Minneapolis investigative reporter Riley Spartz’s third case is a murder whose leading suspect is pictured on her own driver’s license.
Nobody likes Sam Pierce, whose “Piercing Eyes” gossip column plays to its fans’ meanest fantasies and its subjects’ deepest fears. But very few of his enemies have just been served with a restraining order forbidding them to approach within 1,000 feet. That order, entered after Riley replies to his latest sally by throwing her pinot noir in his face, is rendered null and void when Pierce is shot to death. Now Riley (Missing Mark, 2009, etc.) has bigger problems than fighting with newcomer Clay Burrel over stories like the dine-and-dash thief who stiffs restaurants, the terrorist who’s bombing wind turbines and the headless female corpse Clay has made his own. As she runs the minefield of cops who want to jail her, colleagues who want to eat her lunch and wackos who’d be ready for their close-ups if they weren’t too foul-mouthed for Channel 3’s live feed, Riley struggles to identify suspects who have motives for killing Sam at least as plausible as her own. It’s quite a challenge, because the cops aren’t interested, the list of possible perps is endless, and, despite her credentials as an investigative reporter, Riley is no great shakes as a detective.
Middling fare for readers with an appetite for inside tidbits about TV news. Every single one of those readers, however, should beat Riley to the killer.