Below The Fold
by R.G. Belsky
on Tour May 1-31, 2019
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.
I am always a bit skeptical when I start reading the second book in a series, when the first book, in this case, YESTERDAY’S NEWS, blew me away. Did BELOW THE FOLD stand up to the comparison?
Clare Carlson, news executive at Channel 10 news and former Pulitzer Prize winner for a missing child that she covered when she was a journalist, decides that the murder of a homeless woman, Dora Gayle, would be an item on the evening news, even though it fell below the fold. What she didn’t see coming, was that this story would become a major news story involving a former Congressman, a defense attorney, a stockbroker, an NYPD homicide detective, and a multimedia mogul, who is also her boss.
The Dora Gayle case fell “below the fold” which does not make it important enough to make the top news story, but Clare had a gut feeling about it. She was right because bodies are starting to pile up since the broadcast. A list of names was left at the scene of the second murder. but what is the connection between these 4 people to the homeless woman? Clare lives and breathes news’ stories, always on the hunt for the BIG story, which this one is becoming, and she doesn’t let up, even when it has come to an end. Or has it?
Clare Carlson takes the reader through a maze of leads and tips, with some being significant parts of the puzzle and others a dead end. Or is it really a dead end?
An exciting narrative with lifelike characters that was hard to put down! A heart pounding read with so many moving parts! A frantic story that will have you turning the pages as fast as you can!
Did this book let me down? Absolutely NOT!! And since there were hints about the previous case that was in YESTERDAY’S NEWS, I can’t wait to see what and where Clare Carlson will take us on her next big story!!!!
KUDOS Mr. Belsky!!! I’m hooked!!!
Published by: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: May 2019
Number of Pages: 357
Series: Clare Carlson #2
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
THE RULES ACCORDING TO CLARE
Every human life is supposed to be important, everyone should matter. That’s what we all tell ourselves, and it’s a helluva noble concept. But it’s not true. Not in the real world. And certainly not in the world of TV news where I work.
Especially when it comes to murder.
Murder is a numbers game for me. It operates on what is sometimes cynically known in the media as the Blonde White Female Syndrome. My goal is to find a murder with a sexy young woman victim to put on the air. Sex sells. Sex, money, and power. That translates into big ratings numbers, which translates into more advertising dollars. These are the only murder stories really worth doing.
The amazing thing to me is not that there is so much news coverage of these types of stories. It’s that there are people who actually question whether they should be big news stories. These critics dredge up the age-old argument about why some murders get so much more play in the media than all the other murders that happen every day.
I don’t understand these people.
Because the cold, hard truth—and everyone knows this, whether they want to admit it or not—is that not everybody is equal when it comes to murder.
Not in life.
And certainly not in death.
It reminds me of the ongoing debate that happens every time Sirhan Sirhan—the man who killed Robert F. Kennedy—comes up for a parole hearing. There are those who point out that he’s already served fifty years in jail. They argue that many other killers have served far less time before being paroled. Sirhan Sirhan should be treated equally, they say, because the life of Robert F. Kennedy is no more or less important than the life of any other crime victim. Me, I think Sirhan Sirhan should be kept caged up
in a four-foot by six-foot cell as long as he lives—which hopefully will be to a hundred so he can suffer every minute of it. For God’s sakes, people, he killed Robert—freakin’—Kennedy!
And so, to those who think that we in the media make too big a deal out of some of these high-profile murder stories, I say that’s completely and utterly ridiculous. I reject that argument completely. I won’t even discuss it.
Now let me tell you something else.
Everything I just said there is a lie.
The truth is there really is no magic formula for murder in the TV news business. No simple way to know from the beginning if a murder story is worth covering or not. No easy answer to the question of how much a human life is worth—or what the impact will be of that person’s death by a violent murder.
When I started out working at a newspaper years ago, I sat next to a veteran police reporter on the overnight shift. There was an old-fashioned wire machine that would print out police slips of murders that happened during the night. Most of them involved down-market victims in bad neighborhoods whose deaths clearly would never make the paper.
But he would dutifully call the police on each one and ask questions like: “Tell me about the body of that kid you found in the Harlem pool room—was he a MENSA candidate or what?” Or, “The woman you found dead in the alley behind the housing project—any chance she might be Julia Roberts or a member of the British Royal Family?”
I asked him once why he even bothered to make the calls since none of these murders seemed ever worth writing about in the paper.
“Hey, you never know,” he said.
It was good advice back then, and it still is today. I try to teach it to all my reporters in the TV newsroom that I run now. Check every murder out. Never assume anything about a murder story. Follow the facts and the evidence on every murder—on every crime story—because you can never be certain where that trail might take you.
Okay, I don’t always follow my own advice in the fast-paced, ratings-obsessed world of TV news where I make my living.
And usually it does turn out to be just a waste of time.
But every once in a while, well . . .
Hey, you never know.
Excerpt from Below The Fold by R.G. Belsky. Copyright © 2019 by R.G. Belsky. Reproduced with permission from R.G. Belsky. All rights reserved.
R.G. Belsky is an author of crime fiction and a journalist in New York City. His newest mystery , YESTERDAY’S NEWS, was published in May 2018 by Oceanview. It is the first in a series featuring Clare Carlson, the news director for a New York City TV station. A second Clare Carlson book, BELOW THE FOLD, will be out in May 2019. Belsky’s last book, BLONDE ICE, was published by Atria in October 2016. It is the third in a series of books from Atria about Gil Malloy, a hard-driving newspaper reporter with a penchant for breaking big stories on the front page of the New York Daily News. The first book in the Gil Malloy series – THE KENNEDY CONNECTION – was published in 2014 and SHOOTING FOR THE STARS came out in 2015. Belsky himself is a former managing editor at the Daily News and writes about the media from an extensive background in newspapers, magazines and TV/digital news. At the Daily News, he also held the titles of metropolitan editor and deputy national editor. Before that, he was metropolitan editor of the New York Post and news editor at Star magazine. Belsky was most recently the managing editor for news at NBCNews.com. His previous suspense novels include PLAYING DEAD and LOVERBOY. BLONDE ICE was nominated as a finalist for the David Award at Deadly Ink and also for the Silver Falchion at Killer Nashville in 2017. He was the Claymore Award winner at Killer Nashville 2016 and also a Silver Falchion Finalist in both the mystery and thriller categories.
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