Today: 23.09.2018
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21.09.2018

The Post inspired this badass new fiction character.

At 13, the heroine of my novel “Grist Mill Road” is the victim of a horrific crime. She is tied to a tree by a boy who then shoots her repeatedly with a BB gun, hitting her 37 times. Unconscious when she is rushed into surgery, Hannah awakes to discover the doctors have removed her...
Time: 12:53     Date: 13.01.2018
US Living News: The Post inspired this badass new fiction character. NY Post 24 - US News

Or, as she says: “I guess you could say my eye got nuked.”

Meet the darkly comic Hannah Jensen, victim of a violent act, eye-patch wearer and, now 39, crime reporter working the Big Apple beat. Once I realized my female lead was a New York City journalist, there was only one place Hannah could work — the New York Post. (Or as I call it in my novel, the New York Mail.)

Tabloids create a world of heroes and villains — you take a side, you pick a fight.

Pictures are blown up as big as life, the spleen exercised when necessary, headlines take aim at the gut.

The day after Charles Manson died, The Post screamed “EVIL DEAD” on its front page. Underneath, slightly smaller words blared: “Make room, Satan: Charles Manson is finally going to hell.”

Hannah could never have worked for a broadsheet like The New York Times, which strives to appeal to our intellect, a more rational reaction to horrific events. (Are victims of crimes supposed to react rationally?) Broadsheets and tabloids are like yin and yang, head and heart. After Charles Manson died, the Times ran the headline, “Charles Manson, 83, Killer Who Lingered In Culture, Is Dead.”

Every day Hannah pounds Gotham’s streets and walks the halls of 1 Police Plaza chatting up cops for the latest leads, her good eye twinkling at them. Too often in the world of popular entertainment the eye patch has symbolized villainy, but Hannah is quite the opposite — her eye patch makes subjects warm to her, sympathize with her. She even makes her own pirate jokes, owning her impairment, refusing to play the victim.

She adores the job of crime reporter: “That’s all I ever wanted to put down on the page,” Hannah says. “The tales of crimes solved, cases closed, and criminals punished.”

In developing Hannah’s character and voice, it helped to have the inside scoop on The Post, where several friends work, including my wife, and I leaned heavily on Michelle Gotthelf, who runs the newsroom. Michelle is the sweetest-seeming, hardest-swearing woman I’ve ever met and helped me out with questions ranging from NYPD helipad spots to the location of the Manhattan South homicide squad. She even explained police tape — vital because, as she told me, in 2009 the NYPD introduced an additional blue-and-white tape, “Police Line Do Not Cross.” However, because my scenes were set in 2008, I had to describe just one kind of tape: yellow, “Crime Scene Do Not Cross.”

How many angry letters and e-mails did that save me?

Cops and the reporters who cover them often share a bond. Hannah has a good friend, Detective Mike McCluskey, who echoes her black sense of humor — the comedy of resolve, of people who have to deal with the abhorrent every day. While McCluskey regales Hannah with the details of body parts found in a tub on the Lower East Side, grateful that the limbs weren’t strewn all over the apartment, he darkly reflects, “Well, at least whoever did this was good enough to take the bath part of bloodbath to heart.”

When Hannah’s childhood tormentor returns to her life 26 years later, she finally wants her own justice lit up in Technicolor. With McCluskey by her side, she heads back to Grist Mill Road, the scene of the original crime, to get closure.

McCluskey insists on doing all the talking and demands that Hannah speak the plan out loud to him.

“When we get there, I’m saying nothing, you do all the talking.”

“Praise be.”

“And then you’re going to shoot him in the eye.”

“Jeez, Hannah, are you f–king kidding me here?”

“Right, it’s a joke, Mike. I’m displaying my awesome ability to retain a sense of humor despite a difficult situation.”

Humor employed in difficult situations — what could be more tabloid than that. The Post’s most famous headline? “Headless Body in Topless Bar.”

Living

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Opinion

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Living

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The best books of the week.
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US Living News: Why the inventor of the labradoodle regretted his creation. NY Post 24 - US News
Why the inventor of the labradoodle regretted his creation.
With its cutesy curls and plaintive eyes, it’s no wonder the labradoodle became America’s second-favorite dog in 2012....
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Business

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Metro

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Sport

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