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About The Book

The Newsroom meets Gone Girl” (Cosmopolitan) in this stunning psychological thriller featuring a young television producer investigating the disappearance of a beautiful Georgetown lawyer—perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn.

When brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly, “a tenacious, lovable heroine” (Publishers Weekly, starred review), receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t help but suspect that the lawyer may be at the heart of something far more sinister. When she realizes that she is the only one at her studio who seems to care, Knightly decides to investigate on her own.

Risking her career, her life, and perhaps even her own sanity, Knightly dives deep into the dark underbelly of Washington, DC business and politics in an investigation that will drag her mercilessly through the inextricable webs of corruption that bind the press, the police, and politics in our nation’s capital.

Harkening to dark thrillers such as Luckiest Girl Alive and Big Little Lies, The Cutaway is a ravishingly suspenseful thriller.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Cutaway includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


When brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t seem to shake the image from her head. Despite skepticism from her colleagues, Knightly suspects this ambitious young lawyer may be at the heart of something far more sinister, especially since she was last seen leaving an upscale restaurant after a domestic dispute. Yet, as the only woman of power at her station, Knightly quickly finds herself investigating on her own.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Neely Tucker, Washington Post national desk correspondent and author of Only the Hunted Run, said The Cutaway “rolls through the murky waters of DC media and politics that Christina Kovac knows so well.” What role, if any, do you think the city of DC played in the story? Do you think this mystery would have played out differently if it took place in your city? If so, how?

2. As we’re introduced to Virginia Knightly, she says of Evelyn Carney, “I didn’t know the woman. I’d never met her . . . somehow I got hooked at that first glimpse of her.” Why do you think Virginia fixated on Evelyn Carney’s case in particular? What does Virginia have in common with Evelyn Carney? How do they differ?

3. In Chapter 14, we see a glimpse into the tumultuous relationship between Virginia and her father. How do you think the events of her childhood have contributed to her current life? How, if at all, do you think it has impacted her approach to the Evelyn Carney case?

4. On page 155, Virginia wakes up from a nightmare:

Last night I dreamed I was swimming in the river. In the distance, a woman was drifting facedown. I wanted to help her, but the tide was working against me, and with each stroke, she seemed farther away from my reach. It was hopeless, there wasn’t enough time, and suddenly I was there, as happens only in dreams. My hands were on her shoulders, turning her, the long and tangled hair covering her face. I brushed her hair away to find her eyes were alive and open, a summer-sky blue, and she gasped a deep gulp of air.

It was my mother.

How would you interpret this dream? Why do you think her mother comes to life? How does this relate to Virginia’s circumstances in that moment?

5. Would you consider Virginia Knightly is better equipped for a fight or for love? Why?

6. Virginia and Ben have very different approaches to their jobs and even their relationships. How would you characterize both of them as individuals? How do their differences positively and negatively affect their partnership? Which personality, if any, do you believe is more fitting to the role of a journalist? In which character do you see more of yourself?

7. On page 65, Virginia says to their intern, “You’re a female journalist. Under no circumstances can you show emotion. Do you understand?” How does this speak to the challenges of being a professional woman? What are some of the biggest obstacles female journalists face? How does this impact Virginia’s career? How does it impact Moira’s? Heather’s?

8. Throughout the novel, we see many different purveyors of justice, including the police (Michael), journalists (Virginia), and law firms (Paige). How do you believe each character would define “justice”? How does their definition of justice impact their actions? How would you define justice?

9. The Cutaway gives readers a look at the inner workings of a TV newsroom. On page 10, when describing her job, Virginia says, “For me, it has always been about telling stories, no matter where you do it—in front of the camera or behind it—and it’s the best gig going. You hold on to it for as long as you can, knowing that one morning you can wake up at the pinnacle, and by nightfall, you’re clinging to your career by your fingertips. In a snap, just like that.” What surprised you most about the world of television journalism? In your opinion, what is the most important role of the journalist? How did this change your view of journalists, if at all?

10. At the end of the novel, Virginia is faced with a difficult decision between romance and her career. Do you think Virginia made the right choice? Why or why not? What would you have done if placed in the same position?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. The Cutaway has been optioned for a television series. Who would you cast in the lead roles? Why? Which scenes in The Cutaway did you find particularly cinematic? Discuss them with your book club.

2. Christina Kovac began her career as a television journalist with Fox 5’s Ten O’Clock News, then an ABC affiliate in Washington DC, and the last nine years working at NBC News providing coverage for Meet the Press, the Today show, Nightly News, and others. In her time as a desk editor and news producer for the Washington Bureau of NBC Network News, she worked on such stories as that of missing DC intern, Chandra Levy. Take a moment to watch clips from these networks. How do you think Christina’s career influenced her writing? How does The Cutaway impact the way you watch the news, if at all?

3. To learn more about Christina Kovac, read reviews of her work, and find her on tour, visit her official site at

About The Author

Photograph by Tina Krohn

Christina Kovac worked for seventeen years managing Washington, DC newsrooms and producing crime and political stories in the District. Her career as television journalist began with Fox Five’s Ten O’Clock News, and after that, the ABC affiliate in Washington. For the last nine years, she worked at NBC News, where she worked for Tim Russert and provided news coverage for Meet the Press, the Today show, Nightly News, and others. Christina Kovac lives with her family outside of Washington, DC. The Cutaway is her first novel.

Product Details

  • Publisher: 37 Ink (March 21, 2017)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501141713

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Raves and Reviews

The Newsroom meets Gone Girl

– Cosmopolitan

"A crackling thriller."

– B&N Reads, March's Best New Thrillers

"An insider's look at TV news and the real workings of Washington DC, The Cutaway combines relentless pace, a compelling story, and a truly memorable protagonist.  Terrific."

– Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Suspicion and The Switch

"Readers will want to see more of this tenacious, lovable heroine."

– Publishers Weekly STARRED Review

"A smart, highly satisfying story of crime, politics, the media, and ruthless ambition. With an insider’s knowledge of how to do everything from produce a live TV shoot, trade tips with cops during an investigation, or navigate the complex dynamics of gender in the modern workplace, Kovac brings intelligence and breathless plotting to The Cutaway. The result is sensational, in the best sense of the word."

– Thomas Mullen, author of DARKTOWN

"THE CUTAWAY" is as clever as its title, a smart, fast-paced thriller that rolls through the murky waters of D.C. media and politics that Christina Kovac knows so well.  Virginia Knightly, the television news producer at the heart of this story, makes her debut with all the panache and style you wish the evening news still had."

– Neely Tucker, author of Only The Hunted Run and Washington Post national desk correspondent

“Former D.C. newsroom manager Kovac knows her milieu and portrays it vividly in this smart, absorbing mix of media, politics, and mystery, with twists and turns to the end.”

– Booklist

"A fast-paced and exciting story set in the glitz, glamour, and danger of DC.” 

– E.P. Clarke

“A great story that has romance, intrigue, and great dialogue. It is also a walking tour of the nation’s capital and a peek behind the scenes of politics, justice, and the news business.”


“...a fast-paced, engrossing adult mystery whose biggest strengths are its top-notch writing, a noble protagonist, and the many fascinating insights Kovac shares about the world of television journalism.” 

– Eve Messenger’s OtherWORDly Endeavors

“...this will appeal to readers who enjoy (Paula) Hawkins and (Gillian) Flynn, though Kovac has her own voice.”

– Mirkat Always Reading

"Fast-paced and captivating,”

– RT Book Reviews

“This book tics a lot of items on my list: DC based-check, murder mystery-check, bulldog investigative journalist-check, legal thriller-check. Lot to like about this. Sure do hope Kovac isn’t a one & done."

– Men Reading Books

“Cosmopolitan called it ‘The Newsroom’ meets ‘Gone Girl.’ They are wrong. It is better."

– Andrew Boylan

"I would be hard-pressed to find a book more timely than The Cutaway." 

– BOLO Books

“Smart, strong, well drawn women characters add an extra dimension to this page-turning thriller, looking at the greed and power of the politically connected through a feminist lens.” “Smart, strong, well drawn women characters add an extra dimension to this page-turning thriller, looking at the greed and power of the politically connected through a feminist lens.” 

– Genrefluent

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