Friday, November 1, 2013

Book Review: Drive Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Charlotte McNally #4)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great characters and well done stories
Cons: A couple leaps early in the book
The Bottom Line:
A tiny rough start
But smoothes out when gets running
You’ll race to the end

Charlie is Driving Toward the Next Big Story

Don’t ask me why I’m just now getting around to reading Drive Time.  This is the fourth book in Hank Phillippi Ryan’s series about investigative TV reporter Charlotte “Charlie” McNally, and I enjoyed the first three.  And I’ve read the first two books in Hank’s new series.  Anyway, I finally made time to read it, and I enjoyed visiting these characters one last time.

When Charlie witnesses a hit and run, naturally she stops.  Not only does she want to help, but she thinks it might be a story.  But a couple things come to light while she waits for the police that make her think she might have stumbled on something bigger than just the accident – always important with sweeps coming up.

Meanwhile, she is delighted to be engaged to Josh, a professor at Bexter, a private academy.  Then she’s offered a dream job that might take her away from all that.  And Josh asks her advice on something in confidence that might shake Bexter to its foundation.  Can she juggle all of these demands and still get the story?

It might have been several years since I read book three, but I was right at home with the characters again in minutes.  They are reintroduced well, so anyone could jump in here, although you would certainly lose something in the character development.  That development continues here as well, and fans will be happy to learn what happens next to these great characters.  Even those we meet along the way are interesting and developed enough that we care about the outcome.

There are a couple of plots and a sub-plot in this book, so there is always a story advancing.  Hank does a great job of balancing everything so we never go too long without development on all the fronts.  And the climax is suspenseful and satisfying.  I did feel that there were a couple of leaps in Charlie’s thinking early on that were a reach.  But once the story really got rolling, everything was completely logical.

It had been so long since I read the others, I had forgotten these books are written in first person present, a style you don’t see very often.  It takes a bit to get used to, but once I did I find it didn’t bother me at all.

With Hank writing another series now, it appears this one is complete, at least for the time being.  If so, I’m satisfied.  However, if Charlie were to make a return appearance, I’d revisit her again.

Whether Drive Time is officially the end of the series or not, it is a book that will please mystery readers and fans of the series.  I’m glad I finally took it off my to be read pile because I really enjoyed it.

This is my entry in this week's Friday's Forgotten Books.  For other entries, go here.

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