The Reporter is described as episode one in a series. An author note at the end of this story indicates that the full series is the World’s Ends Series (sic). This publication is a Kari Mallot Novella. The cover is as yet undefined and the novella was downloaded through Instafreebie from an author mailing list. This might have been rushed to internet publication while still in the editing process. The author name was not in a place I am used to. I found the author name on the copyright page. There are some formatting problems. Occasionally a page will be followed by an almost identical page. When this happens, the first page will have a distorted, almost unreadable first line. The following page appears with a corrected first line and a copy of the preceding page. I am unfamiliar with the mechanics and problems of on-line and self-publishing. I assume that a more polished final form of the story will eventually show up.
Even with the above distractors, this is a good story. Kari Mallot is a small time television reporter or presenter who would like to advance her career. She needs a great story to get her great exposure and ratings. When a local lawyer gets beaten up, she is alerted to the crime by her boyfriend Jeff, a local cop. He responded to the scene of the crime but was told by the victim that a statement would only be given to a local reporter, then the police. Kari arrives to hear the victim say that he wants to confess to several crimes, that he was directed by his assailant to make the confessions to a reporter, and that he had a second, secret message only for the reporter who responded. The only one to respond was Kari.
The secret message directed Kari to a meeting with the assailant, self-named 419. Kate reluctantly went alone to the meeting where she didn’t meet the assailant face-to-face but through a complex system of cell phones and callbacks. 419 had decided to give Kate the name of his next victim. All of these private dealings were for the purpose of advancing Kate’s career. There was no reason for this except for the fact that Kari had been the first and only reporter to respond at the scene of the first incident. It seems that 419 had “adopted” Kate.
Kari plays out her role in the context of an ambitious new reporter who values career over everything. She is even willing to give up her boyfriend, Jeff (the cop) for her career. There are several interesting character sketches, none well developed. I look forward to character development in the follow-on series. There are some good character introductions in this story. Kari’s boss, Kahn, has been at the top of her game in the news business in a large organization but has fallen on her sword. She is looking for redemption. Kari’s cameraman is overweight, very effeminate, and very protective of Kari. He may have a future in the series. There is a surprise (hence no spoilers) about the identity of 419.
This is a solid introduction to what could be an interesting series. I will invest in at least one of the follow-up books to see where the story goes and how the characters develop.