A Twisty Thriller
“The Newsroom meets Gone Girl.” —Cosmopolitan
Virginia Knightly is the protagonist we’ve been needing; a powerful female force fighting against a world run by men. She is smart, driven and complex and is sure to propel her way into readers’ hearts from the very first pages.
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.
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.
Keep scrolling for a guest post from author Christina Kovac on the inpsiration for her debut novel.
INSPRIATION FOR THE CUTAWAY
The Cutaway is a work of fiction. None of the characters are real. Virginia Knightly is not me. I would have liked to have travelled on her journey to try to save a woman. So, as a novelist, I created a flawed hero and (I believe) plausible circumstances that allowed her to go out and battle against the epidemic of violence against young women, and at the end of the journey, maybe even heal herself.
Creating Virginia Knightly was an act of wish fulfillment which made writing The Cutaway one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.
Virginia Knightly came from my own experiences and observations from working in news. During the first week of my internship at a local news station, a reporter took me out for a “ride along.” I was to observe his typical day as a reporter. We went to the scene of a shooting of an adult male in a car parked along the river. The man had been shot in the head. As we arrived at the scene, we were told it was a suicide. At the scene, the reporter told me to look inside the car. The body had been taken away by then, but much evidence of the headwound was left behind. It was the most awful thing I’d ever seen.
That was the lesson I learned on day one. Good journalists never avert their eyes. Not even when it hurts or frightens you. Or maybe especially then. My character, Virginia Knightly, is very good at her job. She may feel the hot bubble of emotions—horror, sadness, fear—but she keeps her eye on it, so that she can report it accurately, even when it may put her in danger. Because first and foremost, I wanted to create a character who was brave.
Through the years, many press releases of missing and murdered girls and women crossed my desk. Some remembered because they were so young or because they still had braces on their teeth, or because we had gotten their school yearbook photos and their photos looked like any other girl, what happened to them could have happened to anyone, to me or my friends. Or they were remembered because the girl or woman went on a date or into a marriage wanting love and companionship, and doesn’t every girl want love and companionship? But those women who crossed my desk got something entirely different, something that police and prosecutors would call, “a domestic,” the language softening the horrors of what these women and girls suffered.
This angered me, when I wasn’t allowed to be angry. I was a journalist and had to remain cool, removed, objective. The anger had nowhere to go.
In May 2001, I was working in network news when a young woman who interned at the Department of Corrections went missing. There were rumors that this woman, Chandra Levy, was romantically involved with a married US congressman. Within days, the airwaves were flooded with Levy’s story. No one knew where she was. There was no evidence, no witnesses. The congressman wasn’t talking to police. My deputy bureau chief pulled me aside and said, see what you can find out, so I did. It was an investigation that leaked every rumor.
I had a front row seat to the story behind the story, the political maneuvering behind police investigations, how government officials can use other’s tragedies—the murder of a young woman, say—to further their own ambitions, and how the victim can be forgotten. That, too, bothered me. As Virginia Knightly points out, it’s another kind of death.
The Cutaway isn’t the story of Chandra Levy, either. But it is an accumulation of observations and experiences and memories of the pictures of all the girls and women that crossed my desk and entered my email box and who, apparently, I never really forgot.