Recommended Reads: You can’t go wrong with this murder mystery


wrong-girl-225The Wrong Girl, by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Is she the wrong girl? The two women sitting across from each other, recently introduced, look much the same. In subtle and uncanny ways, their mannerisms are similar. Are these women related, long lost to each other and now reunited? Or, is she the wrong girl? Is this really her birth mother? Is this the reunion they’ve both yearned for? Or is this match-by-agency and others like it, someone’s big business scam? The truth is hidden, possibly behind murder.

Award-winning, best-selling author and journalist Hank Phillippi Ryan explores an overburdened state system, some people with the best of intentions taking care of foster children, and some people with questionable intentions. Ryan’s character Jane Ryland, is an intrepid reporter on the trail of a big scoop that she’s hoping will save her job. At the same time, Jane’s friend Tuck has confided to Jane that she’s recently hired an agency to find her birth mother, and reunite them. Now Tuck’s been told she has a different name and she’s met her birth mother. Except, despite all surface familial appearances, Jane’s friend is convinced she’s the wrong girl. She can’t prove that conclusively, but she feels it.

With a police officer as a love interest, it’s not long before Jane’s path crosses his at the apartment where a female murder victim is discovered. The victim’s identity and the motive for her murder are a mystery. Is this murder related to others, all masking a different kind of identity theft and identity fraud? Or is it one of those red herrings that I’m always so drawn to?

Jane Ryland has her hands full. She’s investigating this complex story, trying to scoop the rest of the media. She has to keep one step ahead of an ominous voice and shadowy person who’s threatening to harm her. She’s eager to compassionately help her insistent friend Tuck. In the meantime, she struggles to maintain a separation of professional interests and play it cool, while her hot love interest is the police officer in charge of solving the murders.

This writer is a master at pacing. The book starts out a little slow, while a lot of ground work is laid. But momentum is building subtly, almost imperceptibly until the book jumps out and grabs you. That will be the point of no return, because you won’t want to be interrupted and you won’t put it down until you finish the epilogue. Is she the wrong girl? Are there others? Why?

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “curiosity is lying in wait for every secret.”

Thereby hangs a tale . . . .

– By Wendy Kendall

wendy kendallWendy Kendall is a writer, project manager and volunteer at the Edmonds Library. She’s enjoyed living in Edmonds for over 20 years. Follow her via her blog here or on Twitter @wendywrites1.


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