The Other Woman
by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Cover Artist: Photo: Andy & Michelle Kerry / Trevillian Images
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Forge Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765332578
Date: 04 September 2012 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /
Hank Phillippi Ryan's The Other Woman is an intriguing romantic thriller that reminds me very much of the mysteries written by Karen Robards and Mary Higgens Clark. A serial killer is terrorizing Boston during preparations for Halloween and the upcoming heated election for U.S. Senate. This is a very timely novel, especially for me, since I love Halloween and I am one of those registered voters who still hasn't decided for whom they will vote in the upcoming presidential elections. Alas, Ryan provides us with a mystery that expertly blends the world of politics with the world of journalism; both are traitorous, backstabbing, cutthroat entities. In the center of these worlds are journalist Jane Ryland and Detective Jake Brogan whose love for each other is forbidden because of a conflict of interest. She later learns she could lose her job with the Boston Register for sleeping with a source.
The novel is fast-paced due to the dead bodies of young girls being found floating beneath various bridges throughout Boston. The media, believing all the deaths are connected, gives birth to The Bridge Killer. Jake insists they are not connected. Meanwhile, Jane is approached by Moira Lassiter who begs her to investigate the possible infidelity of her husband, Governor Owen Lassiter; he is running for the U.S. Senate. Jane does find a beautiful, mysterious woman in numerous photographs taken of Owen. She keeps asking, "Who is this other woman?" During her investigations, she discovers there are a lot of other women. She suspects several men in her life are having affairs. Also, many people, especially women, are pretending to be someone they are not. During Halloween, people wear masks. According to The Other Woman, this holds true during elections. Traitors and deceivers are everywhere.
Jane Ryland is a type of Hester Prynne from Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter. She has been cruelly labeled Wrong-Guy Ryland because she couldn't prove Arthur Vicks was having an affair without revealing her source. Ultimately, she lost her high profile job with Channel 11. However, a good side effect is that Jane has a reputation for going the extra mile to protect her sources. People like Moira Lassiter are eager to confide in her. Readers will root for Jane as she comes ever closer to discovering who is the Right Guy--the one responsible for slaying the girls found dead under the bridges. Meanwhile, Jane's life is jeopardized by an insane stalker who is intent on preventing her from writing her next front page, headline-grabbing story. Throughout the novel, there are numerous scenes involving intense drama and startling revelations; the ending is rather tragic.
Hank Phillippi Ryan's The Other Woman is a must read for fans who crave romantic thrillers with strong, independent female leads. Having worked in the worlds of politics and journalism, Ryan knows firsthand about what she is writing. Her novel comes across as truly believable. Naturally, I wonder how much of herself is in her character, Jane Ryland. Most importantly, I wonder if there will be a sequel. Now that Jane has found the other woman, will she be searching for the other man? Turnabout is fair play.