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Thursday 30 May 2019

✍ Below the Fold: Clare Carlson Mysteries [2] - R. G. Belsky

Genre: Mystery
Published by Oceanview Publishing
Number of pages: 356
My rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆  I liked it a lot  
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Below the Fold
|| Synopsis || Review || Teaser: KCR Preview || The Series || Author Guest Post || About the Author ||

"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."

"Below the Fold" is the latest release by author Dick (R.G.) Belsky, a newsroom veteran and crime writer, and the second book in his Clare Carlson Mysteries series which is set in the fast-paced and cut-throat TV News industry.

Just like the first instalment, "Yesterday's News", "Below the Fold" is character driven.  The first person narrative gives us a retrospective view of events through the eyes of its protagonist, Clare Carlson, taking us through the painstaking and twisting process of investigative journalism and the demands of live news broadcasts, with great gritty insights into both. 

Clare is also an interesting character with compromising secrets and many flaws, which are revealed and explored alongside her professional endeavours throughout the series.  For this reason, although "Below the Fold" can be read as a stand-alone mystery novel, I would strongly recommend reading "Yesterday's News" first as, in order to progress Clare's personal story, this new book contains many  spoilers which will affect your enjoyment of the first - and that would be a real shame as "Yesterday's News" was an edge-of-your-seat, take-your-breath-away page turner. 

Interestingly, "Yesterday's News" was originally intended as a stand-alone novel, however, the publishers wanted more Clare and, thankfully Mr Belsky had more to give; without a doubt the setting does allow for a long and exciting series.  Clare is the kind of journalist who does not go for the easy story, she likes to dig deep and challenge the status-quo, which also prompts the reader to regularly question the morality and values of our current society.

Generally the writing is so good that you completely forget about it and just become immersed in the story, which, although complex, is clear and easy to follow.  In our interview with Mr Belsky last year he told us that he tries "to write the same kind of mystery novel that I like to read myself.  That means a good story; taut, fast-paced writing; and - most of all - an interesting lead character."  He has certainly achieved his goal with this series, and fully delivers on each aspect.  My one criticism about this novel is that I didn't fully understand why Cinderella (Dora Gayle) felt so strong and that she had beaten NYC, but maybe I am just looking too hard into it.

Finally, as you may have spotted, the main protagonist Clare Carlson is a female character written by a male author; fear not, Mr Belsky does an excellent job of writing from a strong, modern female perspective thanks to his experience in this field (which he explored for our blog earlier this month), and Clare feels wholly genuine and fully female!

Although not as strong as "Yesterday's News" which completely surprised me, whereas in "Below the Fold" I actually correctly identified one of the culprits, I pretty much devoured this book in one sitting and I cannot wait for the the third book in this series, "The Last Scoop", which will be out next year and will see Clare "on the trail of a serial killer even scarier than Son of Sam or Ted Bundy or the Zodiac".

[ARC received via Edelweiss]

About the Author

R.G. Belsky is an author of crime fiction and a journalist in New York City. He has a degree in journalism from Ohio University and has had an illustrious career in both print and television news.

His newest mystery, Below The Fold, is the second in a series featuring Clare Carlson, the news director for a New York City TV station. The first Clare Carlson book, Yesterday's News, was named Outstanding Crime/News Based Novel by Just Reviews in 2018 and was a Finalist for Best Mystery of 2018 in the Foreword INDIES Awards.

Belsky previously wrote the Gil Malloy series - The Kennedy Connection, Shooting for the Stars, and Blond Ice - about a newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News.

Belsky himself is the former Vice President at NBC Local Digital News, Managing Editor of the NY Daily News, News Editor of Star magazine, and Metropolitan Editor of the New York Post. Most recently, he was a Managing Editor of NBC News. Belsky’s crime novels reflect his extensive media background in newspapers, magazines, and TV/digital news.

Belsky won the Claymore Award at Killer Nashville in 2016. He has finished as a Finalist for both the Silver Falchion and David Awards.

His previous suspense/thriller novels include Loverboy and Playing Dead. Belsky lives in New York City.

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1 comment:

CMash said...

I too enjoyed this book and can't wait for the next one is the series!!