Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book Review: Truth Be Told by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Jane Ryland #3)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Interesting characters and a story that grows very compelling
Cons: Slow to start; one sub-plot annoys
The Bottom Line:
This abandoned house
Is hiding a dead body
Slow start turns great read

Let Me Tell You the Truth About This Book

My to be read pile is growing out of control.  I’ve enjoyed Hank Phillippi Ryan’s books since her very first one came out, and I bought her latest, Truth Be Told, back in October when it was released.  And yet I’m just now getting it read.

The Jane Ryland series is something a bit different for many of the books I read.  Told completely in third person, it switches to multiple points of view, including Boston newspaper reporter Jane and her secret boyfriend, Boston police detective Jake Brogan.  This technique is something not used enough, and I enjoy seeing how it builds the story differently from the other books I read.

The rash of foreclosures in Boston have led Jane to do an article on the entire process.  As a result, she’s at a foreclosed house where the police are emptying out the personal belongings left behind by the family who had to move out.  However, this time the police make a horrible discovery – a dead body.  How did that get in the closet?

Meanwhile, the 20th anniversary of the Lilac Sunday killing is approaching.  This murder of a teen has remained unsolved, and it was a case that haunted Jake’s grandfather until the day he died.  However, a man has just walked in and confessed to the crime.  He seems to have details that no one else would know, but Jake isn’t convinced.  Is this the killer or a false confession?

Unlike the first two books in the series, this one started off a little slowly.  The view point switches often create little cliffhangers, but in this case, we kept cutting away just as something interesting was going to happen.  The result made the story feel jerky instead of gripping.

However, once the story really got rolling, the view point switches were perfect for building the tension just like they normally do in this series.  I was soon drawn into the story and had a hard time putting the book down.  And the climax was suspenseful and perfect.

Jane and Jake are two interesting, compelling characters, and I enjoyed seeing them again.  Because of their professions, they are trying to keep their relationship a secret, which adds an interesting tension to the series.  Unfortunately, there is a further hiccup in their relationship that made me roll my eyes a bit in this book, but that was a minor annoyance overall.

The two leads are surrounded by an interesting cast of supporting characters, including those involved specifically in this case.  They are so real that they help  make the story compelling.

I will admit I was a bit worried we’d get a lecture on banks foreclosing on houses, but that was never a central focus outside how it affects the characters and the situations they’ve found themselves in.  I was glad because this is a very complex issue, and I was worried it would be reduced to a one sided straw man.

While the beginning could have been smoothed out some, the book was still a good read.  Truth Be Told, I’m interested to see what is next for Jane and Jake.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Jane Ryland Mysteries in order.

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