Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Hank Phillippi Ryan's books never disappoint. Her Charlie McNally mysteries featuring a TV investigative reporter in Boston were always terrific stories. She's gone onto greater success with the new series featuring newspaper reporter Jane Ryland and Police Detective Jake Brogran. Last year's  The Other Woman won the Mary Higgins Clark Award and is a nominee for four other mystery awards. Honestly? Her new book, The Wrong Girl, is even better than The Other Woman. It's riveting, fast-paced, and each chapter launches the reader headlong into another chapter of action and suspense.

When Tucker Cameron was fired from the Register for sleeping with a source, it was a warning for Jane. Both she and Detective Jake Brogran knew their careers were safe only as long as their relationship remained a secret. Now, Tuck was demanding Jane's help with some screwy story about her birth mother not really being her birth mother. It was hard for Jane to stay interested in Tuck's strange account when there were real stories out there. Take the story that Jane covered on a snowy February day. Jake and his partner, Paul DeLuca, were called to handle the case of a woman killed in her kitchen, leaving a three-year-old and a one-year-old behind. All the media showed up for the news conference. Leave it to Jane to ask the crucial question. Who called 9-1-1?

And, leave it to Jane to get enough information to receive a threatening phone call. It was that call that led to her suspension for a few days from the paper while the powers-to-be decided how to handle it. So, she had time to devote to Tuck's story that an adoption agency sent her to find her mother, only for Tuck to know something was wrong. Jane's heart just isn't into Tuck's investigation. That threatening phone call, a break-in at her apartment, and a truck following too close on the road, lead Jane to suspect she's close to finding answers in the story of the woman killed in her kitchen.Tuck's simple comment that she was "The wrong girl" in the adoption match-up leads Jane Ryland on a strange path. While Jake is handling too many murders associated with an adoption agency, while trying to find answers in his original case, neither Jake nor Jane have enough time to consult each other, and realize their cases are leading in the same direction.

Ryan wrings every ounce of suspense out of this compelling story, and just when the reader thinks it's heading in one direction, she twists it again. The Wrong Girl is a dramatic story that keeps the reader turning pages faster and faster, trying to put together all the pieces of the puzzle. In this case, there are too many odd pieces that don't fit until Jake and Jane come together in a dramatic conclusion. Ryan, an investigative reporter herself, knows how to write a story that forces the characters, and the reader, to follow leads in a story. In this case, a reporter and a police detective work beautifully together. Ryan's style of allowing each of them to tell what they uncover carries the reader along, uncovering the clues right along with Jane and Jake. The Wrong Girl is a suspenseful story, and one of the must-reads of the fall for any of us who like action-packed suspense with a team of characters. Hank Phillippi Ryan never misses a step in this complex, beautifully written novel.

Hank Phillippi Ryan's website is www.HankPhillippiRyan.com.

The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan. Tom Doherty Associates. 2013. ISBN 9780765332585 (hardcover), 368p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The author gave me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Karen C said...

I love Ms. Ryan's books, just struggle keeping up with all the books I want to read.

Lesa said...

Oh, I understand that struggle, Karen. Sometimes I just have to set everything else aside so I can read the book I most want to read.