Crime Beat by Scott Nicholson

There is a new reporter in the Appalachian town of Sycamore Shade. His name is John Moretz and it seems that his arrival has sparked an unprecedented crime wave in this quiet town. When a body is discovered, guess who is first on the scene? That’s right, John Moretz. As more victims pile up, the town and the paper editor become suspicious of the new guy on the beat.

Crime Beat is a fantastic novella that kept me guessing until the final page. Scott Nicholson keeps the pacing lightning fast and the chapters incredibly short. This makes it almost impossible to walk away from the story without finishing. The man truly is a master story teller- he ropes you in with his good natured wit and then ties you down with a ridiculously fun who-dunnit style story.

The plot is a whirlwind of red herrings and intrigue. I have never been a fan of crime novels because most take themselves a bit too seriously with wordy descriptions and meandering dialogue. Nicholson is able to take the mystery of the crime story but eliminate much of the superfluous details that tend to make them drag on. A perfect formula in my book!

Nicholson fills up the suspenseful story with some original character. He brings them to life with his insightful description and the witty dialogue. I felt like I was a resident of Sycamore Shade as I got to know the mayor, police chief and newspaper editor. Each was given a very distinct personality which is quite an accomplishment considering the length of the story. I found myself getting frustrated with the politics of the small town while cheering for the lil’ newspaper that could. This really is a testament to Nicholson’s easy going style and authentic style.

In all, Crime Beat is a fun read. The story is airtight and the writing keeps the whole thing moving. There is an abundance of humor, violence and surprises but, above all, Crime Beat is an example of true master spinning a well written yarn.

Highly recommended!

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About Pat Dreadful

Father of three. Impregnator of one. Pat lives in the backwoods of Pennsylvania where he splits his time between moonshining and moonlighting. He used to be the sole proprietor of a funky little site called Grade Z Horror but jumped at the chance to work with Meli and Colum. He was raised on King and Crichton but quickly found true salvation in the works of Ketchum and Laymon. When not selling plasma to afford those highly sought after Jeff Strand limited editions, Pat can be found sitting on his back porch with a pipe full of Perique and the sounds of summer coming through a beat up transistor radio. Simply put, he is a true ramblin’ boy of pleasure. The books that have shaped Pat’s warped lil’ ol’ mind have included Dweller by Jeff Strand, It by Stephen King, Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon, The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon and The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum. Pat is always on the lookout for a good coming-of-age yarn so shoot your suggestions to You can also follow his unsavory exploits over at

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