meeting with the daughter she gave away for adoption shortly after her birth when Clare was a college freshman. Linda Nesbit is now 27 with a husband and daughter of her own. As a child, she was kidnapped and Clare's coverage of that case earned her a Pulitzer. She followed the case again when the child, now known as Linda, was found again. She keeps meeting with Linda under the guise of doing a follow-up article. She hasn't confessed that she is actually Linda's birth mother. 

The story is broken into sections which each deal with a part of this whole story. It is told from Clare's first person point-of-view. I enjoyed solving the mystery along with Clare and liked Clare as a character. I enjoyed seeing behind the scenes at news gathering organizations and seeing the changes that the internet and social media has made to the business. 

I recommend this story and the first two in the series to fans of fast-paced stories. 

Favorite Quote:
Marty used to say no story ever works out exactly the way you expect. "You pull on a thread at the beginning, and you see where it takes you," he told me once back when I was a young reporter at that newspaper in New Jersey. "Sometimes it takes you places you don't want to go," Marty said. "But that's what being a journalist us all about. Following the facts, no matter what. And then you report the story, you report the facts, whatever they turn out to be. That's the job of a journalist."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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