Friday, March 27, 2020

Book Review: Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong psychological suspense story
Cons: Beginning a little slow
The Bottom Line:
Reporter with book
Begins to question the truth
Page turning thriller

Claustrophobic Game of Cat and Mouse

I’ve been following Hank Phillippi Ryan’s career since her first book came out, so I fully intended to follow her to her new psychological suspense stand-alones.  However, I’m just now getting around to reading Trust Me, the first one she wrote.

The story introduces us to Mercer Hennessey, a former reporter who is getting over a deep personal loss.  Her life is altered when her former editor, Katherine, asks her to cover the Baby Boston trial.  Ashlyn Bryant is about to go on trial for the death of her daughter, Tasha Nicole.  Mercer is among those who is certain that Ashlyn is guilty, and Katherine is asking Mercer to write a book about the case and the trial.  With the way it grabbed headlines, it is certain to be a best seller.  Mercer reluctantly agrees, but Ashlyn’s constant claims of innocence begin to get to Mercer.  As Mercer delves further into the book, Ashlyn begins to get into her head.  What is true?  Is Ashlyn guilty?

I’ve got to say the book started out a little slow for me.  I feel like we could have gotten through that part of the story faster.  Yes, there is important background and set up in there, but I feel like it also kept us from the meat of the story.

But once we do, hang on.  Psychological suspense is definitely a good description for the book as Mercer tries to figure out what is truth and what isn’t.  Ironically enough, I read it as the quarantine was starting for the coronavirus, and Mercer spends much of the book inside her house not able to get away from the questions she is facing.  While this claustrophobic setting would definitely be creepy for the book any time, it took on an extra measure based on everything going on in the world today.

Of course, for a book like this to work, the characters have to be real enough to make us question who they are and what they are saying.  There, this book succeeds in spades.  The characters pulled me in and took me for a ride.  There aren’t that many of them, but they truly shine.

While I have said “read” above, I did listen to the audiobook, narrated by Saskia Maarleveld.  It took me a little bit to get into her narration, but it wasn’t long before I was completely lost in the world of the book.  And that early problem might also explain my issues getting to the story overall.

No matter how you experience this book, it is a story that will captivate you.  Trust Me, once you start, you’ll need to know what is really happening.

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