“The Last Scoop” opens with a brutal murder in the past, and that event drives the entire story that follows. Clare Carlson deals in lies for a living, all sorts of lies, and her job is to catch people in their lies and expose those lies to the world; she is a television news director. The story that follows is a first person narrative by Carlson talking to readers as if in a documentary, talking in carefully crafted sentences. Her tone is casual but formal with carefully crafted sentences that use precise details to lead the reader in a specific direction. Clare Carlson is a complicated person with two separate sides and many secrets. There are also casual, more personal segments that are friendly and informal, as if she is talking to a friend and sharing little stories.
Belsky crafts a narrative-driven investigation that allows readers hear what Carlson says to people and what they say to her. Interspersed are her opinions. Carlson begins her search when a person from her past, a newspaper editor from early in her career, is murdered. She feels compelled to tell the unfinished story that he has been chasing. The problem is that she does not find a “big story,” just a series of individual pieces of information and events that might or might not be related. Thrown in the middle of this is an agonizing story from her past; she determined to keep this a secret, at least for now. The pace is fast; this is TV news after all. Events transpire quickly, but the puzzle that this story becomes does not emerge as Carlson expects. When the pieces fall together and the picture finally becomes clear, readers are just as astonished as Carlson.
“The Last Scoop” is a story with complex elements. Events from the past are brought together in an unusual way, and the resulting story is both appealing and gripping. I received a review copy of “The Last Scoop” from R. G. Belsky, Oceanview Publishing and Goodreads. It is part of the “Clare Carlson Mystery” series, but new readers will be able to easily follow along; any needed background information needed is included within the current narrative. The entire series is easy to read, and the characters are both complex and dynamic.