Here’s Honest Jim’s review of Dick Belsky’s stellar mystery, YESTERDAY’S NEWS.
Dick Belsky delivers another fast-paced mystery in YESTERDAY’S NEWS, a book that features the author’s masterful storytelling skills and his penchant for snappy patter and a plot with more twists than a Tennessee moonshiner’s midnight run down a mountain road.
Flatlanders may well get whiplash, but the risk is worth taking to see where this wild ride winds up. Belsky’s a New Yorker and an ex-newsman and uses his knowledge of both the city and the print and television business to serve up a story that seems ripped from a screaming tabloid headline.
Television executive Clare Carlson was once a print reporter who made her bones covering the disappearance of 11-year-old Lucy Devlin, who went to school one day and disappeared, never to be found. It’s every parent’s nightmare and Carlson’s coverage led the pack, etching the anguished portrait of the girl’s parents and the frustration of cops watching a case grow stone cold, captivating hard-boiled New Yorkers and winning the Pulitzer Prize.
Fast forward 15 years. The girl’s mother, Anne, has a fresh lead — an anonymous e-mail that says a girl who looked a lot like Lucy was seen shortly after her disappearance at a rally of motorcycle gangs in New Hampshire, climbing on the back of a bike ridden by a guy named Elliott. Pretty thin stuff. Not unlike hundreds of other dead-end tips Anne Devlin had fielded in her endless search for her missing daughter.
Carlson knows this, but she made a promise to the mother — never let Lucy Devlin be forgotten. She steps out of her executive office and back in front of the camera to interview Anne Devlin, who drops a bombshell — she’s dying of lung cancer. In a heartbeat, yesterday’s news becomes today’s obsession for Carlson, resurrecting all her reporter’s instincts and the thrill of again stalking the hunter’s trail.
Belsky peppers the trail with memorable characters, including a motorcycle mama named Big Lou, the source of the e-mail who points Carlson toward trophy game — Elliott Grayson, a U.S. attorney running for the U.S. Senate. He’s the Elliott of that long-ago biker meet.
From there, the downhill run gets faster and the curves and switchbacks Belsky puts you through get sharper and scarier. Buckle up and take the ride. You won’t be disappointed.