Why is Vice Report — the mystery — set at Vice Report, a true crime site?
a mystery by CX Wood
Mona Breen, crime reporter
Vice Report is the true-crime site where Mona Breen, my female crime investigator, works as a reporter. She is conflicted about this job. But her boss, Grant Renard, wants her to stay. She has a gift for the work. And he likes her.
“We look at whatever the seamy underbelly of our culture is at any given moment and push the envelope just a tiny bit. If we hit the edge—exactly—of what the vast majority of people consider to be vice, we win. And when we win, we get clicks, advertisers, and money.”Grant Renard, Publisher of true-crime site Vice Report
He can see she is on the fence. So he tries to persuade her to believe in his cause and stay. It’s not just a job, for him, it’s a mission.
Vice is slippery work. Writers define it.
Grant is such a fan of Lou Grant, the TV character, that he calls Mona “Mare” and keeps a bottle of scotch in his desk drawer as an homage to the character and the show.
He explains why he does it, hoping to get her to stay:
“‘Ours is slippery work,” Grant said. “We look at whatever the seamy underbelly of our culture is at any given moment and push the envelope just a tiny bit. If we hit the edge—exactly—of what the vast majority of people consider to be a vice, we win. And when we win, we get clicks, advertisers, and money. If we push too far, we lose advertisers who can’t be ‘seen’ associating with us. If we don’t push hard enough, we lose readers—er clicks—as people go to more stately sites for not-so-edgy news.
The slippery line toward Vice
“Vice laws govern the hard line. But we manage the slippery one. And the slippery one is all over the place right now. Underage kids are sent to prison for having consensual sex with their also underage girlfriends. Our president is a rapist.
“This schism is the very psyche of our culture. Our concept of vice reflects our collective conscience. That is why I started this site. Yes, we cover the everyday crimes. But we push the idea of vice. We talk, every day, about our conscience. What we think is right and what we think is wrong…'”
Spoiler: Mona Breen stays at her job.
This is a five-book series. Book one is available on Amazon
This post was updated in April 2023