SCOOP by Rene Gutteridge


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Big changes are in store for a TV news show after a religious young woman joins the team.

With sweeps week approaching, and a young punk of a boss demanding higher ratings, News Channel 7 producer Hugo Talley has no choice but to approach his diva anchor Gilda Braun about freshening up her look to bring in younger viewers. Humiliated, but reluctant to give up her post, the longtime newswoman succumbs to Botox, which does make her face smoother, but also gives her an unnerving perma-smile at odds with the serious reports she delivers. Unable to even furrow her brow, Gilda disappears, leaving Hugo to scramble for a replacement. Desperate, he turns to his new assistant, Hayden Hazard, a relentlessly cheerful and openly evangelical young lady with telegenic, wholesome good looks. One of seven home-schooled children from a family of professional clowns, Hayden is a hit with viewers, as well as with nice-guy reporter Ray Duffey, who shares Hayden’s beliefs, but is a bit more discreet about praying at work. It is Ray who finds himself the subject of one of his own news reports when a cranky interviewee attacks him on camera, to the delight of his ratings-starved manager. But something about the whole incident troubles Ray, who digs a bit deeper and discovers that his disgruntled attacker has connections to a wastewater treatment plant explosion and cover-up. The conspiracy is somehow connected to the missing, and possibly endangered, Gilda. Hayden, meanwhile, has a far-reaching effect on several of her colleagues, including the tightly wound Hugo, who realizes that all the anti-anxiety pills in the world will not fix the empty feeling in his soul. Gutteridge at times gently mocks Hayden’s spooky poise and socially awkward expressions of faith, but there is little doubt that she takes Hayden’s beliefs and values very seriously.

A sweet, sometimes zany message-centered tale; this is the first in a promised series chronicling the squeaky-clean adventures of the Hazard clan.

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 2006
ISBN: 1-4000-7157-7
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: WaterBrook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2006