Title: The Cutaway by Christina Kovac
Publisher: Atria / 37 Ink
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
“The Newsroom meets Gone Girl.” —Cosmopolitan
The Cutaway draws you into the tangled world of corruption and cover-up as a young television producer investigates the disappearance of a beautiful Georgetown lawyer in this stunning psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn.
When brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t seem to shake the image from her head. Despite skepticism from her colleagues, Knightly suspects this ambitious young lawyer may be at the heart of something far more sinister, especially since she was last seen leaving an upscale restaurant after a domestic dispute. Yet, as the only woman of power at her station, Knightly quickly finds herself investigating on her own.
Risking her career, her life, and perhaps even her own sanity, Knightly dives deep into the dark underbelly of Washington, DC business and politics in an investigation that will drag her mercilessly through the inextricable webs of corruption that bind the press, the police, and politics in our nation’s capital.
Harkening to dark thrillers such as Gone Girl, Luckiest Girl Alive, and Big Little Lies, The Cutaway is a striking debut that will haunt you long after you reach the last page.
With a clever plot and a resourceful lead protagonist, Christina Kovac’s debut mystery The Cutaway is a riveting mystery about a missing woman.
Missing person notices come across TV news producer Virginia Knightly’s desk on a fairly regular basis, but she is soon obsessed with the case of Evelyn Carney. An up and coming lawyer, Evelyn appears to have vanished into thin air after a rather tempestuous dinner with her war hero husband, Peter. With her newly estranged husband’s alibi immediately clearing him of suspicion, the investigation is quickly stalled. Virginia is a little puzzled to discover her ex-boyfriend Michael Ledger, who is now the commander of the Criminal Division, is involved in the case, but she pushes aside her curiosity in order to utilize him as source. With the help of Evelyn’s co-worker, Paige Linden, Virginia quickly discovers Assistant US Attorney Ian Chase is a “person of interest” in Evelyn’s disappearance. However, after uncovering some irregularities and inconsistencies in the investigation, Virginia is uncertain whom she can trust as she continues delving into what happened to Evelyn.
Virginia is a talented journalist with an uncanny ability to remember images from photographs and news stories and she knows right away that she has seen Evelyn in a cutaway from a news story. She is right in the middle of trying to locate the footage when the somewhat smarmy news director Nick Mellay begins throwing his weight around and handing out pink slips. Smarting from her temporary demotion, Virginia throws herself into uncovering as much information about the missing lawyer as possible.
Although she wants to stay as far away from Michael as possible, Virginia is too smart not to make use of a valuable resource, so she shoves down her misgivings and pays him a visit. Trying to keep her personal feelings out of their renewed professional relationship, she is soon trading information and favors for insider details about the case. While Virginia finds working alongside Michael a distasteful prospect, she views him as a trusted source even though she knows he is not being completely forthcoming about certain aspects of the investigation.
After some of her leads dry up, Virginia turns to Paige for assistance. Despite the attorney’s reluctance to go on the record, she does provide some very valuable insight and information about Evelyn’s professional and personal lives. Some of the details Virginia gleans from Paige corroborates other facts she has unearthed while some elements of their discussions point her in new directions.
However, the one fact that seems to be irrefutable from both of Virginia’s sources is that Evelyn was personally involved with Ian Chase. She is also aware that Ian is refusing to talk to the police, but she is hoping he will be willing to talk to grant her an interview. Virginia is quite tenacious and rather inventive in her attempts to talk to Ian but he is firmly refusing to go on the record. When the police investigation into his role in Evelyn’s disappearance heats up, readers will enjoy the exciting peek into the process in which journalists obtain footage for their broadcast.
The Cutaway is a very intriguing mystery that has plenty of interesting twists and turns. Christina Kovac utilizes a few red herrings and misdirects in an attempt to obscure the perpetrator’s identity and motive for the crime. Savvy readers will most likely pick up on a few details that will provide them with a suspect almost right away but the motive for Evelyn’s disappearance will remain elusive. Chock full of suspense, this fast-paced and riveting mystery culminates with a rather surprising conclusion. Hopefully this is just the first of many investigations starring the very intrepid and immensely appealing Virginia Knightly.