WHAT YOU SEE by Hank Phillippi Ryan


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Think all those surveillance cameras in public places will keep you safe and solve every crime? An intrepid Boston journalist and her police detective boyfriend find out that they probably won't.

Veteran TV reporter Jane Ryland and homicide cop Jake Brogan have seen a lot in their respective careers. And they still see each other as often as they can, even though both work to keep their romance relatively quiet since cops and reporters aren’t allowed to fraternize. Even so, the hours they spend apart are especially hectic and unnerving in Ryan's latest mystery-thriller (Truth Be Told, 2014, etc.). To begin with, there’s a fatal broad-daylight stabbing in Curley Park near City Hall. Lots of cameras are around, but Jake and his colleagues can’t quite figure out who’s been killed and who the perp or perps might be. And one young woman working with the city’s digital camera system can’t understand why her boss cuts off her attempt to retrieve video of the incident. The peripatetically employed Jane, meanwhile, is dispatched to the scene by one of the local TV stations just to “gather facts” and is pestered by a wannabe paparazzi who claims to have some pertinent pictures of what happened. And in the middle of this chaos, Jane gets a phone call from her soon-to-be-married sister saying her fiance’s 9-year-daughter from a previous marriage, who’s supposed to be their flower girl, is missing. The clock’s ticking on both cases, which, despite their differences, have darker forces of extortion, abduction, and corruption in high places lurking beneath their surfaces. Ryan, writing her fourth Jane Ryland novel, displays her trademark flair for knotty plotting, though it sometimes seems she's taking on more details than she can easily handle–just like her appealing protagonists. As the dual narratives rumble toward their respective climaxes, you somehow feel as though you’re pushed too hard and strung along too much at the same time. Still, this novel retains enough craftiness and jaunty humor to make it worth a night or two of breakneck reading.

Reading this book will offer a perverse comfort to those who think our screen-infested culture curtails any possibility of genuine mystery. Looks can still deceive in the digital age.

Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-7653-7495-0
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2015


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