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Sunday, September 25, 2022


4 stars out of 5

My own experience as a journalist prompted me to read the first book in this series, but I've kept on reading them just because they're so darned entertaining. This is the fourth, and after finishing it, I remain a devoted fan.

It's not so much that I identify with New York TV editor and hotshot journalist Clare Carlson; she says and does things far beyond my pay grade (too much of the former, in fact, made me lose a bit of respect for her in this story). And, this one has a little too much repetition. But overall, the plot and all the twists (some expected, others not) had me hanging on every page and not wanting to put it down.

As Clare is dealing with a cantankerous, ratings-hungry new boss, a beautiful and popular college student named Riley Hunt is murdered not far from the school. At first blush, it's thought to be a random attack. Led by her well-honed instincts, Clare isn't so sure - so she starts digging around and finds that Riley's perfect image may have a few flaws. Among them are a reported stalker, an unreported missing laptop and connections to a couple of well-connected young men and an escort service. Riley's mother's behavior, too, arouses Clare's Spidey senses; what, if anything, is she trying to hide?

When a local homeless veteran is charged with the murder and is too psychologically messed up to resist, Clare is even more sure there's more to Riley's story. Ferreting out the truth brings her in contact with some seedy, dangerous characters as well as her ex-husband, Homicide Detective Sam Markham. In between, a blind date with a Princeton professor leads to another, and another, and thoughts of a more permanent relationship (sometimes, when there's a will, there's a way). 

But as Clare ignores warnings to back off, the situation heats up; one murder puts an untimely end to what might have been an enlightening interview, and other murders follow. There's plenty of action right up to the end both on the case and in the studio, keeping me glued to the story. Thanks once again to the publisher, via NetGalley, for the opportunity to read and review a pre-release copy. Another one well done!

It's News to Me by R.G. Belsky (Oceanview Publishing, October 2022); 349 pp.

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