Title: THE CUTAWAY
Author: Christina Kovac
Publisher: Atria/37 INK
Genre: Mystery | Thriller
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.
WHAT I THOUGHT
The author of THE CUTAWAY, Christina Kovac, looks to have taken an episode of the hit TV drama, NOTORIOUS, set it in Washington DC, stripped it down to the bare bones, exorcised any trace of humour or witty dialogue, and replaced the characters with a set of flimsy narcissistic cutouts.
To be blunt, THE CUTAWAY is a contrived piece of sloppy writing riddled with editorial mistakes and errors. If I never see the words “sickening frequency” again, it will be too soon. The over-use of such catchphrases was monotonous. As was the stilted and somewhat clichéd dialogue. Also, the lack of empathy or any depth of emotion made it impossible to feel any connection whatsoever to Kovac’s limp set of characters.
To call this THE NEWSROOM meets THE GONE GIRL is a disservice to both, as this novel barely reaches past 300+ pages and lacks the same credibility.
What I also found odd was the side trip Virginia takes to see the dying father who abandoned her as a child, all without so much as a preamble. I mean, why did this character suddenly decide to see this man she obviously didn’t know, and who, we are told, she hated so-much-so, she detailed a list of grievances about him while driving over to the hospital. Bizarre beyond words.
The same goes for the so-called love-interest between Virginia and TV anchor-man, Ben. There is no real build up or romance, just a quick bit of sex on a desktop without any real regard for context.
Context, again, being the real issue here. There is none whatsoever. Events, or vignettes, are loosely strung together to create a meandering narrative that, for the first three quarters of the book, seems to miss the point. There’s a woman missing, presumed dead. Not that anyone seems to care about this fact. And skimping on details is not taut writing, it’s simply lazy writing.
I went into this looking for a gritty, suspenseful, psychological thriller, but the author fails to deliver on every level.
When all is said and done, I think Ms. Kovac should stick to the visual medium of TV, and leave the writing to those who understand the power of words.
Rating: 3 / 10