Book Review: Bad Publicity by Brian C. Baer

Book Review: Bad Publicity by Brian C. Baer ★★★★☆

Completely ignoring what my mother, every schoolteacher I’ve ever had, and the old idiom say, I chose to read this book purely based on its cover. Well, that might not be completely true, but the cover didn’t dissuade me, at the very least.

Bad Publicity follows Jackson Hardy, an unethical, hack journalist who sleazes his way from story to story, as he tries to break his next big scoop. Aided by Madame Blue, a ghost who inhabits his fax machine, Jackson is able to see behind closed doors to get stories others deem impossible. The premise is interesting, and the story was enjoyable. Here is my review for Reader’s Favorite:

Jackson Hardy is a hack writer for the supermarket tabloid ‘Our Spinning World’. He claims to be after the truth, but in this sensationalist rag, Bad Publicity is what generates sales. His current target is silver screen icon Zachary Bachman, Jr. and his goal is to find a scandal -at any cost. Jackson’s search for a tantalizing headline puts him in contact with an eclectic group of characters: The fawning receptionist, Melodie, his ex-wife, Layla, media darling, Lisandra Clarke, falling starlet, Red Bellaire, and the spectral ‘Madame Blue’ all aid him in his quest in one way or another, but as he soon discovers, not always with his best interests in mind. As he gathers ever more dirt on Bachman, Hardy begins to realize that there may be more to Bachman’s story than just a two-bit, hack headline.

Baer has a penchant for metaphors and uses them to brilliantly portray the characters and locations in Bad Publicity. Baer has a sharp, concise writing style which allows him to masterfully weave each scene in vivid detail. Bad Publicity is a story worthy of the big screen, with an interesting and unique plot that kept me guessing from start to finish. Each of the characters has a depth that really brought them to life and left me wanting to know more about them. The tantalizing complexity of the characters left me feeling that the story wasn’t quite finished when the last scene ended. With elements of a ghost story, love story and hard-boiled detective novel, Bad Publicity has a little something for everyone.

As mentioned near the end of the second paragraph, it felt like the story wasn’t really over. The line I had originally penned was, ‘The ending has more loose threads than a second-hand suit’. I used that particular phrasing because it was consistent with the tone of the story. I removed that line from the review because it seemed a bit crass, but the fates of most of the characters is unknown when the story ends. Nonetheless, it was an excellent story and well worth the read.