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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ABC show with Dr. Oz filmed dying man without permission

Stuy Town resident and family’s suit to be heard in Court of Appeals

Ken Chanko Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Ken Chanko (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

It was in April of 2011 when Stuyvesant Town resident Ken Chanko lost his father, Mark, after he was fatally hit by a truck.

Mark Chanko, who also lived in Stuyvesant Town for most of his life and was a Korean War army veteran, was struck on the street in front of where he’d lived in more recent years, in Yorkville. He was 83.

Because the death was caused by an accident, and the driver wasn’t drunk, there were no criminal charges filed.

But then, nearly a year and half later, Ken Chanko and the rest of his family wound up experiencing Mark’s death a second time — this time because it was broadcast on a reality show that was filmed – without his father’s or any of the Chankos’ knowledge — at the hospital where Mark had been treated.

The show, “NY Med,” featuring television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, was filmed at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, a medical institution which, along with the show’s network, ABC, has since ended up on the end of a lawsuit filed by the Chanko family, alleging breach of medical confidentiality and pain and suffering. ABC, after initially being contacted by Ken, did agree to pull the segment that included the segment about his father, and to not include it in a DVD for the episode slated for later release. However, the family still went ahead on filing a lawsuit, when, according to Ken, there was “no apology and no admission of wrongdoing.” Pulling the segment, he added, “wasn’t out of the goodness of their hearts.” In fact, he added that at first, a hospital rep had told him she couldn’t do anything about it and that he should call ABC.

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