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Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Book I Couldn't Put Down

Copies of her books I own on my piano.
Last week for several nights I stayed awake late because I couldn’t stop reading Hank Phillippi Ryan’s latest book, What You See. I’m a big fan of her books, and each one seems to get better and better. But then that happens in those series in which one gets attached to the main characters.  I bought this book at Malice Domestic along with far more books than I could read anytime soon. In addition to ones I bought, there were the free ones in our Malice bags.

When I got home from Malice, I had a lot of catching up to do with gardening, writing, family events and other things that needed taken care of. I also belong to two book clubs, and those books need to be read first. Since I bought the hardcover version of What You See, I couldn’t take it with me on my camping trip to the Catskills in June, again delaying its reading.

Finally, I got to it last week.  I almost never read books during the day, instead saving them for evenings in my nesting chair in the living room before I head to bed. I also have another book on the stand beside my bed to read there before going to sleep. I ended up skipping the half-read book beside my bed and took Hank’s book upstairs to read.  Rather than tell you about the book, following is the blurb on the inside cover:

“Jane Ryland’s sister is about to be married, but disaster threatens the wedding when the groom’s daughter goes missing. The flower girl, nine-year-old Gracie, has disappeared, along with her stepdad, Lewis. By all accounts, he’s a wonderful father, and Gracie’s mother doesn’t seem too concerned, but . . . why won’t Lewis bring her home? Where is Gracie? And is the little girl in danger? Soon Jane discovers there’s a limit to the bonds of family, and learns to her peril what happens when loved ones are pushed too far.

Meanwhile, Detective Jake Brogan’s handling a doozy of a case. At Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall, a man is stabbed to death in front of a crowd of tourists who’ve snapped photos of the murder on their cell phones. Solving the case should be a slam dunk, but the pictures and surveillance video lead Jake to a twisted conspiracy of extortion and stolen lives.

There’s no escape from today’s world of constant surveillance, but what if those images aren’t showing reality? As Jake and Jane race to uncover the dark secrets hidden in these pictures, they find a shocking truth that will shatter lives forever . . . including their own”

Not only does Hank Phillippi Ryan write stories that hook the reader, but because she writes about what she knows, it becomes real to the readers. Jane Ryland is a temporarily unemployed reporter – both TV and newspaper. Hank is the investigative reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate and has won thirty-three Emmy Awards, and thirteen Edward R. Murrow Awards for her groundbreaking journalism, as well as a lot of awards for her fiction. It’s no wonder that the reader can believe in Jane Ryland. In fact I picture Jane as looking and talking like Hank. The fact that her books take place in Boston, where she has lived and worked for many years, makes her books even more believable.

Finally, what really appeals to me is she writes in multiple points of view. In this book she has five POVs, with one becoming a victim. The conversations and descriptions of other characters make them seem real to the reader even if their POV isn’t there. And, of course, she always ends making the reader want to immediately read the next book. I hope Hank’s next one will be published soon.

For those of you who have never met Hank, she is the most amazing person. She is not only extremely talented, she has been totally involved with Sisters in Crime and was a past president of SinC, and still is one of the Guppies. She is a founding teacher at Mystery Writers of America University, and appears at writing events all over. She manages all this while maintaining her job as an investigative reporter. I should mention she’s also drop dead gorgeous, very friendly and open with others, and has a great sense of humor. What amazes me the most though, is I’m not a very important person being an indie writer with no awards and nothing that makes me stand out, and yet she always greets me by name when she sees me at conferences or the few writing events we’ve both attended. Can you imagine having a memory like that?

Have you read any of Hank Phillippi Ryan’s books?
Have you had the good fortune of meeting her?


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I met Hank at MWA-U in Chicago in 2014. And I've enjoyed all her books.

Kait said...

Wonderful post. Hank is someone I have never met, not even once, but whom I've considered a friend since she joined Guppies. It is impossible to meet a nicer, more generous, author (she did the blurb for my first book-I was gobsmacked). When I grow up, I want to BE Hank - at least my own version. I have read all of her books, cover to Kindle, hot off the pre-order. It doesn't get any better. Love the quote. Never say it. It's going on my quote wall.

E. B. Davis said...

Hank's books are wonderful reads, the reason I've interviewed her here on WWK.

KM Rockwood said...

Gloria, you're right. Hank is a talented, hardworking author who always has time for the rest of us, and is willing to help where ever she can. She is inevitably gracious, and a model to all of us in presenting a public image.

She coordinates the Malice/Bouchercon "Book of the Month" auctions, which raise money for charities and gives some exposure to authors.

I love her books, too.

Warren Bull said...

I've had the good fortune of meeting Hank and reading her books. Thanks for writing about her.

Gloria Alden said...

Margaret, I'm glad you had a chance to meet her, too.

Kait, hopefully someday you'll get to meet her in person. If you come to Malice some day
you're sure to meet her.

E.B. I enjoyed Hank's interview you did.

KM, I donate to those Malice/Bouchercon "Book of the Month" auctions, too. She does so much for others.

Warren, anyone who has met Hank considers it a wonderful experience.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gloria, I hope I can get this comment thing to work. I am "low tech" as you know. Although you have talked with me about Hank, having read your blog really makes me want to read her work! Thanks so much. Also, I enjoyed seeing your beautiful lilies in full bloom. And of course, lovely Maggie begging for treats! I plan to keep cool in this HOT weather and curl up with a good book... by Hank!

Tina said...

Seconding all that -- she is an inspiration to us all.

Grace Topping said...

I've read Hank's books and enjoyed them immensely. She is a gracious and lovely woman who is helpful to anyone who calls on her.

Gloria Alden said...

Nonymous Laura, I know you have too many books waiting to be read now, but I'll lend you the first in her series the next time I see you.

Yes, Tina she is. I don't know how she finds the time to do all that she does and still keeps smiling.

Yes, she is Grace. That's one of the things that makes her so awesome.

Julie Tollefson said...

I love Hank. I've had the good fortune to meet her when she visited Kansas City, and I learned a ton from her session at MWA University in Denver a few years ago. Plus her books are fantastic.

Gloria Alden said...

Lucky you, Julie, to have been at a class or session at MWA University of Denver, and as I stated in
my blog, her books are fantastic.