Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Book Review: "The Cutaway" by Christina Kovac

Two words: Awe. Some.

Seriously, I was in the mood for a good thriller and this fit the bill perfectly.

Virginia Knightly was once a talented television news reporter with tremendous potential, until the harsh realities of what she was reporting became a little too much for her to handle. She transitioned into the role of news producer and proved this was the job she was born to do—determining what is newsworthy and how best to cover it, wrangling and sweet-talking the on- and off-air talent when necessary, maneuvering through station politics, being a cross between a den mother, a drill sergeant, and a magician. And she gets results.

One day, a notice of a missing person crosses her desk. While normally notices like this sadly get passed over in a city like Washington, DC, news of a beautiful young attorney gone missing definitely catches her attention. She swears she's seen this woman before, and is determined to give her case the coverage needed to hopefully find her.

In the midst of a power play happening at her station, leaving her job and those who work for her in jeopardy, Virginia decides she needs to pursue this case. The deeper she digs, the more she realizes that she must question every fact presented to her, every piece of information given to her by friends and colleagues of the missing woman, even the evidence and leads provided by law enforcement. But more than that, Virginia discovers that the young woman was caught in the middle of a vast number of secrets and lies, and she didn't know whom to trust—a lesson Virginia is learning once again, too.

Tangling with a former flame who is now in a position of authority, and teaming up with her news anchor, a man who means more to her than simply a mouthpiece reading the words she writes, Virginia must fight—for the perfect angle, the breaking news, the truth, her job, her romantic future, and her life. Sometimes no news really is good news, you know?

I enjoyed The Cutaway tremendously. Christina Kovac, a former television journalist and producer, is really one hell of a writer, and she knows how to craft a (nearly) perfect story. There are lots of twists and turns, blurred lines between the good guys and girls and the bad ones, some great action and suspense, and lots of behind-the-scenes looks at the world of television news, especially in an era where it fights for relevancy and ratings against internet sources.

As I've remarked in reviews of thrillers and crime novels before, I suspect nearly every character, so I'm rarely surprised. And while I wasn't here, it didn't matter because the plot had me hooked. These characters were passionate, funny, talented, and totally flawed, and I wanted to smack a few of them more than once for not saying what they were thinking. But I cared about what happened to them, and hope that Kovac may have another book featuring these characters in the works, because I'd love to know what comes next.

The plot is a little overfilled—there are a few tangential storylines that distract a bit more than they advance the story. But Kovac's talent reins you back in, and I always love a good book set here in the DC area. In the end, I would have devoured this book in a little more than one sitting if there weren't obligations like work, eating, personal hygiene, etc.

Ignore the hype that this is "The Newsroom meets Gone Girl," and pick it up because it's a great thriller. Even if it doesn't keep you guessing, it will keep you on the edge of your seat (or at least close to the edge), trying to figure out how everything will resolve itself.

1 comment:

  1. Yes! I'm happy to read another review on this. I got it as an ARC too and thought it was really well done. I messaged Kovac on Twitter and it sounds like she might have more in store for Virginia!