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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Face Time

**** Face Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan. Mystery.

The good news: this was another of my successful efforts to find a new-to-me author. The bad news: unfortunately, I ended up with the second book in a mystery series without having read the first. The good news: Face Time stands alone quite well, and I didn't feel lost.

Investigative reporter Charlotte McNally can handle just about anything--except her mother, who's in town for plastic surgery before her upcoming wedding. She's also not doing so well with her boyfriend Josh's 8-year-old daughter. But in between dealing with her mother's demands and trying to befriend or at least make peace with the little girl, the story of a lifetime falls into her lap.

Charlie receives a tape proving that Dorinda Sweeney could not have killed her husband, though she'd confessed, been convicted, and is currently in prison. However, when Charlie interviews her, she maintains her guilt.

Worse yet, Attorney General Ortega had built his career on the case, and now he's running for reelection and is pressuring Charlie to stop investigating.

And then people around the case start dying.

There are some nice twists in the mystery--a couple I saw coming, and one I didn't, and the suspense kept me turning the pages.

The combination of problems from both the younger and the older generation balanced nicely, though I had trouble relating to them. Sucking up to an 8-year-old seems like a really bad idea to me, regardless of how understandable her feelings are. And I was simultaneously irritated with and envious of Charlie's mom--irritated because I can't imagine treating my daughter that way, and envious because it's better than the indifference from my mom.

Unfortunately, I read this while I was dealing with a lot of emotional issues, and so my own feelings got caught up with those of the story. I enjoyed it very much nonetheless, but in a more cheerful frame of mind, it would have been even better. Or maybe if I'd known Charlie and the supporting cast already from the first book. Which I'll be looking for.

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I met Hank last month; she's wonderful! I can't wait to read her books, either -- I think they will be as delightful as she is.
I was surprised it was a mystery, given that it was from Harlequin's Next line. I hadn't realized they published mysteries.

Which is a really good thing, because I need more mysteries in my mix. :-)
I've thought about reading Hank's books but just never gotten around to it. Glad to see you like the book, Darla :)
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