book club

Let’s Revisit Bill O’Reilly’s ’90s Novel About a Villainous TV Newsman Who Murders His Colleagues

Bill O’Reilly. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Hollywood Repor

Owing to numerous sexual-harassment allegations filed against him by women at Fox News, it was announced yesterday that Bill O’Reilly has been let go from the cable-news channel and his popular talk show The O’Reilly Factor. While Fox announced Tucker Carlson will be taking over O’Reilly’s time slot starting Monday, the rest of the media hasn’t yet let go of its fascination with O’Reilly’s rise and subsequent fall from grace, and there’s one particularly eerie bit of information that’s resurfaced. While you may know that O’Reilly has penned the historical Killing series, his first book was a fictional thriller titled Those Who Trespass: A Novel of Television and Murder. The book is a suspenseful psychodrama that chronicles the life of a newsman named Shannon Michaels at the “Global News Network” who begins murdering his former colleagues when he’s fired from the network. Here’s the plot description:

One by one, high-level executives and correspondents are being murdered. Soon it becomes clear that the killings are linked, the work of a bitter former newsman exacting revenge on those who derailed his career. Tommy O’Malley, a tough but warmhearted New York City detective, is assigned to crack the widening, high-profile murder cases, but encounters competition from a beautiful and tenacious tabloid reporter, Ashley Van Buren. As the story unfolds, Tommy and Ashley quickly discover they’ve got much more in common than a knack for solving crimes.

Per a New Yorker feature about O’Reilly in 2006, the novel is described as a “revenge fantasy” that displays “extraordinarily violent impulses” against women and men that also threads in elements of O’Reilly’s real-life Falklands War experience when he worked at CBS News. (He left CBS in the ‘90s after he and his team’s exclusive footage of a riot was allegedly not properly credited in a news report.) Here’s how the magazine also describes some of the book’s murders:

Michaels stalks the woman who forced his resignation from the network and throws her off a balcony. He next murders a television research consultant who had advised the local station to dismiss him: he buries the guy in beach sand up to his neck and lets him slowly drown. Finally, during a break in the Radio and Television News Directors Association convention, he slits the throat of the station manager. O’Reilly describes each of these killings—the careful planning, the suffering of the victim, the act itself—in loving detail.

For what it’s worth, O’Reilly is releasing another, not-yet-titled Killing book in the fall. His publisher’s plans to release it on schedule have “not changed.”

O’Reilly Wrote Book About a Newsman Who Kills His Colleagues