Before this current age of broadcasting acquisitions and mergers, local TV stations were owned by the broadcasters, not investment firms. They lived to tell the stories of their communities. In Murder at Broadcast Park, the CBS station located in the rich resort town of Santa Barbara becomes it’s own story. “We never want to be our own news,” was the mandate from Barry Burke, the station’s news director. Except in this case, people are dying. With three murders, more affairs, but no suspects, investigators peer behind the scenes of the local news. Pull the veil off to find twists, turns, and secrets behind the scenes of this resort TV station and its cast of TV professionals. Nothing is off limits.
Netgalley provided me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Even though Murder at Broadcast Park has the potential to be a great book, in large because of the setting and plot, it fails to live up to that potential and isn’t really my cup of tea.
The story revolves around a Santa Barbara TV station and follows the premise that a station never wants to be its own news. This is exactly what happens to the CBS station, when multiple employees are found dead. I haven’t read a murder mystery that takes place at a news station before, so that made for an original plot and setting. It shows that the author has a lot of knowledge on the subject, as the mystery is weaved together with aspects about the inner workings of the TV station. It was fun to read about the competitiveness and the constant search for newsworthy items, despite the ongoing murder investigation. There was also more than enough intrigue, like affairs and cover-ups, to keep the story going.
However, the writing style did not work for me at all. The story is told from a third person point of view, but the author has the tendency to switch point of views quickly, jumping from the thoughts of one character to the thoughts of another character in the space of a page. Yet, at the same time, the characters seem to lack some depth. This applies most of all to the villain of the story, who is portrayed as the ultimate bad guy without much insight into his motifs.
I sometimes did not like the word choice and I thought that the dialogue felt unrealistic and unnatural, which was not helped by the fact that characters often address the person they are speaking to by name multiple times during one conversation. Despite the fact that the pacing is good most of the time, it sometimes did seem a bit rushed or off. For example, at one point a sex scene starts abruptly in one sentence only to end the next.
Significant attention is giving to a panhandling subplot in the second half of the book, to the point that I was sure it had something to do with the murders. However, towards the end of the book, no direct link between both plots had been established. Even though the panhandling story was incredibly interesting, it felt random in connection to the main story. In addition, the story ends with a really open ending that I did not really like. However, this was before I knew that this book is the first installment in a trilogy. In that case, the open ending might make more sense.
To conclude, all of the above might make this an unpopular opinion, but Murder at Broadcast Park simply isn’t my thing.