Gramercy novelist releases second mystery in new series about investigative reporter

Author Dick Belsky ‘s book will be released on May 7. (Photo courtesy of Dick Belsky)

By Sabina Mollot

Last year, Gramercy-based novelist Dick Belsky debuted this third series of books featuring a reporter looking to unravel a serious crime. A year later, that book’s sequel, Below the Fold, is being released on May 7 with Oceanview in paperback and on Kindle.

The original novel, called Yesterday’s News, had revolved around an ambitious woman named Clare Carlson who heads a TV station newsroom. While appearing to be successful, her personal life is in shambles as a result of her nonstop devotion to her job. In that book, Carlson is forced to faced her own troubled past when a missing girl whose case she’d covered extensively is brought back into the headlines 15 years later.

In Below the Fold, Carlson finds herself drawn to a story that she knows isn’t salacious or sexy enough to get good ratings — the murder of a homeless woman — but is nonetheless determined to find out who the victim was before her life was cut short. The title is a reference to a term in journalism referring to news stories that aren’t important enough to make the top section of a newspaper’s front page.

Belsky said he wanted to have a plot centering around this kind of story because news outlets are often criticized for giving only minor coverage, if any, to murders that don’t involve someone beautiful or famous. And Belsky, who worked as a journalist for years before transitioning to fiction writing, has personally been on the receiving end of such criticism. He’s worked as a reporter or editor for a number of companies including The Daily News, Star magazine and the NBC news website as well as The New York Post, where he helped come up with the legendary “Headless Body in Topless Bar” headline.

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Gramercy novelist launches third series about investigative reporter

Dick Belsky’s new character was inspired by women journalists he’s worked with, especially at The Post.

By Sabina Mollot

Gramercy author and former journalist Dick Belsky writes what he knows. In the 1990s, he penned a series of novels about a television reporter named Jenny McKay. In the past three years, he wrote four novels about a newspaper reporter named Gil Malloy. Now, he’s begun a third series about yet another journalist, this one named Clare Carlson, with the first book, Yesterday’s News, to be released by Oceanview Publishing, on May 1.

In an interview with Town & Village, Belsky said it’s stories centering around newsrooms that come most naturally to him after decades of working in them himself. Prior to becoming a novelist, Belsky worked as a top editor at the New York Post, where he helped create the famous “Headless Body in Topless Bar” headline. He also later worked for the New York Daily News, Star magazine and NBC News.

“No matter what someone says, I don’t think anyone can legitimately say, ‘This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about,’” said Belsky, who writes his novels under the name R.G. Belsky.

His most recent series of books, published by Atria Books, centered around an ambitious investigative reporter who had to climb his way up from the bottom after making a serious error in judgment that ruined his reputation. And Belsky still has plans to return to the series. However, the story he had in mind for Yesterday’s News wouldn’t have worked with Malloy as the protagonist.

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Gramercy author releases latest murder mystery

Aug20 Shooting for the StarsBy Sabina Mollot

Dick Belsky, a longtime Gramercy resident and novelist, has released the third book in what was supposed to be a three-part series (but has recently been extended to include at least one more book) around an investigative reporter character named Gil Malloy. The book, called Shooting for the Stars, was released on August 11 ($16 paperback, Simon and Schuster) and focuses on the reporter’s search for the person who murdered a famous actress some 30 years earlier. Police seem reluctant to reopen the case, which was blamed on the wrong person who later killed himself, and the mob be even be involved somehow, but Malloy remains set on cracking the case — and breaking the story.

Shooting for the Stars follows two other books; the first being The Kennedy Connection, which came out last year and focuses on how Malloy, whose career is on the rise, ends up in disgrace after fabricating an interview with a notorious New York prostitute. In reality, the quotes in the story he’d attributed to the street walker named Houston were all second-hand; he’d never gotten to meet her. He then becomes untouchable and has to redeem himself — through a story on the link between a string of murders. The second book, an e-novella called The Midnight Hour, was released in January of this year. In that story, Malloy investigates the massacre of the family that turned out to be blamed on the wrong person, who was executed for the crime.

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Gramercy Park author releases second book in three-part series

Dick Belsky’s newest book is The Midnight Hour. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Dick Belsky’s newest book is The Midnight Hour. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot
Last August, Dick Belsky, a former journalist and editor at several publications, including the Post and Daily News, released a novel called The Kennedy Connection. The book, published by Simon & Schuster, was about an embattled journalist in what was to become a three-part series.

Now, Belsky, who’s also a longtime resident of Gramercy Park, is releasing the second in the series, a novella coming out as an e-book on February 3. Titled The Midnight Hour (Simon and Schuster, $3), the story once again follows an ambitious but discredited reporter for the Daily News named Gil Malloy.

Recently, Belsky sat down for an interview with a Town & Village reporter at Irving Farm coffee joint to discuss the series and what went into writing it. Additionally, for those who haven’t seen the first book, here’s a recap:

Malloy, a somewhat cocky creature who’d been a rising star, had written an award-winning story about a mysterious prostitute. The problem? He’d never actually spoken directly with the prostitute, not being successful at finding her, while the story made it seem as if he did.

“In the beginning of the book, that’s where he is, barely hanging onto his job,” said Belsky. “He’s not being given the big stories, because nobody can trust him. His integrity has been lost. He was riding high, now he’s riding low and no one wants anything to do with him.”

At the same time, the plotline also focuses on the Kennedy assassination 51 years ago. Belsky chose to write about this after learning, as the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death was coming up, that most people still found the assassination just as important and relevant as they did when it happened.

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