When Hank Phillippi Ryan sets out to weave a story of suspense, you can bet it will become a gorgeous tapestry of deception, lies, and fascinating characters, with snippets of the truth. All those elements come together beautifully in her latest novel, Truth Be Told.
Reporter Jane Ryland is now the only reporter assigned to the Boston Register's new online video news department. She and TJ, the new videographer, are filming a recently foreclosed house as part of the ongoing story about the housing crisis, watching the sheriff's department empty the contents. Jane finds it disturbing, but it's even more disturbing when there's a flurry of activity, and, along with an ambulance, Homicide Detective Jake Brogan shows up. Now, there's an added element to Jane's story. It's the second foreclosed house with a body in it.
Jake is relieved to turn that investigation over to someone else when he becomes involved in another case. An ex-con has turned himself in, claiming to be the Lilac Sunday killer, responsible for the murder of a seventeen-year-old girl twenty years earlier, a case that continues to haunt Boston, and the Brogans because Jake's grandfather was police commissioner at the time. But, something feels wrong about the confession, and Jake's afraid the man's confession may be a lie.
Lies, half-truths, half of a story. Everyplace Jane and Jake look, they're frustrated by the bits and pieces of the story. Their plans to be together are put on hold because of Jake's case, but, since they can't talk about their investigations with each other, it only leads to misunderstandings and hurt. And, it doesn't help that Peter Hardesty, an attorney, seems to be everywhere, involved in both of Jake's stories, and, maybe Jane's life.
Jane and Jake, with a little help from Hardesty, follow all the threads in this absorbing story, a story that intertwines the housing crisis, murder, a cold case, and family. Then there's the question; what is truth? Do we recognize truth when we see it, or has it been manipulated? How important is the truth? Law enforcement and the media may both have their own versions of "truth".
Once again, Hank Phillippi Ryan tells a unique, riveting story. The reader is compelled to follow all the various strands of story in a book with intriguing characters. How will Ryan manage to bring all those strands together; housing, banking, murders, and cold cases? Hank Phillippi Ryan is a skilled storyteller, deftly leading her characters and the reader to a surprising climax. And, while she weaves together all the best elements of a story; drama, intrigue, and those characters she writes so well, she continues to taunt us with those questions about truth, right to the last sentence. Truth Be Told is the finest novel yet from this amazing, award-winning storyteller.
Hank Phillippi Ryan's website is www.hankphillippiryan.com
Truth Be Told by Hank Phillippi Ryan. Forge. 2014. ISBN 978065374936 (hardcover) 400p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.