Wednesday, October 03, 2007
It's not often that a mystery brings tears to your eyes, but Hank Phillippi Ryan's second book, Face Time, does just that. It takes a special character to make a reader care about their life.
Charlotte "Charlie" McNally is back, eight months after Prime Time, still working for Channel 3 in Boston as an investigative reporter. Charlie has to answer a question for herself. "When it comes to ambition, politics, and love, how far would you go to get what you want?" And, then she has to ask the same question while probing into a woman's conviction for murder. Three years earlier, Dorinda Keeler Sweeney confessed to her husband's murder, and she hasn't spoken about it since. The Constitutional Justice Project, and Dorinda's attorney are convinced it's a wrongful conviction, and they convince Charlie and her producer, Franklin Parrish, to investigate. However, Dorinda refuses to talk to them. And, someone in the attorney general's office is blocking the investigation. Now that Oscar Ortega, the state's first Hispanic attorney general is running for governor, he might have a reason to impede their case.
Hank Phillippi Ryan skillfully manipulates Charlie's life. Even the title of the book, Face Time, has multiple meanings. Face Time is plastic surgery. It's the pictures used to identify Dorinda as a killer. It's the personal time Charlie realizes she needs to give to the people in her life, her mother, her boyfriend, Josh, and Penny. And, of course, it's the triumph of an investigative reporter who brings home a scoop, a ratings success during television sweeps.
Charlie McNally is every woman in her forties, trying to balance her hectic work life with the needs of two generations. Her mother recuperates in the hospital, following plastic surgery before her wedding. Charlie is struggling to meet the needs of her boyfriend's eight-year-old daughter, Penny. At times, she sounds absolutely frantic, juggling phone calls. Ryan's Face Time is Charlie McNally's story. However, it's a mystery for every woman who struggles with life, and triumphs over obstacles and opposition.
Hank Phillippi Ryan's website is www.hankphillippiryan.com
Face Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan. Harlequin, ©2007. ISBN 978-0-373-88142-7 (paperbck), 282p.