Richmond Telegraph crime reporter, Nichelle Clark, dreams of working for The Washington Post, however; she has yet to make an impression on them. Steadily working her beat, she’s never far from her police scanner in hopes of chasing the story that will give her the break she needs. When a drug dealer is found murdered, police are quick to assume it was a vigilante behind it, but nothing about the crime scene makes sense. Nichelle’s given a key piece of evidence and begins some overwhelming research, only to realize that everything is not what it seems to be.
Nichelle has a good reason to suspect everyone around her. Bob, her boss, takes her under his wing encouraging her to be cautious with whom she trusts. When fellow reporter, Grant Parker, suddenly becomes friendly, Nichelle brushes him off until she begins to suspect his own nefarious plans. Why was Parker present at the accident scene involving a police boat and baseball players? Why is he interested in assisting in her investigation? How can a sports columnist afford a brand new BMW motorcycle? Nichelle quickly begins to suspect there’s more to Parker and while she wants to tell Bob about her suspicions, she can’t.
Character development is strong. Nichelle is intelligent and resourceful. While her weakness is designer shoes, she’s the first to admit how impractical heels can be in certain situations. She’s also able to protect herself and attends daily body combat classes. Here we have a strong female character who isn’t going into situations not knowing how to defend herself. Readers will be able to associate with Nichelle’s work nemesis. We’ve all come across the jealous co-worker who assumes we are the cause of their failures. In this case we have Shelby and she’s irritating, but I can give the girl some credit; she sees an opportunity and pounces on it. I personally loved the interaction between Nichelle and Charlie, the local news anchor and rival. I’m sure in real life, these types of relationships happen and Walker did an excellent job showing the differences between a seasoned crime beat reporter versus a neophyte.
I adored Front Page Fatality! The writing is engaging and witty, “But that’s the thing about dead people: they can’t warn you to keep your nose out of things that are going to put your ass in danger.” It’s also a fast paced read. In terms of the mystery, usually I can figure it out, but let’s just say I was led on a merry chase along with Nichelle. When she uncovers the whole truth, I felt emotionally drained. Finally we have a name behind the events and it all makes sense. I also particularly liked the scenes that took place at the newspaper headquarters. Walker was a journalist and she’s able to make a fine transition in describing how a newspaper works. She reminds me of Chelsea Cain who utilizes the newspaper aspect in her Archie / Gretchen novels (Cain herself was a former reporter).
LynDee Walker’s Front Page Fatality is a strong debut and I can’t wait to read future books in the series. If you’re a fan of cozy-mysteries, I highly recommend this book.