Crime Beat Girl


Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
196 Pages
Reviewed on 06/24/2020
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Author Biography

Dreiling's background is eclectic. She is an award-winning alt-weekly journalist, a lawyer who represented clients in criminal defense matters, and she served a stint as the public information officer for the prosecutor's office in the city of St. Louis. Dreiling currently teaches media law and media ethics.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

When reporter Debbie Bradley returns to her home town, St. Louis, primarily to be at her mother’s side as she undergoes a mastectomy, Debbie anticipates that much will have changed about the city during her absence. What she doesn’t expect to discover is just who is behind the ongoing outbreak of stolen cars and violence that is shaking up the community. And why do a number of the crimes involve underage youths?

What struck me the most about Crime Beat Girl by Geri L. Dreiling was its uniqueness: here we have an author who knows how to write. Her style and formatting are flawless; her plot concept is different, and her characters are so lifelike readers immediately feel at home with them. That’s good writing. Dreiling keeps readers guessing, tempting us to determine who really is on Bradley’s side. No one will blame you if you zero in on the wrong perp. Dreiling does a great job of throwing our suspicions on the wrong person without even hinting who really is a threat to Bradley as she goes about her job of just trying to get at the truth for readers of her Crime Beat Girl column. If you’re interested in knowing what it’s like to be a reporter for a daily newspaper, this novel provides plenty of insight as Dreiling cleverly weaves the information into her story. Crime Beat Girl is a quick read that challenges your own sleuthing skills while reminding you that love and family support are what matters most in our lives. Nice job!

K.J. Simmill

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. However, 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 story focusing around crime in Saint Louis. I enjoyed Debbie's character and thought she was well-developed, 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 story offers mystery, action, and a hint of romance in a tale with deep themes and highlighting very real problems.

Jack Magnus

Crime Beat Girl is a sleuth mystery novel written by Geri L. Dreiling. Debbie Bradley had come home again to St. Louis. Now, in her capacity as Sam Hitchens’ newest reporter for River City Magazine, Debbie was trying to locate the address of Teen Alliance, a non-profit, when she heard a horn sounding repeatedly. A man in an older pickup truck in the oncoming traffic lane was obviously trying to get her attention and, having gotten it, made sure she knew to look behind him. An Audi convertible was swerving and driving erratically, and it didn’t seem like the driver was planning on braking for traffic. Thinking quickly, Debbie wrenched her steering wheel in the direction of the sidewalk while the driver of the pickup truck did the same. Then she watched, horrified, as the out-of-control vehicle drove up on the curb and hurtled toward a group of teens who were gathered in front of a small market. From being a reporter of some repute in Washington DC, Debbie suddenly found herself in the role of an eyewitness as a news reporter back in St. Louis.

Geri L. Dreiling’s Crime Beat Girl is a fast-paced and exciting story about an established DC reporter who leaves behind a fiance and her hard-earned career to go home again to care for her attorney mom who is battling breast cancer. This well-written and adroitly plotted mystery blends elements of classic hard-boiled detective fiction with the modern realities of family care and starting over. In addition, I enjoyed learning more about the process behind the newspaper business and the investigative journalism Debbie seems so well suited for. Dreiling’s characters are complex and credible, and her storyline is rich in red herrings for armchair detectives to ponder as Debbie tries to connect the crimes that are plaguing her home city. I had a grand time reading this book and was reluctant to put it down until I had finished it. I’m hoping there will be future investigative journalist mysteries featuring Debbie Bradley. Crime Beat Girl is most highly recommended.

Deborah Lloyd

When Debbie Bradley’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, Debbie returned to St. Louis, her hometown, leaving a good job and an engagement behind in Washington, DC. She secured a position as a reporter with River City magazine. The editor assigned her the catchy name, Crime Beat Girl, although she did not like it. But she was committed to expanding this position, both in the magazine and on social media. While driving to an interview, she witnessed a stolen car accident, becoming both witness and reporter. Debbie also needed to make connections with the police department and city officials, as well as with neighborhood communities. Responding to police calls, she also was a familiar, and often unwelcome, presence to Detective Daniel Flannery and Officer Toni Parker. As events unfolded, Debbie became a target of a criminal ring. In the thrilling mystery novel, Crime Beat Girl, written by Geri L. Dreiling, a riveting tale emerges.

This book is a page-turner, engaging the reader from the first page to the last. The writer skillfully packed a great deal of exciting action in an easy to read story. The main characters, both likable and unlikable, have intriguing personalities. Debbie’s mother, Beth, is a well-respected attorney and a widow, now battling cancer. Daniel Flannery can be gruff, but he also displays a caring side at times. Other characters can appear to be on the right side of the law, but are not, providing surprising twists and turns. Author Geri L. Dreiling has written a fun, fascinating mystery novel in Crime Beat Girl.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Debbie has a great career as a reporter in D.C., but when her mother gets sick with cancer, she makes the difficult decision to return home to St. Louis to help her through the treatments and recovery. Taking a job as a local reporter for a small-time magazine, she feels like she’s stepping down, but as her inquisitive nature (something she inherited from two hot-shot lawyer parents) leads her to one crime scene after another, her column becomes more of a local crime column than a collection of society stories. And these crime stories not only earn her the title of Crime Beat Girl, but they also get her into considerable trouble, threatening her life as her inquisitive nature leads her closer to the really big crime happening in the small town of St. Louis.

Geri L. Dreiling’s novel, Crime Beat Girl, is a fast-actioned mystery. The main character, Debbie, is a strong woman, full of drive and creative, inquisitive energy. The character is well developed throughout the novel via descriptive narrative and compelling dialogue. Her relationship with her mother makes an interest secondary plot, as the two learn to live with each other once again and learn how to benefit from one another’s company and individual perspectives on life, on the law, and on crime. The cast of characters is considerable and somewhat extensive and complex at times, but each new character introduced is well developed. The author has a good knowledge of the legal system and the law, which comes across well in the writing. This is an intense crime story full of unexpected twists and turns as the plot develops to a compelling climax and satisfactory resolution.