The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan. Publisher: Forge (September 2013). Suspense/Thriller. Hardcover. 368 pages. ISBN 978-0-7653-3258-5.
“Jane kept up her smile. She was tired of explaining why she’d been fired, and even more tired of accepting sympathy and support because she had protected a source. It was over, she had a new job, she was happy happy happy. And as she so often heard, nobody watched local TV anymore. Which, truth be told, made her even happier.”
Thrillers might be the most popular genre in fiction after romance novels. So what makes this one stand out? A smart protagonist, Jane Ryland, works as a print journalist, not a medical examiner or private investigator or federal agent or police officer. She’s attractive yet not look-obsessed, relationship-obsessed or baby-obsessed. Her number one source is a police detective. Jake Brogan’s super-smart (Ivy-league educated) and handsome. There’s certainly a spark between Jane and Jake yet they’ve not done anything for fear it’ll jeopardize their careers. Author Hank Phillippi Ryan vividly describes Boston using her targeted knowledge of the city’s neighborhoods and intricate workings that keep the municipalities running day to day.
An ex-colleague at Jane’s newspaper arrives at her apartment in distress. She feels that the adoption agency sent her to a woman who can’t possibly be her birth mother. After taking a few steps back to consider the familiarly of their relationship (it’s strictly a working one), Jane decides it could be a possible story and decides to tag along with Tucker to find out more information about what might be going on. It turns out that Tucker may have been right to question her uneasiness at the meeting with her supposed birth mother. As Jane delves deeper into this adoption agency, she finds something menacing behind the beneficence.
Meanwhile Jake’s caught not one but two murders. One, a single mother of two children. He also finds a crib at the apartment where she’s murdered which completely befuddles him and leads the case in an unusual direction. The other case finds him crossing paths with Jane. A woman murdered, staged to look like a suicide, runs the private adoption agency that placed Tucker so many years ago.
Weaving together people and places by providing the ideal details and twists to keep questions flowing and keeping you wondering what exactly might be going on, Phillippi Ryan wrote a winner. She’s an amazing investigative journalist demonstrated by the creative manner in which she creates fascinating characters and concocts a disconcerting, riveting mystery. The Wrong Girl is an absolute page-turner that’ll keep you up late into the night.
–review by Amy Steele
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from the publisher.