The Cutaway by Christina Kovac
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Virginia Knightly is a busy TV news producer. She's constantly juggling a million stories, cultivating her on-air talent, and appeasing whatever news director has been currently assigned to "revamp" her station and raise ratings. It's a typical day for Virginia when she sees a flyer come across her desk for a missing woman. But something in the woman's eyes in the fuzzy black and white poster haunt Virginia, and she becomes oddly attached to the case of Evelyn "Evie" Carney, a young, married lawyer who disappeared after dining with her husband (and informing him she wanted a divorce). It seems as if the DC police are more involved in Evie's case than Virginia would expect: perhaps even the Department of Justice. What happened to Evie, and is Virginia safe looking into her disappearance?
This seems to be yet another novel where I'm a bit of the minority here, but I just could not get into this one. The premise seemed intriguing (and of course, it was compared to all the popular thrillers du jour, which really doesn't do books favors these days). At times, I almost gave up on this book, which is not like me. First of all, instead of just focusing on the plot of Evie's disappearance, there is a ton (I mean a ton) of time focused on the in-fighting and arguing at the news station, which majorly detracts from the actual mystery plot. I found it juvenile and irritating. Because of this, quickly, I didn't like or care for any of the characters or their relationships whatsoever. Unfortunately, that never really changed. So much seemed to be going on in the book (including Virginia's own personal relationships: with the lead cop investigating Evie's case, her father, the main talent at the station) but so little of it related to Evelyn and her disappearance. A lot of loose ends never seemed to be tied up. I often found myself cringing at the dialogue.
It's sad, because, at times, the actual plot relating to Evelyn is good. I continually found myself wishing there was more of it. There's also a lot of telling versus showing, but I did find myself getting into the various pieces related to Evie. (It certainly makes you hope nothing bad ever happens to you, between the issues at the police department and various levels of justice.) I enjoyed that the story was set in a familiar location for me (Washington, DC). I did guess many of the main plot points, which was a little disappointing, including something you could see coming from the beginning of the story. The whole thing is so convoluted, with so many personal entanglements thrown in, that it's hard to believe at times. Virginia's obsession over Evie's disappearance is strange, and although a rather unbelievable reason will be given near the end, you spend the entire wondering why she's so fanatical. Apparently, while working in news, Kovac covered the Chandra Levy story, and you can see that in this tale at times. This is definitely a first novel, and there are glimmers of hopes for a second. Unfortunately, this one just wasn't for me.
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Netgalley (thank you!) in return for an unbiased review; it is available everywhere as of 03/21/2017.
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