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Breaking News Paperback – December 5, 2010
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"A quick read that really moves with some powerful surprises! A good 'backstage' look at the world of broadcast news." - M. J. McDermott, Q13 FOX News, Seattle, WA
About the Author
Michael Gudgell is an award winning television news producer who has worked on some of the most sensational news stories of the last twenty-five years, including the murders of Chandra Levy, Laci Peterson and JonBenet Ramsey. He was ABCNews acting Bureau Chief in Moscow, Kuwait and Baghdad.
J.D. Rader published her first book, Bringing Out Baby (JASI) in 1999. She has published in the Seattle Times, Ballard Tribune and Los Angeles Times. Julia enjoys the process of creating plot driven stories with multidimensional characters. She grew up on the south side of Chicago which serves as settings for many of her stories.
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Top customer reviews
For the casual reader: If you read simply to enjoy a good story, this is a great book. You'll be engaged from beginning to end, and probably not want to put it down.
For the more avid reader: If the writing is as important to you as the story, this book may frustrate you a little. Though the plot is well developed, some of the characters are not. A couple fairly important characters are flat and and a bit cliche. Instead of letting us "listen in" on conversations, the authors summarized them, robbing us of the opportunity to get a real feel for each character. The dialogue that does exist is pretty stiff and awkward, including a total lack of contractions. I've never met people who don't ever use contractions in conversation, unless English is their second language.
There are a couple rather contrived plot devices (SPOILER ALERT!) like Bill's boss, Ira, putting the blame on Bill for Marta's fabricated news story. It does make the plot thicken, but Bill has evidence implicating Marta as the fraud. We're left to believe Ira is stupid enough to concoct a second phony news story, believing it won't eventually be exposed, also. His actions are just silly and irrational. It would've been more believable had he taken out a hit on Bill, or at the very LEAST made some effort to destroy the evidence on Marta.
Frustrations aside, I enjoyed the book overall. It was engaging enough that I read it quickly. If you can overlook some minor problems with style and mechanics, Breaking News is actually pretty good.
On the plus side, the damning statement regarding how news has gone from truth seeking to entertainment is spot on, and it is something that needs to be said over and over. Also, the plot was excellent, and I really couldn't put the book down. This would easily have been a five-star story if it hadn't been for the number of serious mistakes. I've said before and will say again that there's no shame in not knowing rules of grammar, usage and spelling, but shame is deserved for not asking or hiring someone to edit the manuscript.
The authors, writer J.D. Rader and news journalist Michael Gudgell have collaborated on a novel that seems to be based on a collection of real life incidents that involves girls, women and the powerful men surrounding them who get caught under the microscope of public interest and frenetic news coverage. Who can forget Jonbenet Ramsey, Chandra Levy, Laci Peterson, or Natalee Holloway? Gudgell was a journalist who covered these stories and much of what he discovered became material for “Breaking News.” The ensuing story is fascinating for its authentic detail and realistic premise.
Veteran television news producer Bill Ramey gets interested in the disappearance of a beautiful young woman and her apparent ties with a sleazy U.S. Senator, Gerald Smith, who has his hometown of Chicago bamboozled with his charisma and who continues to be elected despite controversy in his private life. A young and talented research assistant continues to uncover more information connecting the missing woman to the Senator and, in the process of working with the researcher, Ramey discovers that another young woman turns up missing with the same ties to Smith. The race is on between TV networks, reporters, and media bigwigs to reveal the Senator’s involvement. The manipulations and motives behind the scramble are carefully outlined by the authors, giving readers an authentic inside look at the broken news system from which we all currently suffer.
Things get ugly when a Russian gun dealer and his thugs get involved, spreading beatings, maiming, and murder around in a frantic effort to maintain their influence in high governmental circles. The Senator, caught in the middle, is slowly drawn deeper into his nasty world of criminal behavior. Then Ramsey discovers an ugly truth about some of the allegations against the Senator and his world also collapses into disgrace and disrespect.
This book will engulf the reader in a world of deceit and misdirection on the part of the media and brutality and death from the bad actors in the Senator’s murky world. It is satirical in its bright light focus, humorous in some of its insight, and entertaining in its presentation. I suggest you don’t miss it.
Schuyler T Wallace
Author of TIN LIZARD TALES