A reporter relegated to a boondocks bureau is eyewitness to murder.
Hallie Ahern, a hotshot investigative reporter in Boston before she fell for a crook’s line, works out of the South Kingston office of the Providence Morning Chronicle on stories barely fit to line birdcages. In debt to her mom and her credit card companies, she’s become addicted as Mary from Massachusetts to talk radio’s Leonard of Late Night. Although Leonard’s pet on-air peeve is the referendum to legalize gambling, Hallie (Final Copy, 2000) likes the scratch-off, instant-winner tickets, and is at her neighborhood market buying a couple when, bam, owner Barry Mazursky is shot dead and she’s the only witness. Her write-up becomes a bigger story when (1) Leonard insists Barry was a mob victim who embezzled money from a charity, (2) dishy prosecutor Matt Cavanaugh, from the attorney general’s office, refuses to let Hallie see the only suspect and (3) someone called Andre, who just might be Barry’s son, phones Leonard’s show to tell of his father’s gambling debts. Digging for facts at Connecticut blackjack tables, Hallie winds up $4,000 poorer, and she’s disgraced at the paper when Leonard, her best lead, is murdered. Her only solace is her winning scratch-off ticket, which puts her in contact with Powerball honcho Gregory Ayers. And a bullet.
Smoothly told, with welcome insight into compulsive gamblers and insider jabs at newsroom politics.