Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Prime Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Prime Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Prime Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Prime Time by
A Charlotte McNally Mystery

Harlequin (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-373-88135-5 (0373881355)
ISBN-13: 978-0-373-88135-2 (9780373881352)
Publication Date: June 2007
List Price: $5.50

Synopsis (from the publisher): Could an innocent e-mail offer really result in murder, mayhem and a multimillion-dollar fraud ring? The last person to ask is dead but that won't keep Charlotte McNally from poking around. Face it: in the cutthroat world of television journalism, this seasoned reporter knows that she'd better pull out all the stops or kiss her cushy job (and that means her life) goodbye.

But all too soon her investigation leads her straight to Josh Gelston, who is a little too a lot too handsome. Could she trust a word he said? Charlie might have a nose for news, but men are a whole other story. Which means she is putting her job, life and heart on the line …

Review: television reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan introduces Charlotte "Charlie" McNally, a character not unlike herself, in Prime Time, a wonderfully absorbing mystery.

It all started with a couple of spam e-mail messages from someone she did not know. Charlie ignored them, promptly deleting them. A few days later, however, a local newspaper headlined an article about a whistle-blower revealing a pending lawsuit involving a very large sum of money being stolen by officers of a pharmaceutical company. The article goes on to say that an accountant was found dead in an automobile accident – or was it suicide? Charlie recognized the name of the company and the accountant. She remembered seeing the accountant’s name, Bradley Forman, somewhere. Where was it? Was he the person who had sent her the spam e-mails? Enlisting the aid of her producer, Franklin, they hack her computer to locate the deleted messages. They still don't make any sense, but reporter that she is, Charlie sees a story. After all, television's November sweeps are not too far away and the clock is ticking.

Prime Time is a fast-paced, thoroughly enjoyable, well written and plotted mystery and Charlie McNally is an appealing lead character. The story she and Franklin pursue lead them to deciphering a code in the message, but not before another man is killed (another automobile "accident"?) and the life of a third threatened. The reader will be as determined as Charlie to unravel this mystery and will be hard pressed to put this book down before she does.

Another character worth mentioning is Charlie's immediate superior at the station, Angela. At half Charlie's age, Angela clutches a clipboard and carries a big stick. There's a lot of humor in witnessing the interaction between the award-winning reporter with years of experience and the young producer whose primary concern is ratings.

Prime Time is a terrific debut to this series; a sequel is eagerly awaited. And as an endnote, one can't help wonder if Ryan's life as a reporter is nearly as exciting as Charlie's!

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Prime Time and to Book Trends for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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