R. G. Belsky is an author of crime fiction and a journalist in New York City. His new suspense thriller, SHOOTING FOR THE STARS, is being published by Atria on August 11. It is the latest in a series of books featuring Gil Malloy, a hard-driving newspaper reporter with a penchant for breaking big stories on the front page of the New York Daily News. The first book in the Gil Malloy series – THE KENNEDY CONNECTION – was published in 2014 and an ebook novella titled THE MIDNIGHT HOUR came out in February 2015. Belsky himself is a former managing editor at the Daily News and writes about the media from an extensive background in newspapers, magazines and TV/digital news. At the Daily News, he also held the titles of metropolitan editor and deputy national editor. Before that, he was metropolitan editor of the New York Post and news editor at Star magazine. Belsky was most recently the managing editor for news at NBCNews.com. His previous suspense novels include PLAYING DEAD and LOVERBOY. He lives in New York City.
Some thirty years ago, movie star Laura Marlowe was shot to death by a crazed fan in New York City, who then killed himself. The police ruled it a murder-suicide, the case was closed, and the beloved starlet faded away into history. But when New York Daily News reporter Gil Malloy re-investigates Marlowe’s death, long-buried secrets emerge and he begins to uncover the trail of a new serial killer. And more people are dying. Now, before he can solve the current crimes, Gil must find out what really happened to Laura Marlowe all those years ago.
O.J. AND ME By R. G. Belsky
I’ve never met O.J. Simpson. But I feel like I’ve known him all my life. All three O.J.s. The beloved football superstar of the ‘70s. The accused murderer from the Trial of the Century in the 90s. And the O.J. who sits in a jail cell in Nevada today.
My new suspense thriller, SHOOTING FOR THE STARS (Atria – August 11), is about a celebrity crime. I tell the story of a tabloid newspaper reporter named Gil Malloy who links the long-ago murder of a legendary Hollywood movie star to a series of present-day celebrity killings. I draw on a number of real-life celebrity murders – most notably John Lennon and Sharon Tate – in my fictional story.
But it also brings back memories of the most amazing celebrity crime case I ever covered as a journalist – the murders of O.J. ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.
My first connection with O.J. came when I wrote a biography of him while he was the most famous athlete in America as a star NFL running back with the Buffalo Bills, budding movie star and TV pitchman for Hertz rental cars (who can forget those old commercials of him running through an airport!) and a lot of other products. I told the inspirational tale of how he had risen from a San Francisco ghetto to fame and fortune; talked about him being humble, kind and a loving family man; and lavished praise on him for being a wonderful role model for American youth. Hey, who knew back then?
Then, in 1994, I was a tabloid news editor at Star magazine when his ex-wife Nicole was murdered. I dispatched a reporter to the scene who said the police had found blood on his property that might be linked to the murder – and O.J. could be a suspect. It all exploded a few days later with the White Bronco chase on the freeways of LA, the O.J. murder trial that became must-see TV; and the colorful cast of characters that emerged in the case like Johnny Cochran, Kato Kaelin and all the rest. We ran O.J. Simpson on the front page of the Star for more than a year.
By the time of the final sad chapter in the O.J. story, I was an editor for NBC news websites. We covered exhaustively his trial, conviction and sentencing for a bizarre botched armed robbery attempt in Las Vegas to retrieve some of his football memorabilia. Of course, the bald, aging O.J we saw in the Nevada courtroom by then was a lot different than the charismatic football hero who won America’s hearts so many years ago. But O.J. Simpson was still making big news.
Now in my book, SHOOTING FOR THE STARS, I tell the celebrity crime story of Laura Marlowe – a young Julia Roberts like actress – who was gunned down by a crazed stalker on the streets of New York City in a scene reminiscent of the John Lennon slaying.
Or was she?
Newspaper reporter Gil Malloy uncovers evidence there was much more to the slaying – and that the real killer could be responsible for many other celebrity deaths. Among the suspects are a crazed Charles Manson-like group of fanatics; a brutal mob boss; and greedy family members of Laura Marlowe who are still making a fortune on the Laura’s Marlowe name after her death.
But the truth is that no matter how many twists and turns and crazy characters I put into my novel, I’m still not sure they can ever match the amazing but true story of O.J. Simpson.
I mean just think about the O.J. storyline for a potential celebrity crime book or movie plot. The man goes from poverty to riches and then bankruptcy; from obscurity to fame and then infamy; from a ghetto to a Hollywood mansion and finally to a jail cell. And it all really happened.
Now if O.J. could only find Nicole’s real killer….