Rachel Bentley is a TV news reporter who desperately wants to become a newsreader. With a notoriously temperamental new boss on his way, she finally gets her shot at doing hourly updates. But as her professional life takes an upswing, her personal life with her layabout boyfriend, Tim, isn’t going particularly well. Maybe she needs to turn her attention to someone else – like the ever-helpful editor Mitch. As the story continues to track Rachel’s ambitions to rise up the TV news chain and her messy social life, it takes a more sinister turn when an overly ardent admirer starts sending her increasingly disturbing letters. Despite the promising storyline, I can’t say this book delivered on expectations. Many of the time lapses between chapters seemed unnecessary – six months would go by and absolutely nothing had progressed in the characters’ lives when we were returned to them – perhaps they had been left in a state of suspended animation. So it would have made no difference if we turned the page and it was simply the following Monday. The author’s newsreading background has injected into the story all the colour and conflict of a newsroom but the stalker plot was a fizzer for me since it was obvious right away who it was. Journalists are usually a savvy and nosy bunch – so the fact no one figured it out, or cared enough to do so, simply left me shaking my head.
Making Headlines, the debut novel by Australian radio announcer and former TV newsreader Jennifer Hansen, warns: Be careful what you wish for - your dream job could become your biggest nightmare. The synopsis says: "Working as a TV reporter has its challenges, but when Rachel Bentley decides to aim high and become a newsreader, she faces a whole new minefield of explosive scenarios. Rachel's path sees her pitched against egos in the newsroom, office politics and corrupt politicians, not to mention rampant sexism, and a mystery stalker. Juggling a messy personal life doesn't help, nor does the emotional impact of reporting on life's tragedies and when it all takes a toll and Rachel starts partying too hard, she finds herself making the headlines instead of reading them. Will she survive a world where dreams are shattered daily and will she find the man who can help her keep her soul?" Making Headlines is out in February 2016. Hansen is married to actor Alan Fletcher, who plays Dr Karl Kennedy in Neighbours.