Review | The Cutaway | Christina Kovac
Publication Date: March 21st, 2017
Page Count: 320
First Sentence: "It began with someone else's story".
Book Description: Virginia Knightly lives for the news. She is a television producer with the gift of a photographic memory. That’s why, when Evelyn Carney’s "Missing" flyer come across her desk, she’s sure she has seen her face before. But where? Evelyn is a beautiful, young attorney and she’s disappeared. Something about her case catches Virginia’s attention, and she is sure there is more to this situation than meets the eye. With or without the help of her connections, Virginia is determined to find out just what happened to Evelyn, and is willing to risk a lot to get to the bottom of the story.
My thoughts: The first thing that caught my attention about this book is the author’s background. Christina Kovac worked for seventeen years in Washington, DC newsrooms. She’s produced crime and political stories herself, so I knew that the character of Virginia would read authentic. The title, The Cutaway, comes from Virginia remembering the missing girl’s face from a cutaway from a previous news cast. The author does a good job with bringing the reader into the news room and I really enjoyed hearing about the behind the scenes of making a story. I could feel Virginia’s frustration at being the only woman of power in the organization, and having to prove herself to men that lack substance. The crime itself was compelling and I was interested to see how things played out. I thought the plot was fast-paced and I really did want to get to the bottom of things. There were quite a few red herrings and I liked uncovering the truth as Virginia did.
There were some clichés sprinkled in- the attractive and possible love interest anchor, the untrustworthy police, the misogynistic new boss, but at the end of the day I didn’t think it detracted from the story too much. What I did want to know more about was Virginia herself. She used to be a street reporter until a traumatic event happened, and I really don’t feel we got to unpack all of that. She also comes from a troubled background and has father issues, and I might have missed why these things were important. These side stories didn’t really detract from anything, but they did seem unnecessary.
I enjoyed that the book was set in D.C. The whole plot was filled with corruption, clues, politics, news, and fraud. It turns out, a lot of news making relies on creating, maintaining , exploiting and protecting sources and relationships and it was interesting to hear about those dynamics. I know there were some nuances of the news production that I missed, but I didn’t mind. I thought it was really interesting to see about how lawyers, reporters, and the police are intertwined and how everyone in DC is trying to make connections to further their agenda.
Overall, Virginia was a strong character and I enjoyed reading about this case. I think this could easily turn into a series. I love that she’s not a damsel in distress and that she held her own throughout. I applaud this author’s debut!
Favorite Quote: "This line of reasoning always mystified me. How did people think we lived? Were we supposed to lock ourselves away the moment night fell? Refuse to leave a restaurant without a man to escort us? Besides, a decade of reporting news in the District taught me a woman's intelligence or its lack had nothing to do with becoming a victim, with influencing who was picked out as the lion locks in on one antelope while the rest of the herd moves on."
Rating: 4 out of 5. It was a classic, whodunit story with a strong feminist lead told from a compelling and unique viewpoint.
I received a copy of The Cutaway from Simon & Schuster via Netgalley. As it was an ARC, quotes listed below may have changed in final publication.
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