In Geri L. Dreiling’s Crime Beat Girl, moving back to Saint Louis hadn’t been part of Debbie’s plan, but when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer it seemed a good opportunity for a fresh start. She left behind a promising career for a small local press, and a fiancé who loved his job more than her. When her first day sees her involved in a newsworthy story her entire career path is altered. She goes from another puff piece reporter to Crime Beat Girl, covering the local happenings in her community. She wanted to provoke comments and questions, but when her investigations catch the wrong sort of attention she quickly makes enemies, but no reporter lets go of a good story, regardless of the risks, even if that risk is her life.
Geri L. Dreiling’s Crime Beat Girl is a gripping crime fiction focusing around crime in Saint Louis. I enjoyed Debbie’s character and thought she was well-devolved, relatable, and supported by a cast of strong characters as she returns home and finds herself straight in the middle of a story she just can’t let go of. The flowing third-person narrative will have you following along, trying to see the connections Debbie has yet to make. Guns, cars, and deaths, all in different places, all by different people, but her gut tells her there’s a link and she is determined to find it. It was great watching the spunky reporter step on toes, tease information from sources, and try to piece everything together, all while balancing her own life and safety. Perfectly paced this investigative crime fiction offers mystery, action, and a hint of romance in a tale with deep themes and highlighting very real problems.