"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." — Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dead Air by Kerri Miller

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Summary: A Minneapolis TV journalist uncovers an international scandal while tracking the disappearance of another journalist.

Author Kerri Miller is a local radio personality here in the Twin Cities. She has an on-air book club and hosts interesting guests. So I was excited to read this book. And it's not terrible, just disappointing.

Dead Air follows the life of Cate McCoy, a TV journalist assigned to cover local politics. Eddie Hamm is a parody of former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura. Hamm (even the name shows you that he's larger than life) insults women, is a former paratrooper, says outrageous things and then calls the press vultures, yet has an extremely high approval rating. Of course Jesse Ventura would provide material for a book, but I felt like the fictional  governor's antics and personality were an over-spiced side dish next to a bland, boiled main entree of a story.
"All of this protocol bullshit was exhausting, like being back in the military without the fun of jumping out of planes."
Cate, as so many fictional journalists do, gets caught up in solving the mystery under the guise of being a reporter. In this novel, it's the disappearance and possible murder of Millicent Pine, a radical aging journalist, in town to do a profile on the governor. But the antics of the governor are just a red herring, as Millicent was working on a much bigger story, the abuse, rape, murder and kidnapping of young Mexican Mennonite girls.

Cate and her trusty camerawoman Andy fly down to Mexico, sneak into a factory, and uncover a pornography smuggling operation. Cate is saved from a bullet in the back and a shallow dusty grave by the sudden appearance of a DEA agent.
"McCoy, it's been said before but I'll say it again. You are one tough broad-caster." 
Sheesh.  Yet, Cate's a reporter to the end, refusing to share any of her information with the cops and trying to solve the murder by herself. Weak character development and a convoluted plot disappointed me.

If you want nosy crime reporters, consider Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer or any one of the Irene Kelly books by Jan Burke.

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