A JIM NESBITT REVIEW.
Dick Belsky’s Blonde Ice is a classic, fast-paced thriller that serves up it’s sex-laced mayhem straight up and strong, like a double-shot of bourbon, easing the burn with wry humor and wisecracks from the story’s narrator and protagonist, star New York reporter Gil Malloy.
STRAIGHT MAYHEM WITH A WRY CHASER
Malloy finds himself not only chasing the big story of a homicidal rarity — a knockout blonde serial killer preying on wayward husbands she lures to their deaths — but also reliving the scandal that nearly wrecked his career and cost him his marriage to his ex-wife Susan.
The scandal he barely survived is revived when the wife of the killer’s first victim comes calling at the offices of the Daily News to ask Malloy to help find her missing husband shortly before his body is found stabbed to death in a mid-town Manhattan hotel. Her name is Victoria Issacs and her husband was a prominent corporate attorney. They lived in a townhouse on Sutton Place and had two beautiful children.
Malloy knows her by a different name — Houston, a legendary New York prostitute desired by every high-roller in the city during her carnal heyday. He wrote a sensational profile of Houston that had only one flaw — he never met her or interviewed her. He strung together interviews from people who claimed they knew her and made it seem like the quotes and anecdotes came from Houston herself — a huge journalistic transgression he somehow survived.
Malloy agrees to help her and again compromises himself by not writing about her past as Houston even though it would partially vindicate his earlier story about her. It is a decision that forces him to walk an ethical tightrope with his bosses — and the cops who are letting him ride along on the case of the husband’s murder.
The bodies start to pile up and the trail leads to a sexy blonde private investigator, Melissa Ross, who specializes in tracking down wayward husbands for the wives she meets through a women’s empowerment group run by a woman psychiatrist. The killer contacts Malloy, leaving him e-mails that give a lethal twist to dumb blonde jokes that taunt the cops. These notes also keep him ahead of the pack on this big story, fulfilling the round-the-clock demands of a modern-day reporter who has to feed the online beast as well as the old-school print edition — and in his case, a starring role as an on-air contributor to a TV news show, Live from New York.
He’s also juggling another major story — the political ambitions of a powerful deputy mayor, Bob Wylie, in charge of the city’s law enforcement agencies and eyeing a run for his boss’ job. He wants Malloy to join his team, an offer the reporter shrewdly lets dangle to gain inside access to pursue both big stories. When Wylie’s top aide winds up dead in the trunk of his car as the next victim of the Blonde Ice Killer, the two stories become intertwined and Malloy is determined to track down the connection.
This is where Belsky’s inside knowledge of New York journalism and politics really adds meaty context to his tale, with authentic nuggets seamlessly woven into the narrative based on the author’s experience as former managing editor of the Daily News and metropolitan editor of the New York Post.
Belsky tells his tale in the rat-a-tat-tat staccato of a veteran print journalist, with sparse, but detailed narrative, snappy dialogue and colorful, well-developed characters. It is a style this reviewer found both familiar and appealing, given his own past as a former ink-stained wretch. To borrow an old journalism phrase, Belsky’s book is fast copy.
The story takes a surprising twist about halfway through the book, one that places Malloy squarely in the killer’s crosshairs. To find out how it ends, you need to buy a copy of Blonde Ice — you’ll be glad you did.
The author provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.