cover image It’s News to Me: A Clare Carlson Mystery

It’s News to Me: A Clare Carlson Mystery

R.G. Belsky. Oceanview, $27.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-60809-456-1

Belsky’s middling fifth Clare Carlson mystery (after 2021’s Beyond the Headlines) finds the workaholic Carlson, the news director at a New York City TV station, facing the sudden replacement of her boss by Susan Endicott, who wants to boost sagging ratings by branding all news stories under the slogan, “Take Back New York.” Endicott believes a recent murder—the bludgeoning of blonde, beautiful, universally beloved college student Riley Hunt, near her Manhattan dorm—perfectly fits her campaign of attracting viewers by inflaming their fears of street crime. When Carlson investigates, she finds a clichéd array of suspects, including an ex-boyfriend; the scion of a powerful mob family; and the victim’s fiancé, whose father, Hugh Townsend, is an NYPD deputy commissioner. Unsurprisingly, Carlson learns Hunt had secrets as she searches for the killer. Belsky doesn’t make suspending disbelief easy, as when he has Townsend assume control of the official inquiry, despite a glaring conflict of interest that no police commissioner or DA would tolerate. Readers looking for a more plausible journalist sleuth will be better off with Bruce DeSilva’s Liam Mulligan series. Agent: Nalini Akolekar, Spencerhill Assoc. (Oct.)