Monday, August 20, 2007

Prime Time

Hank Phillippi Ryan, the Emmy® award winning televison reporter, introduces readers to another investigative reporter in Prime Time, her first Charlie McNally mystery. And Ryan has another success on her hands.

Charlotte McNally is Boston's TV 3 investigative reporter. She's been on top for twenty-some years, always looking for the big story to win the ratings war. But, she's forty-six now, with a bitchy news director, and Charlie isn't sure she's still camera material. She needs a big story for the November sweeps, or she may be swept out herself.

While reporting the morning news, she notices a story about a missing man who works for Azratech Pharmaceuticals. Mentally, she adds that story to her list of possible stories for sweeps week. The story appears to be a no go when the police say the man died in a car accident, an apparent suicide. However, Melanie Foreman, the man's widow, says differently. She claims her accountant husband sent emails to Charlie before his death, and had work files that mean nothing to her. Within a short time, Charlie and her producer/friend, Franklin, are digging into a weird story involving emails, accidental deaths, and interesting patterns of property ownership. When Franklin is attacked in his parking lot, Charlie knows they have a story. But, can Charlie trust anyone, even the attractive English teacher who also received email? This investigative piece has the potential to not only end Charlie's career, but also her life.

Ryan is an expert at tracking Charlie's progress in the investigation. Prime Time is a compelling mystery. And, I'll be waiting for her next mystery, Face Time, in October.

I'll also be watching for the return of Charlie McNally. At forty-six, she's experienced, an award winner, and on the top of her game. She's also insecure and vulnerable when it comes to her job. Charlie's identity is totally tied to her work. Franklin's partner shrewdly questions her about her life, and she realizes she's alone. All she has is a career that is threatening to women when they age. Charlie realizes that women in journalism often make choices, fame or family. Charlie is looking not just at one last chance in her career, but also at what may be one last chance at love. Hank Phillippi Ryan has brought us a character mature women can root for. Let's hope the next time we see Charlotte McNally, in Face Time, she'll have another fascinating mystery, and an equally enjoyable personal life. Charlie's a winner. As Ryan, and Charlie, have shown, forty-six is a woman's Prime Time.

Hank Phillippi Ryan's website is

Prime Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan. Harlequin, ©2007, ISBN 978-0-373-88135-2 (paperback), 276p.

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