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BOOK OF THE DAY

 

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City of Grudges

By Rick Outzen
 
Select Books
$16.99
ISBN 978-1590794432
Publication Date: March 2018

City of Grudges

Review by Gary Frazier

You’ve got to have a thick skin if you’re going to be a reporter. Just look at the abuse real-life journalists take daily from a certain individual in the White House who has an affinity for calling them the “enemy of the people” and declaring their stories as being “fake news.”

Fictional journalists, like Walker Holmes, the hero of Rick Outzen’s new novel, City of Grudges, aren’t immune to such treatment either.

Holmes is the main investigative reporter/editor/publisher of his weekly paper, the Pensacola Insider. His quest for the truth gets him into trouble with his readers, sources, and subjects of his stories. He’s constantly confronted with advertising and readership boycotts, warrants for his arrest, defamation lawsuits, looming financial ruin, and even death threats because of his stories.

Holmes quickly learns that everyone has a grudge to settle.

Only his commitment to exposing falsehoods, corruption, and illegal acts see him through. When we meet Holmes, he’s already facing an angry backlash from philanthropist Bo Hines and Hines’ supporters after an article revealing potential embezzlement and fraud from the Arts Council that Hines heads up. An audit sparked as a result of his articles reveals $200,000 missing from the nonprofit and indictments against Hines.

Throw in the apparent suicide of Hines’ wife, the death of the sheriff’s brother, a missing persons case from 1973 involving Hines and local developer Jace Wittman, a bust involving a national porn ring, and the complications for Holmes quickly stack up.

Yet, through it all, Holmes maintains: “There’s nothing personal about any of this. It’s about the truth.”

Clocking in at just 256 pages, Outzen packs a lot into City of Grudges’ pages and keeps the twists and turns coming at a fast and furious pace.

 

Robert Frazieris a former newspaper reporter and editor. He reviews books for Killer NashvilleBookPage, and his blog site. He has served as a script reader for both the Austin Film Festival and Nashville Film Festival screenwriting competitions and is a member of the Tennessee Screenwriting Association.