Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Politics gets dirty in debut

February 16. 2013 9:35PM

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Myriad "other women" form an ever-widening circle of political intrigue in award-winning author Hank Phillippi Ryan's highly entertaining hardcover debut.

Politics, dirty campaigns and compromised candidates are a compelling plot foundation in any year, but especially in this presidential election year. Ryan combines both a timely tale and a multi-layered plot with gripping suspense. "The Other Woman" works well as a political thriller and romantic suspense, delving into political and journalism ethics. "The Other Woman" also looks at how being in the public eye can affect a marriage and one's self-esteem after a career humiliation. While Ryan uses her trademark effortlessly wry touch, "The Other Woman" is not light-weight, solidly illustrating these issues in a well-designed, brisk plot that is high on restraint and without gratuitous violence.

"The Other Woman" introduces Jane Ryland, a Boston TV investigative reporter newly fired from her network because her refusal to reveal a source resulted in the station losing an expensive court case. She's now working as a newspaper reporter, but it's an uneasy fit. Instead of the high-profile assignments, Jane is charged with interviewing the reclusive wife of ex-governor Owen Lassiter, who is running for the U.S. Senate. In doing her research, Jane notices that a woman keeps popping up in photographs taken on the campaign trail. Jane wonders if she has found the politician's "other woman." But Jane's new boss doesn't trust her credibility, given her recent history; and Jane's access to high-ranking politicians, their families and former sources vanished with her TV job. Jane finds that several "other women" may not have the former governor's best interests at heart, including his wife, the female Senatorial opponent, a would-be stalker and another ambitious reporter. Jane's investigation intersects with that of her good friend, detective Jake Brogan, who is on the trail of a local killer.

"The Other Woman's" intricate plot is enhanced by Ryan's shrewd look at Jane rebuilding her career, inch by inch, and her realization of the power of newspapers.

Ryan also offers a perspective insider's view of the media and politics coverage, honed by her more than 35 years in the business. As a broadcast investigative reporter, Ryan herself has earned 28 Emmys and 12 Edward R. Murrow awards for her work. Ryan launched her novelist career with four award-winning paperback mysteries about Boston TV investigative reporter Charlotte "Charlie" McNally, a respected, fortysomething journalist with excellent instincts.

Ryan brings that same acumen to the unpredictable, gripping "The Other Woman."

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