Published January 5, 2013 by myliteraryleanings

scoop coverReview of Scoop by Rene Gutteridge

Overview from now back to our regularly scheduled insanity.

Channel 7 news producer Hugo Talley dreams of working with first-class professionals. Instead he’s saddled with a weatherman who can’t admit when he’s wrong, an aging anchorwoman who refuses to release her claw-like grip on the news desk, a conscience-stricken reporter who’s reluctant to focus on sensationalism, and a new assistant–former homeschool student Hayden Hazard–who can’t just seem to leave her faith outside the newsroom.

When the Channel News 7 team inadvertently stumbles on a hot news story, Hugo is frantic to exploit this rare opportunity. But a series of crises–including a Botox disaster and the disappearance of a colleague–threatens to destroy his chance for ratings success and send him completely over the edge.

Meanwhile Hayden’s presence is distracting at least two coworkers. soft-spoken reporter Ray Duffey isn’t sure whether he’s attracted or frightened by her outspoken faith, while ego-driven Sam Leege is certain her naïve spiritual convictions will fall victim to his persuasive attentions.

My Review:

I read a book by this same author last year and loved it. In fact, I remember that I even listed in the top five list of books I had reviewed last year. It was called Listen and it was a great modern-day fable about the power of words in people’s lives.

This book however was nothing like that. I am not saying that it wasn’t good, don’t get me wrong. I liked this one a lot, though maybe not quite as much as Listen. It just had a totally different tone—one that I was not expecting.

Listen, as you might expect, was a much more serious story. Scoop, by comparison, is a comedy. The only thing that both of these stories had in common was that they both had protagonists who worked in the news business.

Scoop is the first novel in a series called The Occupational Hazards and features the Hazard family. This one focuses on Hayden Hazard primarily but begins with the death of the parents of the Hazard clan. Mr. and Mrs. Hazards’ deaths spell the begin of the end for the family business which Hayden’s entire life has revolved around. However Hayden and the rest of her siblings will each inherit enough money to try to reinvent themselves in another field.

After a few years, Hayden ends up at the Channel 7 news station as one of Hugo Talley’s new assistant. Hugo is the executive producer who is at first pleased with her cheerfulness but annoyed by her constant references about the God and the faith that she was raised to believe in.

Hayden doesn’t give up. People at first think that she might be a little judgemental if not annoying but it soon becomes clear that she really cares about people. Her help keeping the station afloat, particularly during “Sweeps Week” proves to be indispensable as well as her kind nature and surprising sense of humor.

As the investigations begin to go deeper, involving even the station’s own anchorwoman, Hayden’s sister Mack (who is also a police officer in Las Vegas now) gets involved too. Together they prove that the Hazards are unstoppable as well as resilient.

The best part about this whole story is the humor. There are several passages that made me laugh out loud and that also helped me to see the real person behind some of the antagonists as well as Hayden and her friends. And really, Hayden does want to be everyone’s friend.

Below is part of a funny example of Mack trying to get some information out of one of the local police officers handling the disappearance of the station’s anchorwoman.

“’At one point, she abjured her written statement, which then cause us to have to retract our avouchment. And you know how embarrassing that can be.’ Wynn nodded a little. ‘So as you can see, the situation is precipitating, but if our theory hold together, you and I are going to have one stupefying story for the media.’

“Media. Now that word he understood.” P.298

I also liked the characters of Roark, Gilda, Hugo, Mack, and Ray as well. They didn’t always show it but they really were trying their best to do the right thing.

I am amazed how well this author does comedy now as well as drama. I am not normally a big fan of contemporary fiction but I really like both of the books I have read by her so far. I hope that I will be able to read the other books in this series before the next year is out.

I hope you agree that it is a good read and a fun way to spend your time.

Contains: no objectionable material that I noted—not even a swear word yet it seemed more realistic to me than last week’s book.


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