Jim Thomsen's Reviews > Kill the Story

Kill the Story by John Luciew
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's review
Jan 16, 2011

really liked it

A competent thriller that succeeds on most levels. It's economically written, authoritative about newspaper newsrooms and statehouse journalism, and its characters are skillfully drawn (if slightly cliched; does every newsroom in fiction have an alcoholic burnout of a onetime star reporter on his last chance?).

The clockspring tension and suspense is well-developed, though the moralizing about the rapacious nature of news reportage goes a bit over the top. The reveal of the killer, which offers a clever twist on real Harrisburg history (look up R. Budd Dwyer for a look at the true horror story than inspired "Kill The Story"), leads to a delicious doozy of a climactic scene.

My only real complaint, as another reviewer here aptly pointed out, is that there is no way the reader could have guessed the identity of the killer before the big reveal. That made the reveal less of a powerhouse moment then it could have and should have been, and made the ponderous exercise of piecing together the connection between the murder victims to that point into an elaborate jerk-around at the readers' expense.

Also, as another reviewer pointed out, the text contained more typos and other careless errors than should ever have come from a self-respecting journalist (which the author obviously was at one time). It just goes to show that every writer needs a strong copy editor.

All in all, however, "Kill The Story" is a reasonably well-crafted thriller that largely delivers on its intriguing premise. I'll definitely check out more of John Luciew's work.

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