Working in the news business can be exhausting, and it rarely lives up to the hype of the movies about our industry. We’d all like to be Woodward and Bernstein, but deadlines and town hall meetings and the crush of the 24/7 news cycle rarely let up enough for even the most intrepid reporters to have their own Deep Throat moments. But, as winter approaches, it’s the perfect time to indulge in some novels about journalists whose lives are exactly as wild and crazy as we all imagined ours would be.
Once you’ve met your deadlines for the day, curl up with one of these five fiercely fun reads about our fictional news media counterparts!
The Newsmakers by Lis Wiehl
When TV reporter Erica Sparks captures the story of a lifetime on live television, she goes from struggling cub reporter to celebrity journalist overnight. Then, within weeks, she manages to scoop the competition yet again in another crazy stroke of luck. But is she really that lucky, or is she at the center of a wild conspiracy? Between the drama at work and her rocky love live, Erica’s personal life is as messy as the news she’s covering!
Rogue Island by Bruce DeSilva
Liam Mulligan is an old-school newspaperman who refuses to let anything get in the way of a good story. A local reporter for a shrinking Rhode Island newspaper, Mulligan has seen it all – and written about it, too. But when a slew of fires starts burning through his hometown, his insistence on getting to the bottom of the story puts him in serious danger. With help from a cub reporter, a local mafioso and a motley crew of colorful locals, Mulligan will do whatever it takes to get the scoop – or die trying!
Night Film by Marisha Pessl
A spooky read, Night Film tells the story of journalist Scott McGrath’s investigation into the death of Ashley Cordova, the daughter of a legendary cult-horror film director. Things start to get spooky when McGrath tries to dig into the life of director Stanislas Cordova. The more McGrath does to try to find the truth, the more danger follows him, threatening his life and, more importantly to him, his career. This isn’t McGrath’s first time trying to unearth the secrets of the reclusive director, but when his hunger for a good story causes his life to unravel, will he really keep digging?
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Recently an HBO miniseries, Sharp Objects is the story of a troubled young journalist, Camille, who is tasked with returning to her hometown to report on the murders of a pair of local teens. Only recently home from a stint at a psychiatric hospital, Camille isn’t quite ready to return to the place she ran from years earlier. She’s avoided the town – and her impossible-to-please mother – for years. But, her editor insists, so, from her childhood bedroom, Camille gets to work. Unfortunately for her, things at home are stranger and more uncomfortable than she remembered, and as she probes for answers to the murders, she finds herself having to unravel some dark, deeply personal mysteries as well.
The Last Magazine by Michael Hastings
Published posthumously, The Last Magazine is Michael Hastings’s only novel and is loosely based on his own experiences as a journalist. The character of Michael Hastings is a 22-year-old intern at The Magazine when the book starts, and though he’s young, he quickly finds himself in a mess when the U.S. invades Iraq and he must decide between helping to get to the bottom of the story or increasing his boss’s bottom line. A series of fast-paced, far-fetched, and possibly familiar shenanigans follow as Hastings (the character) figures out how to cope with the 24/7 news cycle.
Jennifer Peters is former content manager of the News Media Alliance.