Below the Fold

By R.G. Belsky
Oceanview Publishing
ISBN 978-1608093243
Publication Date: May 07, 2019

Below the Fold

Review by Liz Gatterer


R.G. Belsky’s latest novel, Below the Fold (sequel to Yesterday’s News) features Clare Carlson, seasoned news director at Channel 10 in NYC. It is her job to decide which stories to put on-air, trying to choose those that will sell but still have some depth to them. She decides to take a risk and report on the seemingly unimportant murder of a homeless woman in the vestibule of a bank. This is woman no one cares about, which is why Clare sees this story as important. Every life has value. Everyone has a story – and this one turns out to be very important.

Dora Gayle, the murdered homeless woman, was once a beautiful young student at N.Y.U. with all her life ahead of her. How did she fall so far? Clare had only found out a little bit about Dora when a second murder is committed. This time, it is the brutal murder of a Wall Street executive – a woman that very much mattered. Grace Mancuso was wealthy, beautiful and corrupt. She was at the center of a huge investment scam and had taken a plea that saved her own neck while sending many of her colleagues to jail. The police discovered the murder weapon, a cheap, wooden statue of the Empire States Building and… a list. A list of five names that included a former congressman, a police detective, a well-known defense lawyer and Dora Gayle – the murdered homeless woman. What on earth these names had to do with each other seemed unfathomable. But, Clare intended to find out.

Belsky certainly shines in the mystery genre. As a resident New Yorker and a former journalist he has the inside knowledge that makes his characters vividly authentic and believable. Clare is not an “observant-little-old-lady” or a “high-functioning-sociopath”. She is a tenacious bulldog of a reporter that cannot put a good story down. Her connections are not conveniently coincidental but come from her real (and sometimes very conflicted) life. She is a strong character. Not a strong female character – don’t cut her short by bringing those kind of labels in. She can and will bring you down. I think there is more than a little bit of Belsky himself running through Clare’s veins.

Belsky’s writing style is very logical and reflects his journalistic past. But don’t expect the puzzle pieces to fit together too easily. I did— and what I thought was an easy 500 piece puzzle turned out to be a double-sided night-mare where the pieces fit together in more than one way. I totally loved it! I have heard that there will be at least a third Clare Carlson novel coming and I cannot wait to read it.