There is something seductive about a mystery built on the world of newspaper reporters, the actual print media that is fast disappearing in the age of technology. With Gil Malloy, Belsky has carved his own niche, taking up the pen for journalists caught up in the chase for a great story. Malloy has a checkered past with the
New York Daily News, jeopardizing his career with a story years earlier--and that connection resurfaces with a shocking murder: a mutilated man left in a hotel room for police to discover.
This outrageous crime captures the attention of the public when the killer is identified as a beautiful blonde seductress who lures her victims to their deaths. Indeed, she is a serial killer, dubbed “Blonde Ice” by the newspapers. This story offers Malloy an opportunity to jumpstart his career, his link to the breaking story giving him insight into the following murders as the case evolves and the city obsesses over stopping the killer. The beautiful blonde suspect is the icing on the cake--unless she’s got you on her list. And that list may include Malloy, who becomes the beneficiary of her pre-killing emails as the case progresses.
“Welcome to the murky moral world of the tabloid journalist.” The whole thing reeks of glamour at first, a spree killer with all the bells and whistles. Gil fills column inches with pertinent material to keep readers’ attention. “Blonde Ice” proves impossible to find, despite her image plastered
all over papers and screens. As with other big stories, public demand for more details increases along with the pressure from authorities to arrest this murderer. Malloy runs the gamut of resources, interviewing, researching, examining evidence for missed clues along the way. He’s caught up in the drama of the chase, even when his ex-wife, a high-level District Attorney, confides that she may be getting a divorce (and back on the market). Definitely interested in this prospect, Malloy struggles to keep his priorities straight, focusing on personal danger from the enigmatic killer. Much as Malloy wants to take advantage of this chance to romance his ex-wife, he is wary of the reasons that caused their breakup, a link to the same story that caused a rift between them in the first place.
Malloy has always wanted to be a reporter, can imagine no other career. Ironically, he’s finally hitting his professional stride--and has the maturity to appreciate the rarity of a good relationship with his bosses and a romantic partner. Newspapers have suffered a near-fatal blow from technology, print editions competing with the web, podcasts, streaming stories, the captured images available to a generation with little affection for the smell of ink on newsprint or the roaring of presses on deadline. He’s had to accept reality and make changes to remain viable at the newspaper, a balancing act between an old-school editor and one who has been hired to attract a younger demographic.
In terms of tracking a story, Malloy finds his old techniques are as valuable as the new. While image and information may arrive at the stroke of a key, it is the footwork that eventually yields the answers he needs to keep control of this unwieldy monster of a story, his future at the paper at stake. The plot ties past to present as Malloy stitches together the facts, ultimately a crafty plan meant to obscure the truth. In reporter mode, Malloy clings to a familiar routine, a journalist in pursuit of a headline-grabbing story, resisting the advances of technology he knows will eventually make his job obsolete. He gets his headlines and the notoriety of this bizarre spree, all while his career moves inexorably toward a different future. In Gil Malloy, Belsky offers a welcome reminder of the heyday of print media, when the newspaper on the porch brought each day’s news.