Whiplash Surprise

Whenever you read one of R.G. Belsky’s Clare Carlson mysteries, it’s best to keep a neck brace handy. You’re gonna need it because Belsky’s novels have more twists and turns than a Coney Island roller coaster.

Expect the whiplash of surprise with his latest Carlson novel, It’s News to Me. Count on the wise-cracking patter of Carlson, the big-time New York television producer who refuses to stay behind a desk when a big story breaks and puts herself in harm’s way to chase down the latest lead — often before the cops get there, including one of her ex-husbands, Sam.

While her private life is a train wreck, Carlson’s fearless and relentless in the pursuit of this latest big story, the murder of college student Riley Hunt, blonde, blue-eyed, athletic and ambitious, in a seemingly random attack just a few blocks away from her dorm room at the fictitious Easton College.

The senseless killing has all the juicy elements of a Big Apple murder — a beautiful young white woman, an All-American girl from Ohio with a wealthy background, savagely beaten to death on the mean streets of New York City.

Well after midnight. By person or persons unknown, which left it to everybody’s imagination to fill in the blank. And jack up the fear factor.

Sensational and ghoulish stuff, guaranteed to inflate the ratings for Carlson’s station. Just as long as she scores scoops ahead of the pack and stays out in front. Which Carlson manages to do until the cops arrest a troubled veteran who the victim met and befriended at a counseling center where she volunteered.

Open and shut case, right? End of the adrenalin rush for Carlson, right? Wrong. All along, Carlson thought the random attacker angle far too pat. Something weird about the victim’s mother. Too many bad guys lurking in the shadows. Too many unanswered questions.

And when the mother of the accused vet asks Carlson to interview her son, she agrees and winds up doubting his guilt. Carlson always goes with her gut. And trouble is always ready and waiting, from mob bosses and phantom drug dealers to bent cops and a new boss straight from ratings-over-all hell.

Which reminds the reader that Carlson is a journalist, a print reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize before jumping to TV. Much like the author himself, who gives the reader an inside glimpse of the sausage-making that is TV news.

That’s a tasty and authentic side treat. The main meal is Carlson bouncing like a pinball through every twist and turn, wisecracking and refusing to back down to anybody. She’s unsinkable and fun to watch and root for in yet another Belsky mystery masterpiece.

To grab a copy, go to: https://www.amazon.com/News-Clare-Carlson-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B0B1VPDNTL/

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