It begins with someone else's story. The story of a woman who leaves a busy restaurant and disappears completely into the chilly spring night. Evelyn Carney is missing - but where did she go? Who was she meeting? And why did she take a weapon with her when she went?When brilliant TV producer Virginia Knightley finds Evelyn's missing person report on her desk, she becomes obsessed with finding out what happened that night. But her pursuit of the truth draws her deep into the power struggles and lies of Washington DC's elite - to face old demons and new enemies.A slick, gripping thriller that moves at the pace of breaking news, The Cutaway will keep your heart hammering until the final page.
The Cutaway by Christina Kovac is published in harback by Serpent's Tail on 6 April 2017 and is the author's debut novel.
Lead character, Virginia Knightley is a fabulous creation. She's sassy and bright, clever and curious and when she's determined to get to the bottom of something, she is a force to be reckoned with. When a missing person report lands on her desk, it's nothing out of the ordinary, people go missing in the City all the time. However, Virginia has a feeling about this case, and her further investigations get her nowhere. People clam up when she asks questions, and there are warning bells sounding in her head. The missing woman, Evelyn Carney, is a successful lawyer, she left a local restaurant after a minor disagreement with her husband. She hasn't been seen since.
As Virginia suspected, there is far more to this case than just another missing person. She's soon immersed in things she couldn't foresee and it becomes clear that Evelyn Carney was also at the centre of a series of complicated secrets and lies.
Christina Kovac's years of experience as a television journalist add authenticity to this fast-moving and exciting mystery story. Having a female reporter as the main character is refreshing and brings a different perspective to the plot, and whilst the police investigation does figure, it is Virginia's own sleuthing that is central.
The Cutaway is an enjoyable, well-written and very entertaining mystery story. The often complex storyline is well balanced and the characters are credible and well created. I enjoyed this one and would recommend it.
I'm delighted to welcome author Christina Kovac to Random Things today as part of the Blog Tour, She's kindly taken the time to answer these questions;
How did you get started in TV news and why did you leave?
I studied journalism at the University of Maryland, got an internship at a television station in Washington, DC, and the station hired me after graduation. I loved it—the sights and smells of the newsroom (dirty though they are), the heat of the lights, the constant squabbling, the excitement of breaking news. I would have never left if I hadn’t had children. My husband and I both worked long hours, and after I was late picking up my children from day care one too many times, we decided one of us had to get out of news. I thought I might be able to write a novel, so it made sense that I would leave.
What’s it like trying to keep up with a story in the world of 24 hour news?
Frantic. Exhausting. Thrilling when you beat everyone. Exactly how it is in THE CUTAWAY. The pace was the hardest thing about writing the novel—I had to keep everything moving very fast to keep it real. When a big story breaks, there’s no time for eating or sleeping, certainly no time for love. There is only chasing the story, and the terror that it might get away from you.
The news producer in The Cutaway puts herself in serious danger to bag her story – is this what it’s like when you’re trying to deliver in TV news?
Luckily not. I’ve only had a gun pulled on me once. But journalism can be very dangerous. I think of my colleague, David Bloom, who died in Iraq. Or what happened to Daniel Pearl, a brilliant, experienced WSJ reporter. Any journalist worth their salt would have gotten into that car. It could have happened to anyone.
How interwoven are the worlds of Washington politics, law enforcement and journalism?
Those worlds all rely on each other—law enforcement and politics use television to reach an audience, journalists keep an eye on politicians and police and prosecutors. Having relationships with each other are important, trust matters, but power struggles happen when someone tries to use the media for public relations. It’s not their job to make the government look good. The government should do good things, and then it’ll be reported.
The book features some interesting scenes where the woman is being sidelined and it’s reasoned away as being a necessary part of a cost-cutting exercise. Do you think women have it tougher in the workplace?
Women have it tougher. The novel details some of those realities. But Virginia Knightly is a white woman. What the novel failed to get into: no one has it harder than women of color or minority religions or women in the LGBTQ community—especially transgender women. It’s appalling how these women are treated. And not just in the workplace.
Is the Washington of TV shows like House of Cards or The West Wing one that you recognise?
I wish Washington was like The West Wing. I fear it is more House of Cards than the show itself.
You met the Obamas – what do you think their legacy will be?
I believe history will judge President Obama as one of our greatest presidents, and for eight years, America chose well. He and the First Lady were the best America had to offer: well-educated, brilliant people who came from humble beginnings and made their way in the world to the height of power. They used that power to help people. Vice President Biden has that same down-to-earth goodness and warmth. I produced an interview with him when he was the senator from my home state, and mentioned how my grandma loved him, and he was as nice as you please. When I saw him months later in the hallway at the Senate Office building, he pointed to me—a person he’d only met once—and said, “say hi to grandma for me, okay?” That’s the kind of feeling you got from the Obama-Biden White House. I was a person doing a job they respected, and they were kind. The current administration vilifies the press corps.Ch
How damaging do you think the ‘fake news’ scandal is to real political debate and comment?
It’s very damaging, but look. Political debate in the US has been a hot mess for a long time with a certain cable news shows and websites like Breitbart. The United States Congress created an us-against-them mentality with its treatment of President Obama. It is a game-changer that a foreign adversary got involved, sure. Congress must do something about that—or bring in independent investigators, if they can’t do it.
At the same time, subscriptions to the New York Times and Washington Post are up, and activism is high, so I have hope for us.Christina Kovac worked for seventeen years managing Washington, DC newsrooms and producing crime and political stories in the District.
Her career as a television journalist began with Fox 5's Ten O'Clock News, and after that, the ABC affiliate in Washington.
For the last nine years she was at NBC News, where she worked for Tim Russert and provided news coverage for Meet the Press, the Today show, Nightly News, and others.
Christina Kovac lives with her family outside Washington, DC.
The Cutaway is her first novel.
Find out more at www.christinakovac.com
Find her Author page on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter @christina_kovac