TV investigative reporter Riley Spartz has an instinct about stories, and the unexplained disappearance of a groom-to-be gets her juices flowing.
Sidelined for months after her first stab at crime-solving (Stalking Susan, 2008), Spartz now faces the all-important May sweeps period without the kind of attention-grabbing story that could secure her position at Minneapolis’s Channel 3. Worse, her cold-blooded boss wants to demote her from serious investigations to spot news, the kind of brainless accident reporting Spartz believed she left behind. Stuck for a story, she finds herself looking into the sale of a never-worn wedding dress and is compelled by the mystery of why a struggling comedian would ditch one of the Twin Cities’ wealthiest heiresses. But while the seemingly jilted bride wants to find out what happened to her missing love, her mother’s reluctance may have more to do with guilt than with a highbrow desire to stay out of the spotlight. The author keeps the pace hopping, despite the apparently noncriminal nature of the misdeed, and provides plenty of clues (Spartz’s inability to see even fairly obvious ones is the book’s main weak point). A subplot on meth addiction adds a more serious note. The real draw continues to be the backstage view of the TV-news business offered by producer Kramer, who nails everything from the interaction between on-air talent and producers to all the showbiz hustle that goes into grabbing ratings, even when the story doesn’t justify the fuss. There’s nothing new happening here, but Spartz is engaging, and Kramer gives her just enough guts and ambition.
Nicely done, if not groundbreaking, with a likable heroine in an intriguing profession.