Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Air Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan

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

Air Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan

A Charlotte McNally Mystery

Mira Books (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-7783-2719-1 (0778327191)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7783-2719-6 (9780778327196)
Publication Date: September 2009
List Price: $7.99

Review: Boston television investigative reporter Charlotte "Charlie" McNally takes on the trade in designer fashions, bags, and accessories in Air Time, the third mystery in this series by Hank Phillippi Ryan.

Faux fashion is big business in the US. There's nothing inherently illegal about it unless the manufacturer is using a trademarked logo or name of someone else on the finished product. That's illegal. Charlie is doing a story on the industry, but misses her flight to Boston from Baltimore, where she's been attending a national journalism convention. While waiting for the next flight, she helps a young woman with her luggage, noting its prominent designer label. Charlie also sees the woman is carrying a designer purse. The woman sees Charlie admiring her bag, and gives her a card, inviting her to a "purse party" where "Designer Doubles" are featured. Charlie realizes that she has an opportunity to get an inside scoop, going undercover at the party pretending to be someone in need of the latest fashion but wants one at a bargain price. Someone discovers who she really is, however, and she begins to receive threats by phone and e-mail. Then the apartment adjacent to the "Designer Doubles" location is set on fire, and the host disappears. Charlie's simple piece on designer fraud has now expanded to conspiracy, kidnapping, arson, extortion, grand larceny, as well as counterfeiting. How did she find herself in such a complicated journalistic situation?

In addition to the entertaining and well developed primary storyline, Air Time continues to explore Charlie's personal relationship with Josh and his young daughter. Though she's a career woman through and through, Josh wants a commitment, and she'd like to come up with a solution that will allow her to balance both. But what really makes the book enjoyable is Charlie herself: she's attractive, witty, caring, loving, and very good at what she does. Insert this appealing character into a fast-paced topical story and the result is a book that is hard to put down until Charlie files her story with Channel 3 News.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Air Time and to Nancy Berland Public Relations for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Air Time from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right. Air Time (Kindle edition) is also available. Learn more about the Kindle, Amazon's Wireless Reading Device.

Synopsis (from the publisher): When savvy TV reporter Charlotte McNally enters the glamorous world of high fashion, she soon discovers that when the purses are fake—the danger is real. And no one can be trusted!

Now Charlotte can't tell the real from the fake as she goes undercover to bring the couture counterfeiters to justice—and in her struggle to answer an all-important, life-changing question from a certain handsome professor …

The one thing Charlotte knows for sure is that the wrong choice could be the last decision she ever makes!

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