Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Book Review: Say No More by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Jane Ryland #5)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters and a strong plot
Cons: Jane trying to get out of testifying
The Bottom Line:
Murder, hit and run
Two elements in story
That keeps you reading

I’ve Got Plenty to Say about This Book

When I pick up one of Hank Philippi Ryan’s books, I know I am in for a fun ride.  Her Jane Ryland series skirts the end of the cozy side of the mystery spectrum, and I enjoy this slight break in genre.  Say No More is her latest, and it’s another compelling read.

Jane Ryland has landed a new job as a reporter for a TV station in Boston.  However, instead of reporting on the news, she’s responsible for creating hour long documentaries.  She and her new producer are working on a story about campus rape aimed to coincide with the start of the fall semester.  However, on the way to an interview, they witness a hit and run.  Jane gets the license plate of the drive and a good look at his face, but reporting that to the cops might be more than she bargained for.

Meanwhile, her boyfriend, Boston homicide cop Jake Brogan, is called to the scene of a suspicious death.  A woman has been found floating in her backyard pool.  The call came in from a next door neighbor, but it seems that everyone connected with the crime is trying to hide something.  Can he figure out what clues actually pertain to his case?

We actually bounce between Jane, Jake, and three other characters over the course of the book.  Don’t worry, each point of view change is clearly marked.  It creates a fun way to get fully into the story as we wait to see how everything will come together for in the end.  The various plots intersect every so often, and not just when Jane and Jake are sharing page time.  I’ll leave the rest up for you to discover as you race through the book.

Hank makes good use of the various points of view to pull us into the story quickly and keep us engaged.  No, we don’t have cliffhangers every time the view point shifts, but I was usually thrilled to get back to each character to find out how things were progressing.

And all of the characters are strong.  Jane and Jake lead a very small cast of returning characters, and I enjoy seeing them and their relationship evolve.  That leaves plenty of room in the book for new characters, and they come alive before our eyes.  There was one view point character I especially found myself rooting for, and I love how that person developed.  All three of the new viewpoint characters had strong arcs that I enjoyed.  (Yes, I might have been cheering at what happened to one of them.)

All this said, I do have one complaint with the book, and it is a rather big one.  Throughout the book, but especially at the beginning, Jane resists getting too deeply involved as a witness to the hit and run.  She tries to use her position as a reporter to stay out of it, citing her desire to report the news, not be the news.  Sorry, but that’s baloney!  Yes, the accident happened during work hours, but it wasn’t related to anything she was doing for work – simply a case of wrong place, wrong time.  She has no privilege that any other ordinary citizen wouldn’t have, and the fact that she kept trying to get someone else to agree with her on this really rankled me.  If she were protecting a source for a story, I’d be on her side, but she was clearly in the wrong here.  On the other hand, I did find her realizations on how her sources might feel as a result of how she feels here to be wonderful character development.

That’s a long rant for something that is actually a minor point in the book.  Overall, I completely enjoyed this story.

In fact, I’m already looking forward to visiting Jane and Jake again.  If you haven’t read this book yet, you really should pick it up today.  And so I don’t spoil anything, I will Say No More.

Looking for more of Jane's adventures?  Here are the Jane Ryland Mysteries in order.

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