Author R.G. Belsky is no stranger to thrillers and we have to be honest, some of our favorite crime novels are the Gil Malloy books. Lucky for us, Belsky has returned with the fourth book in the series, Blonde Ice: A Gil Malloy Novel (Atria Books, October 18, 2016) and we are hooked! It’s full of desire, revenge and drama and we couldn’t wait to chat with Belsky about the blonde femme fatale he puts at the center of this exciting book.
Belsky was happy to answer some of our burning questions about his latest addition to the Gil Malloy series, Blonde Ice. See what he had to say below!
BookTrib: What does the title Blonde Ice refer to?
R.G. Belsky: That’s the nickname the media give the killer in my book. Like with other serial killers (Son of Sam, Zodiac), the media always like to give them a headline name. Sometimes it changes – in Son of Sam, it was first “The 44 caliber killer” until he called himself “Son of Sam” in a letter.
BT: Tell us more about this Blonde Ice woman, why does she begin this spree of ruthlessly killing men?
R.G.B.: In the beginning, it appears just to be for the thrill of it. As the book goes on, we learn more about her motivation and desire for revenge against men. But it’s not a traditional motivation like love or money or jealousy. The woman who is Blonde Ice is simply a murderous psychopath – dangerous and frightening, but also (I hope) quite fascinating.
BT: How does she subdue men before killing them — is it all about sex?
R.G.B.: Well, yes, sex is her biggest weapon. She’s a gorgeous blonde woman who flaunts her sexuality to pick up men in bars and other single hangouts – and few can resist her advances. One of the biggest mysteries throughout the book is how she subdues these men after that because there’s no evidence of her using a gun. The answer to that plays a key part in eventually tracking her down and finding out the truth about the murders. But there’s little question that sex is a powerful thing when it comes from a beautiful sexy woman like this.
BT: Why did you decide to write about a serial killer stalking New York City?
R.G.B.: I guess the biggest inspiration for the story was Son of Sam – the most notorious serial killer case of my lifetime. I covered the whole Son of Sam story as a young journalist at the New York Post back in the ‘70s – from the first connection between the murders, to his notes to the media, the terror that consumed the city for months and – finally – his capture during that Summer of Sam in 1977. It was such a huge story, and had such an impact on myself and all New Yorkers, that I thought it would be a great idea to write a thriller about an even more dangerous and cunning serial killer in present day New York.
BT: Why a female serial killer?
R.G.B.: I was fascinated by the fact that there have really been no pure female serial killers in our crime history – that is, women who simply kill for the thrill of it like Son of Sam, Ted Bundy, the Zodiac Killer and so many more infamous names. Most women who’ve killed multiple victims did it for a specific reason – like murdering husbands for insurance money, nurses who killed patients out of some kind “angel” complex etc. The closest there ever was to an actual female serial killer was Aileen Wournos, the prostitute who killed seven men in Florida. But even that began because she claimed the first murder was in self-defense against a man who attacked her.
So I decided to turn the tables in my book. Instead of women living in terror from a crazed man – like Son of Sam or Bundy or Zodiac – I have men in terror of a beautiful, sexy blonde who murders them for no apparent reason.
BT: The hunt for the mass murderer is set against the backdrop of a close political election – with the crime spree being one of the big issues. Was this based on our current controversial world of politics?
R.G.B.: Not really. This is about a mayoral election in New York, and one of the candidates is the person in charge of law enforcement. So he has a huge interest in catching Blonde Ice before she kills again. If he’s successful, he’s a hero and will get elected. If not, he takes the blame. I based this on the way many of our mayors in New York – from Koch to Giuliani to Bloomberg to de Blasio – have been judged by their success in fighting crime in the city. Of course, no one, not even a fiction writer, could have imagined the real life political stuff happening now!
BT: What about the fact that newspapers are disappearing and being replaced by websites and social media as news sources these days? BLONDE ICE is fiction, but does it deal with that real life phenomenon at all?
R.G.B.: It’s impossible to write about the newspaper world these days without addressing that issue. Newspapers are changing rapidly, with people getting their news online more and more. Gil has to deal with this a lot in the book. Instead of just filing a story for the next day’s paper like traditional reporter characters did in the past, I have him tweeting, livestreaming, texting and all the rest on iPads and smart phones. Because that’s the way reporters operate these days. The frantic call to rewrite from a payphone is a thing of the distant past.
BT: What are you best know for as a journalist?
R.G.B.: I’ve had a long and I think reasonably successful career as a journalist. I worked as a top editor at the New York Post, New York Daily News, Star magazine and NBC News. I broke a lot of stories, accomplished a lot of things that I’m pretty proud of. But, if you google me as a journalist, the most hits you’ll find is for my role in the most famous tabloid headline of all time: “HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR.” That front page NY Post headline has become a cult phenomenon – appearing on TV shirts, coffee mugs and even becoming the title of a movie. I didn’t write it but I was there and played a small part in its creation. And yet I am forever linked to it. Go figure!
Check out our BookTrib Author Interview discussing Shooting For The Stars: A Gil Malloy Novel from March 2016, below!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
R.G. Belsky is an author of crime fiction and a journalist in New York City. His new suspense thriller, Blonde Ice, was published by Atria on October 18. It is the latest in a series of books from Atria 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 Shooting For The Stars came out in 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 was the Claymore Award winner at Killer Nashville 2016 and also a Silver Falchion Finalist.