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Don’t Try This at Home

February 9th, 2009 · 2 Comments · LANG, Sports Journalism

A former colleague of mine, recently laid off but, thankfully, just now back in journalism … has what I consider to be a great idea for a murder-mystery novel.

I’m going to put the idea up here so that if/when someone else does it, my colleague and I and everyone who has read this entry will know my colleague thought of it first!

Here’s the synopsis:

Print media executives are being murdered across the country. Killed in a variety of horrible yet particularly fitting ways. (Think of the movie “Seven” and conjure your least favorite newspaper bosses …)

One is found with a pica pole protruding from his chest. (“Geez, who’s the dummy now?”)

Another is pulped in an offset press at a shuttered printing plant. (“Guess he forgot to shout ‘Stop the presses!'”)

A third is decapitated by an old-fashioned photo wheel. (“Gives new meaning to ‘a really ugly crop.'”)

Others are riddled by lead stolen from a hot-type exhibit in a museum … or left to starve to death, manacled to a dusty desk inside a shuttered news room … or run over by a newspaper delivery truck stolen from the junkyard it was sold to the week before.

Some of those murdered are people currently in the biz. Some are former moguls who constructed the business models that got print into the fix it is today. (Having worked for Gannett for a couple of decades, and MediaNews for another decade, I can think of some potential targets. Oh, yeah.)

And the irony is … it is a print reporter who first realizes these far-flung murders are part of a pattern, and who solves the case after taking leave (his/her current paper won’t assign the reporter to the case), eventually tracking down the ingenious yet totally mad (or is he/she?) laid off journalist-turned-serial killer.

Could have a love interest here, too — the FBI agent who will never solve the crime because he or she can’t get inside the head of the laid-off journo.

Our hero bursts in just before some really reptilian print entrepreneur/publisher/editor (again, fill in the blank yourself) is, oh, trussed up and about to be lowered into a boiling vat of ink. Red ink. “Hold it!” the hero will shout. “Sure, he’s got it coming, but murder is still against the law — at least at my paper!”

Anyway, I love this idea. For one, the suspects would number in the tens of thousands. And we could investigate how conflicted the crime-solving reporter is, because, yes, all of these guys deserve to have something bad happen to them, and maybe the murderer is more avenging angel than cold-blooded killer …

So, there you are. Now we need a title.

How about “–30–“? Or “endit”?

Or maybe it ought to be “Dead Line.”

Maybe my colleague, who came up with this idea, can get a cameo when the blockbuster movie is made.


2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ian // Feb 9, 2009 at 12:36 PM

    Jill had an idea that a murderer killed newsies by sending poisoned free food. She got the idea after watching Nate eat a sandwich with mayo one day. seriously.

    just make sure dean and zell are on the death list.

  • 2 David Lassen // Feb 9, 2009 at 9:45 PM

    Funny, I was just thinking about something along these lines the other day, except it was the murder of a single Singleton- or Zell-like character and the challenge of wading through the hundreds (thousands?) of people with a motive.

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