Sep 8 2013 7:00pm

Fresh Meat: The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan

The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi RyanThe Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan is the second thriller set in Boston featuring journalist Jane Ryland and police detective Jake Brogan (September 10,2013).

Read on for an audiobook excerpt of Chapter 1 and a chance to win!

Jane Ryland is still adjusting to life as a newspaper reporter, which is quite different from her former life as a television journalist, when an ex-colleague, Tucker Cameron, comes to her for help. Tucker is adopted and has requested to be reconnected with her birth mother. The adoption agency–the Brannigan–finds her mother and reunites them.

The only problem is Tucker believes the agency has paired the wrong mother with the wrong girl.

Across town, Detective Jake Brogan is investigating the murder of a young woman. The scene appears to be a domestic altercation, with two small children involved. The kids are hauled off into the foster care system. But there’s an issue: an empty crib in the apartment and one of the toddlers talking about ‘baby’–a baby the authorities can’t find.

On the surface, the two cases don’t seem to have anything to do with each other. However, as Jane pursues Tucker’s story, she receives threatening phones calls, someone breaks into her apartment, and Detective Jake Brogan –a man she has, as Facebook would say, a ‘complicated’ relationship with–keeps showing up in the same place as her leads.

The Wrong Girl is the second in Hank Phillippi Ryan’s Jane Ryland/Jake Brogan series. The chapters are quick and packed with lots of information, alternating primarily between Jane and Jake. The quick pace of the chapters creates an interesting contrast between the way reporters (Jane) investigate and the way police officers (Jake) investigate. Both methods prove effective.

Jane’s focus is on people, on getting a read on the person she’s interviewing:

“Why don’t I think she’s my birth mother?” Tuck spun her coffee cup between her thumb and forefinger, seemed fascinated by the sound of it scraping on the plastic tabletop. The coffee shop’s morning crush and bustle had dwindled and the three women were the only customers still at a table.  The place smelled of fresh coffee and something cinnamon. A TV, mounted in the corner above the cash register, flickered a muted CNN. Jane read the screen scrawl: “Severe weather on the way for New England. Officials warn residents may have to….”

“Well, here’s why,” Tuck dropped her cup-spinning, took a sip, then grimaced.

Remembering something? Jane wondered. Or maybe Tuck’s coffee was cold. They’d been here a good hour, maybe more, looking at documents and listening to Ella explain how foolproof the Brannigan’s system was. That alone was enough to make Jane skeptical. Nothing was foolproof, any reporter could tell you that.

Jake’s focus centers on the environment:

It was four steps across the living room to an archway into the kitchen. Jake paused, getting a read on the place. Sniffed, as he always did. No gas, nothing burning, a sweet fragrance of—maybe some cleaning thing. He surveyed left to right, cataloging the elements, typing notes without looking at the keyboard. Dented white refrigerator, seen better days, but clean, no grubby smudges around the handle. He’d have to check inside it. Two saucepans on a gas stove. Open box of Quaker Oats on the drain board. An open box of Cheerios, on its side, a few pieces spilled on the floor. Cereal. Jake looked at his watch. Five in the afternoon. Huh.  

Other characters get some page time between Jane and Jake’s investigations. Ryan shows two agency players–Ella and Niall–sneaking around for various nefarious reasons. But the character crew that is the most entertaining is that of Afterwards–the crime scene cleaning company.  

The cleanup crew of Afterwards is always in the wrong place at the wrong time, because they aren’t the brightest bulbs in the box. However, they’re strangely endearing. Kellianne, Keefer, and Kevin bumble around the crime scenes, showing up hours earlier than they’re needed. Their only other form of entertainment, aside from cleaning up after dead bodies, is abusing one another–they’re siblings, after all:

Right now, she was cramped into the incredibly hot back seat of the Afterwards truck, Keefer in the front seat zoned out with his ear buds, Kevin inside the triple-decker. She’d bet ten billion dollars they were too early again. She wiped a place on the car window with her fingers to see out. The news people were still here, for crap's sake, she recognized that hooker-looking girl from Channel 5. And that was absolutely the ME’s white van parked by the hydrant. Long as the ME was still here, they couldn’t go in and start. Even she knew that.

“Yo, team,” Kevin opened the driver’s side door, blasting her with cold air.

Team. What a full-blown moron. Who died and put him in charge? She winced, remembering the morning’s visit to the hospital. Well, their father hadn’t died yet.

The combination of humor, horror, and tension makes Ryan’s The Wrong Girl a very entertaining read. Not only does The Wrong Girl have an intriguing mystery, but Ryan takes truly heartbreaking situations–kidnapping, the dissolution of families, the possibilities of never truly knowing who you are or where you come from–and examines them from several different angles: foster families, adoption, blood relations, and the bonds you form throughout your life. Ryan has created quite a mosaic of destruction and redemption.


Intrigued? Listen to an excerpt from Chapter 1 of the audiobook:


This sweepstakes has ended. Check our feature page for current opportunities.

Totally hooked? To enter for a chance to win the audiobook version of The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan, make sure you're a registered member of the site and simply leave a comment below.

TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

The Wrong Girl Audiobook Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete entry at beginning at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) September 8, 2013. Sweepstakes ends at 6:59 p.m. ET September 15, 2013. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law.  Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.


See more new releases at our Fresh Meat feature page.

Jenny Maloney is a reader and writer in Colorado. Her short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in 42 Magazine, Shimmer, Skive, and others. She blogs about writing at Notes from Under Ground. If you like to talk books, reading, publishing, movies, or writing feel free to follow her on Twitter: @JennyEMaloney.

Read all posts by Jenny Maloney for Criminal Element.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Mo Heedles
1. MoinNH
I am really looking forward to this book. That and going to the release party in Brookline on Tuesday to meet Hank and get my copy signed!
2. maryc
Loved the first Jane Ryland book - can't wait to read The Wrong Girl!
Gordon Bingham
3. gordonbingham
Wasn't aware of this series - looks interesting.
Sally Schmidt
4. bigcootie
Loved "The Other Woman" - can't wait for this book.
Christine LaRue
5. LadyAnubis
This series is new to me and I've added the books to my TBR ... they sound good!
Katherine Marion
6. stitchkat
Sounds interesting. The Other Woman was a good read, so this one definitely goes on my list.
Barbara Bibel
7. bbibel
I can't wait to read this. I love the series.
peg nittskoff
read a book similar to this ages ago and loved it---scary that it could be true.
Deborah Lacy
12. DeborahLacy
Loved Hank's last book, The Other Woman. Can't wait to read this one.
Piero Giorno
13. 51Rocker
A dectective thriller/mystery that has suspense written all over-it. The kind of book one wants to curl up with and spend reading non-stop from page one right to the last. Now this is my kind of read from a master story-teller that know's mystery, and especially suspense. Well done Hank Phillippi Ryan.
David Boyington
15. tardisguy
this does sound like a good book to check out.
Irene Menge
16. Goldenmane
I've been looking forward to this book. I'm sure it's a winner.
18. runner
Groovy Wrong Girl!
Joan Emerson
20. jemerson
Hank Phillippi Ryan has crafted a superbly-crafted thriller . . . a masterpiece that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
25. mommietime
sounds interesting.
Jeff Schroeder
The Other Woman was awesome! This one looks good as well!
Ilene Harris
28. redhead
This looks really good for my book club, just what I was looking for.
Pam Howell
30. phowell13
Haven't heard of the series, but it looks great.
Matt Demski
33. georex
Sounds intriguing! Haven't listened to an audiobook in quite some time, good for the long bus commutes!
35. janedoe
I've never listened to an audiobook but happy to try it/
Kimberly Mayberry
36. MysticHuntress
This sounds like an awesome book, and to hear it as an audiobook, that would be amazing!
Mary Ann Brady
37. mirahana
Love Hank and would love to win this. Thx.
Lori Myers
39. trixie42
I have read the good reviews of this book. I would love to read it!
Kelley Tackett
42. tackettfamilyky
This sounds amazing. I'm looking forward to reading my first Hank Phillippi Ryan.
Jacki Robertson
43. jcr650
Have loved all Hank Phillippi Ryan's books so far. Can't wait to read this one.
Ethan Boatner
44. Guylite
Would be intrigued to read - haven't yet read Ryan.
Jim Belcher
45. librarypops
Thanks for the sound sample. Better than the print since I listen more often than read.
Phyllis Sinclair
46. psinclair
A new to me author and the kind of story I like to listen to when I'm driving to see my kids or to out-of-town meetings. Hope I win. Then eventually I would donate it to our local library.
Anna Mills
47. Anna Mills
She rescues a cat; that's all the hook I need!
elizabeth findlay
49. eafindlay
It sounds like a very different type of mystery than I am used to reading, but would love to give it a go.
Jeffrey Tretin
50. jtretin
Sounds great. Thank you for the giveaway.
Kim Hammond
51. KimHammond
Totally looking forward to this book and to seeing Hank next week at Bouchercon 2013.
Jeffrey Malis
56. bravejam
Thanks for the excerpt and the opportunity!
Jackie Wisherd
58. JackieW
Have enjoyed reading her other books. I know I would like this one too.
john frost
59. jackfro
Looking forward to reading more about this series
Sue Farrell
60. Suekey12
Adoption intrigue---I'd love to read about it.
61. mosaix
Sounds like the right girl to me! Yes!
62. stems25
I loved her first book and it looks like this one will be just as good. Would love to win a copy.
Joyce Mitchell
66. JoyceLm
Sound interesting. Hadn't read the 1st one, but now I will.
Marie-Louise Molloy
67. Wezzie
Love my detective stories and this one is now on my wish list!
Bob Keck
69. ky2here
I have not read the first installment. This looks like a great read.

ky2here at msn dot com
Gwen Stackler
71. ChewDigestBooks
"the possibilities of never trulyknowing who you are" been there and the book sounds GRAND.
Susan Pertierra
73. orchidlady01
I like Hank Phillippi Ryan as an author and this one sounds interesting.
77. Kmacknicki
I'd love to read this!
Louis Burklow
78. Nash62
This is the first I heard of this series. Enjoyed the audio clip and look forward to reading it.
Lisa Richardson
79. keizerfire
Wow, this sounds interesting. I'm putting it on my "look for" list! But would love to win!
lynette barfield
80. lynette
Love this author and would really like to have the audiobook
susan beamon
81. susanbeamon
sounds interesting. haven't read any of this series yet. wouldn't mind starting with this one.
Donna Antonio
83. Donna_A
Loved "The Other Woman" looking forward to this book.
Rosemary Krejsa
84. grandpa5
I'm looking forward to reading The Wrong Girl. I loved The Other Woman.
Phoenix Vie
86. Phoenix
I've heard great things about this writer.
Kimberly Morghan
88. kmorghan
I like the excerpts - sounds like it will be a good read!
Deanna Stillings
90. reader123
This sounds like another winner for Hank Phillippi Ryan!
Lisa Garrett
91. lag123
Now I've got to look for the first book and start on it immediately!
92. bertha
do not send me any more comments, too much info.
Wendi Morris
97. lwmorris
The Wrong Girl sounds like the "right " read. Thanks.
Linda Rodriguez
101. LindaRodriguez
Loved THE OTHER WOMAN! Can't wait to read THE WRONG GIRL!
Deb Mosora
102. debmsra
A new series for me. Looking forward to listening to it. Thanks.
103. rdeep89
I have enjoyed all your books and you just keep 'em coming! Whew!
Cindi Hoppes
104. CindiHoppes
I adored Hank Philippi Ryan's first book in this series...
I would love to read this second book!
Many thanks, Cindi
Pat Murphy
106. murphyp2011
Have never read this series. Sounds like it would be a good one to start.
Merikay Noah
107. PopcornReads
I seem to be drawn to Boston mysteries lately, having reviewed 2 in just the last month. This one looks excellent - hope I win!
Heather Deluna
110. melikegarfield
I like the idea of having two disparate stories coming together.
Sonia Grgas
111. sg911911
Just was looking over the copy we got at the library today - would love to win the audiobook!
Nancy Zahar
112. nanze
I didn't realize this was a series; loved book one! Thanks.
Susan Stokes
113. Susan
Have Hard copy of The Other Woman...Should Read it soon...Will enter for The Wrong Girl...I like Hanks style...
Jane Schwarz
114. Janeschwarz
Thank you for an opportunity to win an audiobook.
Rosemary Simm
117. Ocalarose
I have read all of Hank's books to date, but have not tried any of her audiobook's. Would love the opportunity to see how her stories flow when read aloud. Great way to find out.
Karen Koziczkowski
118. zoom38
Sounds like another wonderful book from Hank! Loved the Wrong Girl, sure I'll feel the same about this one.
121. Tony Parsons
looks like a awesome movie
123. Karen D
This sounds interesting, and I love that it is an audio book, I can listen to it in my car. Thanks for the review :)
124. mosaix
The Wrong Girl sounds right to me! Yes!
Ed Nemmers
125. saturdaynightfever
I would like to read the work of Frank Phillippa Ryan!
kathy pease
126. klp1965
Thank you for the great giveaway please count me in :)
Brenda Elsner
130. brat52101
Sounds great!! I would love to read this!!
Debra Kidle
131. lubelle
Loved the excerpt, thanks for the chance.
Heather Cowley
133. choochoo
Hmmm, mysterious! Would love to hear it from beginning to end!
Wayne Lecoy
134. hotrodguy
I am entering your giveaway.
It would be great to win
the Audiobook of The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan.
Thank you for having this giveaway!!!!!!
Buddy Garrett
135. garrettsambo
I want to read this book. It sounds interesting.
Richard Hicks
136. ardy22
Would love to read this or listen to it!!
Peter Tomaszewicz
137. ptomaszewicz
A new series to start, would love a copy of this book
139. augrim
i'm new to this site but, this sounds like a good one
Susan Smoaks
140. susansmoaks
yes i would love this, thanks for the chance to win!
Lisa Pecora
141. Peachesncream887
I love Hank Phillip Ryan. I like Hank Investigates.
142. Julie N.
It looks like a good read.
144. Lara Thoms
I would love to win this book! I would listen to it on the way to work!
Toni Trees
147. toni trees
Sounds like something I'd enjoy--and I hardly ever pass up a free mystery!
Michael Wright
149. mwright199
definitely sounds like a good read and I would love to own the audiobook. Thank you
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