Monday, July 5, 2010

Prime Time: A Charlotte McNally Novel by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Prime Time: A Charlott McNally Novel by Hank Phillippi Ryan. Mira Books. July 2009. ISBN #:9780778327172

Charlie McNally is 46 years old, the winner of several Emmys for her investigative reporting and beginning to severely doubt if she has what it takes to stay in television's demanding game! For intelligence and a knack for sleuthing the hottest story of the day isn't enough these days; instead one must have the looks and sexy appeal to draw viewers back to the fantasy that beauty, charm and brains are all one and the same. Age and weight repel the TV camera. Add to those lurking worries that her high-powered boss, snooty Angela, is just aching to send Charlotte or Charlie packing. And Charlie's beginning to realize that maybe all of her sacrifices that placed her career over a marriage and family weren't all they were cracked up to be!

Now comes a new problem that adds to her diminishing confidence as an aging reporter. It turns out that a series of e-mails have been sent to a select few, messages that look like spam but are actually a code for something far more serious than the usual nonsense promising millions of dollars in five minutes or someone insisting their heartbreaking need can only be solved by a donation of the same amount.

Unfortunately, things start ratcheting up quite a few scales in Charlie's radar screen when she learns of a man's supposed suicide and starts investigating the e-mail messages after his wife requests Charlie's help. With her colleague, Franklin's very smart assistance, Charlie seems to be getting closer to the reason behind Bradley Foreman's death, with some results that seem to be very frightening to his wife, Melanie Foreman. In the process of examining boxes of records that seem to hold the clue to the mystery, Charlie meets Professor Josh Gelston, a sexy looking guy quite impressed by Charlie's Shakespearean knowledge and maybe even more. But Charlie doesn't know if Josh is the friend or enemy in her quest to unravel the refinance messages that she now realizes are linked to some very high profile businessmen and women.

Hank Ryan knows how to plot a thriller for sure. The reader was captivated by the twists and turns that seem to come close to the final solution but more often than not weave their way into something even more sinister. Add together two murders, some very serious threats at an almost gothic-style funeral, an attempted effort at killing the heroine and her partner, and some other just as suspense-driven moments and you have the makings of a best seller crime drama! Prime Time will make you want to read more from this very savvy, smart, funny and intriguing character, Charlotte McNally! This reviewer is very much looking forward to reading the next story in this series, Face Time!

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