I’m Virginia Knightly, Executive Producer of the top-rated newscast in Washington, DC. (There, I said it, and still get the chills: Virginia Knightly. EP. My own show.) A dream come true. The best job in the world, doing important work—telling the truth about the lives of people and their happenings in our city, AKA, producing news—and I get to do it with brilliant people.
It’s the only job for me.
Every day is an adventure, and it’s also fun. That’s because of my staff: Ben Pearce, our evening news anchor, who’s beautiful and talented and my best friend when he’s not driving me crazy with his diva ways. (Or when I’m trying very hard not to notice how handsome he is. This happens more frequently than I’ll admit, and it’s a problem).
He shares the anchor desk with Moira Jones. Ice runs through her veins, which I admire, if you really want to know, and she’s got an androgynous beauty and calm, cool delivery that’s perfect for TV.
My second-in-command, Isaiah, is one of the first black journalists to break into DC television, back in the day. He knows everything about DC, local politics and crime stats and history of the city, the changing technology, who’s who and what’s what, and I’d be lost without him. He taught me everything I know.
There’s also Nelson Yang, our Emmy-winning photographer who looks through the camera lens with the eye of a god. And street reporter, Alexa Lopez, who can get anyone to talk. We have a new reporter-trainee, Heather, who I don’t trust. She was hired under mysterious circumstances by our new News Director. He’s a bad guy. Mind you, not as bad as that dude fired last year from Fox News—I’ve never seen or heard anything so bad as that—but our guy’s not helpful to the cause, either. For him, news is all business, only about the profits and therefore the ratings.
For me, news is so much more.
He wants to cut costs, and what he means, he wants to fire the people I just told you about. These people are the best journalists in the city, and they’re more than my staff.
They’re my family. Maybe a little dysfunctional at times, but I love them. You protect the people you love, don’t you?
A news day is long, unforgiving. It starts early. Every morning, I rise before the sun does, and during that first pot of coffee I prepare by reading local papers and news websites to see what the competition is reporting. My walk to work through the National Cathedral grounds lands me to the office by 8am. There, I got through overnight stories and faxes and emails and snail mail, looking for any story with a hook, anything that’ll stand out, something different, that might strike a nerve. It’s like an excavation.
One day, I see a press release of a missing woman. Her picture is blurry, but I feel like I’ve seen her before, somewhere, in a clip of video, but I can’t remember which. It drives me crazy. My brain is like a library for moving pictures. I remember every shot of video I’ve ever used, a terrific gift at deadline, but the picture of this woman? I can’t place it.
The rest of my crew thinks I’m acting a little obsessive, and maybe I am. Every year thousands of women are reported missing in the District of Columbia. Many of them are killed. I’m not naïve about the way the world works. And yet—why can’t I get this woman’s face out of my head?
I make a few phone calls on the sly. Nothing earth-shattering. Just to a coworker, another to the missing woman’s home, a routine call to the cop shop. The answers lead to more questions. The whole thing doesn’t make sense. And though I’ve got a show to produce, people to manage, a difficult news director to please, I think, why don’t I go out to this woman’s neighborhood and bang on some doors? What could it hurt?
When that leads to more questions, I call a few sources, including the one I swore I’d never talk to again, the guy who did me wrong.
How bad could it get?
You can read more about Virginia in The Cutaway, the author’s debut novel.
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.
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Meet the author
Christina Kovac worked for seventeen years managing Washington, DC, newsrooms and producing crime stories in the District. Her career as a television journalist began with Fox 5’s Ten O’Clock News, followed by ABC affiliate in Washington. For the last nine years, she was employed at NBC News, where she worked for Tim Russert and provide news coverage for Meet the Press, Nightly News, the Today show, and others. Christina lives with her family outside of Washington, DC. The Cutaway is her first novel. Visit Christina at christinakovac.com.
All comments are welcomed.