Monday, July 5, 2010

Face Time: A Charlotte McNally Novel by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Face Time: A Charlotte McNally Novel by Hank Phillippi Ryan. Mira Books. August 2009. ISBN #: 9780778327189

How deep is a mother's love that would do just about anything, including kill to protect that young woman? Charlie McNally is back again as the 46 year old, multiple Emmy Award-winning TV journalist investigator who is expected to come up with another dynamic story that will win awards and keep Channel 3 news as the most popular Massachusetts TV station. It's a tall order that Charlie isn't sure she can do again, but all of a sudden a story comes along begging to be explored and indicating it's huge enough to topple an election and undo a horrific nightmare for an imprisoned, alleged murderer.

New evidence is introduced to evidence that indicates that Dorinda Keeler Sweeney may be falsely imprisoned for the murder of her husband, even though she did freely confess to that crime. As well as wanting to free a wrongly imprisoned inmate, Charlie is also quickly made aware that such a story might ruin the career of Massachusetts Attorney General Oscar Ortega, who is running on a perfect crime solver reputation but who just might be something that isn't quite as perfect as he suggests.

While Charlie and Franklin, her perfect work partner, are gaining leads in this process, Charlie is also coping with meeting the daughter of her new love, Jonathan. Penny's a young girl who is obviously and unexplainably hostile when Penny appears. She's a little girl missing her parents being together and worrying that a replacement is in line for her real Mom's place. While this oil-water relationship continues, Charlie's own Mom is having her plastic surgeon do beautifying surgery on her and wants Charlie to do likewise. Enticed but wary, Charlie watches her Mom's healing process carefully and refuses to commit to any decision on taking twenty years off her physical appearance a la surgical transformation.

Once again, Hank P. Ryan has done it very well, indeed! As a matter of fact, this novel is much better paced and plotted than her first novel in the Charlotte McNally series. It proceeds at a solid pace and keeps the reader totally hooked into the "Who did it?" mode, anxious to keep flipping the pages to find out more and very sorry when the story reaches its unexpected, exciting conclusion. Keep writing, Ms. Ryan! You've got the stuff for great crime drama!

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