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?