Sunday, February 1, 2015


Hank Phillippi Ryan

Even though this is not Ms. Ryan's most current book, nor my latest read of one of my favorite suspense writers, this was my FIRST book that I read by Hank Phillippi Ryan.  In one of the General Fiction month long reads that I miss so much, Hank joined us on a daily basis as we sleuthed our way through this wonderful who-dun-it.  She charmed us just as readily with her wit as she does with her writing style and her news journalistic style to the greater Boston, MA area.  During that month I, like the rest of the group came to appreciate who Hank truly was and how the uniqueness of her job provided her with the fodder to fill an ongoing series of books with titillating and harrowing stories of a feisty reporter and a curmudgeonly old (?) detective to solve the unsolvable crimes they encountered .  I was hooked.  We have stayed in contact and have shared several additional books since, but I thought I would share this, my first encounter and review of a fabulous sleuth.  

As an avid fan and reader of the suspense/mystery/who-dun-it/thriller type novel, I always pick up and read a new author and measure them against the high and mighty bar of my favorite novelists of this venue who I have followed for years. Few authors are even able to fall in the shadows of the works of such as Clancy, Baldacci, Ludlum, Fleming, and Hillerman. I had the opportunity to read Prime Time recently as a featured book for the General Fiction Board at B&N Book Club. Within a few pages of starting the book I knew I had found such an author and was in for an all-nighter. Hank Ryan set a stage for not just another read. The heroine was not just another young, athletic, fantastic looker that turned every head, but "really had a working brain" under that head of hair. No, this heroine I found believable. She was someone who was hitting that age that "hot jobs" tend to start retiring their stars from, and looking for young blood. But, Charlie, our investigative reporter/undercover sleuth was not ready to go down for the count. The storyline is fast paced and full of real-life humor that only someone who has been in "the business" could truly communicate convincingly. Charlie carries us along for the wild ride with her as she goes after a story that she is investigating. Throw in a little mid-life crisis, a "hunk" that has the ability to sweep her off her feet (and smart, too), and humor that is perfectly paced to and makes you take a deep breath, just when you need to,--- you find yourself a part of the story and not just an observer. Oh, did I say this book is a mystery, suspense, who-dun-it? Yes, it is of the first rate variety. Not even my above mentioned favorites can keep me guessing to the end as to who did it and why most of the time. Ryan kept Charlie (the heroine) and the rest of us jumping, turning, running, guessing, and pulling out paper and pencil to figure out clues down to the final chapters and pages. This was one book that I was grabbing the next page to be ready to turn as soon as I turned the last one. Once I finally figured out who/what/why, I couldn't believe it. Yes, the clues were there, but cleverly presented like a magician with a slight of hand. Now that I have read through this book like a flashdance, I am going to have to go back and read it slowly like a slow waltz so I can weigh and assess the clues and see what and how I missed it the first time around. This book has definitely made the re-read shelf and Hank Ryan has definitely acquired a hardcore fan. I look forward to acquiring and reading the remainder of her current books and can hardly wait for her upcoming novel.
About Hank Phillippi Ryan:
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