Wednesday, September 05, 2012
The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Jane Ryland was a successful TV reporter in Boston until she refused to give up a source. When she and the TV station lost a lawsuit, she was fired, disgraced, and forced to take a job at the Boston Register to make ends meet. And, she wasn't even the reporter covering the big stories, such as the crime story about bodies of women found at bridges. Instead, she was relegated to covering the Senate race. Even then, she was trying to get an interview with Governor Lassiter's wife, not even the candidate himself. But, Jane thought she might have an unusual angle when she noticed the same woman in a red coat appearing over and over again in photos from the campaign trail. Who was that woman?
Detective Jake Brogan insisted there wasn't a serial killer in Boston. Two women had been found dead near bridges, and Tuck, the top reporter for the Register, insisted on writing about the "Bridge Killer". Jake didn't think Jane would have jumped to such conclusions. However, since she was fired at Channel 11, Jane certainly wasn't doing the crime reporting at the Register. But, a third victim has an unexpected link to Jane Ryland.
As much as Jake would like to get together with Jane, she fears for their jobs. However, her coverage of the Senate campaign, and her bull-dogged determination to find the woman in the red coat leads in odd directions. And, some of those directions lead back to Jake Brogan's investigation of the women who died near bridges.
I could tell you half the plot of this marvelous book, and you would still be surprised. Hank Phillippi Ryan's book takes more unexpected turns than most suspense novels. Jane Ryland's first investigative piece for the Register turns out to be one that could destroy a campaign. And, it started as a fluff piece that took a turn no one could believe, including Jane Ryland and Jake Brogan.
What I can tell you is that, once again, Hank Phillippi Ryan brilliantly covers the investigative angle in a book. Jane Ryland comes alive as a determined journalist, gutsy and ethical. While Ryan allows readers to see the various angles of this story coming together through the eyes of five different characters, Jane is the linchpin. And, the story works beautifully because she knows how an investigative piece does come together, a little from this person, a little information from that one. And, all of those angles keep the reader, along with Jane and Jake, in the dark.
In so many crime novels, the protagonist depends on a police officer for information. And, Jake and Jane are attracted to each other. But, Jane sees the disadvantage to that relationship that often isn't mentioned in other books. "If they were...together? Both their careers would be over. She'd never be able to cover the crime beat. No one would believe he wasn't feeding her confidential stuff. He'd know things he couldn't tell, and so would she. They'd never quite trust each other." No matter what the attraction, Jane Ryland understands the danger of a relationship with Jake Brogan.
Danger can come in many disguises. Ryan skillfully manipulates the story, the twists, and her characters to bring multiple story lines to a successful conclusion. Politics, murder, journalism, crime investigation. There are so many angles to this story. And, the reader really won't realize how many lines are being manipulated until the very end of this superb crime novel.
Standalone? Maybe not. I've purposely avoided reading all reviews of this book, and all interviews with Hank. There are so many directions she could go with future stories featuring Jane Ryland and Detective Jake Brogan. And, maybe those are her plans. I couldn't say since I didn't want to find my enjoyment of this book spoiled. But, no matter what she has planned for the future, now is the time to get on the bandwagon if you haven't already discovered Hank Phillippi Ryan's books. If you're looking for an intriguing crime novel, a suspenseful story that will keep you guessing, pick up The Other Woman.
And, if you're in the Phoenix area, join us for Authors @ The Teague on Monday, Oct. 1 at 2 p.m. when Hank Phillippi Ryan will be our guest author.
Hank Phillippi Ryan's website is www.hankphillippiryan.com
The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan. Forge. 2012. ISBN 9780765332578 (hardcover), 416p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The author and the publisher sent me copies of the book, hoping I would review it.