Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Review: The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Jane Ryland #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Interesting story that pulls you in...
Cons: ...once the multiple plot threads start coming together
The Bottom Line
Plots weave together
But overwhelming at first
Worth effort at end

Politician's Career Could Depend on Finding The Other Woman

I was reading The Other Woman one day, and a friend asked me what in the world it was about.  Despite the title, I can assure you I haven't switched to romance.  This is a politically themed mystery/thriller.  It took me a little while to get into it, but once I did, it was well worth it.

Jane Ryland has lost a million dollar lawsuit and her job as a TV reporter for protecting a source.  She's trying to put her life by working at a Boston area paper, where her first assignment is to get an interview with Moira Lassiter, wife of the former governor who is now running for Senate.  But no one has seen Moira or heard from her for several weeks.  Meanwhile, Jane begins to suspect that the candidate might be having an affair.  Is that why Moira is in hiding?

Meanwhile, Jane's would be boyfriend, detective Jake Brogan, is working on the Bridge Killer murders.  So far, two women have shown up dead near bridges on successive Sunday nights.  Jake is certain there is no serial killer, but the press is pushing it.  Is he right?  And will Jane ever get that interview?

Now if you think those two plots are unrelated, you aren't alone.  In fact, there are several other plot threads introduced early on in the book, and it was hard to keep everything straight.  I really struggled getting into the book for the first 100 pages, but I kept plugging away at it.

Then I set aside some serious time to read, and I got completely captivated.  I read the final 300 pages in 48 hours because I couldn't wait to see how it would end.  Yes, I had a few of the big brush strokes figured out by that point, but there were still a few twists along the way that caught me off guard.  And even when I was right, I still enjoyed seeing how it would play out.  There was one sub-plot that the book didn't really need and I felt weakened the story, but even so I enjoyed watching that be resolved.

The characters are not the strongest here, or again maybe it's that they take a while to grow on you.  So many are introduced early on that it's hard to keep a few of them straight.  But as the book progresses, their differences become more apparent and you grow to care for them.  I actually found the climax more powerful than I expected, and that's when I realized just how I had grown to like these characters.

Obviously, with the election less than two months away, this book is perfectly timed.  I have to give the author credit for resisting any urge to make political comments in a political thriller.  We don't know the party of the former governor, a detail I didn't need to enjoy the book.

While I struggled to get into The Other Woman, I ultimately found the journey rewarding.  With a little patience, you'll get hooked on this story as well.

I received an ARC of this book through the Amazon Vine Program.

And once you are hooked on this story, you'l want to read the rest of the Jane Ryland Mysteries in order.

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