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.


  1. Mo Heedles

    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!

  3. Gordon Bingham

    Wasn’t aware of this series – looks interesting.

  4. Sally Schmidt

    Loved “The Other Woman” – can’t wait for this book.

  5. Christine LaRue

    This series is new to me and I’ve added the books to my TBR … they sound good!

  6. Katherine Marion

    Sounds interesting. The Other Woman was a good read, so this one definitely goes on my list.

  7. Barbara Bibel

    I can’t wait to read this. I love the series.

  8. Diane Hernandez

    Sounds great!

  9. Joanne Mielczarski

    This sounds like a book for me.

  10. L L

    Sounds different

  11. peg nittskoff

    read a book similar to this ages ago and loved it—scary that it could be true.

  12. Deborah Lacy

    Loved Hank’s last book, The Other Woman. Can’t wait to read this one.

  13. Piero Giorno

    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.

  14. jean olaughlin

    Sounds really good!

  15. David Boyington

    this does sound like a good book to check out.

  16. Irene Menge

    I’ve been looking forward to this book. I’m sure it’s a winner.

  17. cheryl wong

    would love this

  18. runner

    Groovy Wrong Girl!

  19. Linda Knowles

    Sounds like a great read!

  20. Joan Emerson

    Hank Phillippi Ryan has crafted a superbly-crafted thriller . . . a masterpiece that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

  21. Karen Appleby

    Count me in on this one. Looks great!!

  22. Angela Dyrcz

    Sounds like a great read!

  23. Tiffany Duncan

    Thanks for the contests!

  24. Steven Wilber

    Looks interesting. Count me in…

  25. mommietime

    sounds interesting.

  26. Jeff Schroeder

    The Other Woman was awesome! This one looks good as well!

  27. Michael Carter

    Sounds great!
    Please enter me.

  28. Ilene Harris

    This looks really good for my book club, just what I was looking for.

  29. Randy Franco

    Sounds like fun.

  30. Pam Howell

    Haven’t heard of the series, but it looks great.

  31. Shana Skaletsky

    I would love to read this one!

  32. Robin Weatherington


  33. Matt Demski

    Sounds intriguing! Haven’t listened to an audiobook in quite some time, good for the long bus commutes!

  34. Karl Stenger

    I would love to read this novel

  35. jane

    I’ve never listened to an audiobook but happy to try it/

  36. Kimberly Mayberry

    This sounds like an awesome book, and to hear it as an audiobook, that would be amazing!

  37. Mary Ann Brady

    Love Hank and would love to win this. Thx.

  38. Kat Emerick

    Looks good!

  39. Lori Myers

    I have read the good reviews of this book. I would love to read it!

  40. bertha strickler

    Cant wait to get started reading it.

  41. Sally Kohlenberg

    Sounds great!

  42. Kelley Tackett

    This sounds amazing. I’m looking forward to reading my first Hank Phillippi Ryan.

  43. Jacki Robertson

    Have loved all Hank Phillippi Ryan’s books so far. Can’t wait to read this one.

  44. Ethan Boatner

    Would be intrigued to read – haven’t yet read Ryan.

  45. Jim Belcher

    Thanks for the sound sample. Better than the print since I listen more often than read.

  46. Phyllis Sinclair

    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.

  47. Anna Mills

    She rescues a cat; that’s all the hook I need!

  48. patricia gibby

    would love to try out a new author

  49. elizabeth findlay

    It sounds like a very different type of mystery than I am used to reading, but would love to give it a go.

  50. Jeffrey Tretin

    Sounds great. Thank you for the giveaway.

  51. Kim Hammond

    Totally looking forward to this book and to seeing Hank next week at Bouchercon 2013.

  52. Patrick Murphy

    Would like to read this one!!

  53. paul sproul

    Boston Loves Hank!

  54. Judie McDonald

    Sounds like an interesting story!

  55. charles mitelhaus

    another great one!

  56. Jeffrey Malis

    Thanks for the excerpt and the opportunity!

  57. Darcy Odden

    Sounds great! Thanks for the chance!

  58. Jackie Wisherd

    Have enjoyed reading her other books. I know I would like this one too.

  59. john frost

    Looking forward to reading more about this series

  60. Sue Farrell

    Adoption intrigue—I’d love to read about it.

  61. mosaix

    Sounds like the right girl to me! Yes!

  62. Patty

    I loved her first book and it looks like this one will be just as good. Would love to win a copy.

  63. Megan Mariner

    Sounds like a great listen!!!

  64. Heather Martin

    This is on the “must read” list.

  65. Joyce Benzing

    Sounds interesting.

  66. Joyce Mitchell

    Sound interesting. Hadn’t read the 1st one, but now I will.

  67. Marie-Louise Molloy

    [b]Love my detective stories and this one is now on my wish list![/b]

  68. Barbara

    I like books with a female lead character!

  69. Bob Keck

    I have not read the first installment. This looks like a great read.

    ky2here at msn dot com

  70. tom coady

    i’ll have to checkout this series

  71. Gwen Stackler

    “the possibilities of never trulyknowing who you are” been there and the book sounds GRAND.

  72. lynette thompson

    Sounds like a great book.

  73. Susan Pertierra

    I like Hank Phillippi Ryan as an author and this one sounds interesting.

  74. erin f

    sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  75. Janice

    sounds intriging. would love to read.

  76. Janice

    sounds intriging. would love to read.

  77. Kmacknicki

    I’d love to read this!

  78. Louis Burklow

    This is the first I heard of this series. Enjoyed the audio clip and look forward to reading it.

  79. Lisa Richardson

    Wow, this sounds interesting. I’m putting it on my “look for” list! But would love to win!

  80. lynette barfield

    Love this author and would really like to have the audiobook

  81. susan beamon

    sounds interesting. haven’t read any of this series yet. wouldn’t mind starting with this one.

  82. Ellen

    Count me in.

  83. Donna Antonio

    Loved “The Other Woman” looking forward to this book.

  84. Rosemary Krejsa

    I’m looking forward to reading The Wrong Girl. I loved The Other Woman.

  85. Gwen Ellington

    The cover even entices me!

  86. Phoenix

    I’ve heard great things about this writer.

  87. sue brandes

    This one sounds really good.

  88. Kimberly Morghan

    I like the excerpts – sounds like it will be a good read!

  89. Tim Lucas

    The Wrong Girl, right book

  90. Deanna Stillings

    This sounds like another winner for Hank Phillippi Ryan!

  91. Lisa Garrett

    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.

  93. jodi scott

    wow – looks interesting

  94. lynn anderson

    thanks for the giveaway

  95. Karen Barnett

    Can’t wait to hear/read The Wrong Girl!

  96. Suzanne Rorhus

    Sounds great!

  97. Wendi Morris

    The Wrong Girl sounds like the “right ” read. Thanks.

  98. Desmond Warzel

    Count me in, please!

  99. Mary Ann Woods

    It’s just my kind of book!

  100. Elizabeth Bevins

    Thanks for the entry!

  101. Linda Rodriguez

    Loved THE OTHER WOMAN! Can’t wait to read THE WRONG GIRL!

  102. Deb Mosora

    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!

  104. Cindi Hoppes

    I adored Hank Philippi Ryan’s first book in this series…
    I would love to read this second book!
    Many thanks, Cindi

  105. Melissa Darwin

    Yep, I’m hooked!

  106. Pat Murphy

    Have never read this series. Sounds like it would be a good one to start.

  107. Merikay Noah

    I seem to be drawn to Boston mysteries lately, having reviewed 2 in just the last month. This one looks excellent – hope I win!

  108. Kathy Fannon

    I can’t wait to read this!

  109. Heather Deluna

    I like the idea of having two disparate stories coming together.

  110. Sonia Grgas

    Just was looking over the copy we got at the library today – would love to win the audiobook!

  111. Nancy Zahar

    I didn’t realize this was a series; loved book one! Thanks.

  112. Susan Stokes

    Have Hard copy of The Other Woman…Should Read it soon…Will enter for The Wrong Girl…I like Hanks style…

  113. Jane Schwarz

    Thank you for an opportunity to win an audiobook.

  114. Vernon Luckert

    Would love to win this audiobook.

  115. Linda Peters

    Would love to have this, thanks

  116. Rosemary Simm

    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.

  117. Karen Koziczkowski

    Sounds like another wonderful book from Hank! Loved the Wrong Girl, sure I’ll feel the same about this one.

  118. Mihaela Day

    It sounds really interestig 🙂

  119. Samantha Cox

    interesting… looks like a good read.

  120. Tony Parsons

    looks like a awesome movie

  121. Daniel Morrell

    sounds like a fun one!

  122. 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 🙂

  123. mosaix

    The Wrong Girl sounds right to me! Yes!

  124. Ed Nemmers

    I would like to read the work of Frank Phillippa Ryan!

  125. kathy pease

    Thank you for the great giveaway please count me in 🙂

  126. elaine fisher

    perfect gift idea … thanks

  127. Mike Rogers

    Looks great!

  128. Tyneisha Fondren

    This sounds like an awesome read!

  129. Brenda Elsner

    Sounds great!! I would love to read this!!

  130. Debra Kidle

    Loved the excerpt, thanks for the chance.

  131. David Kidle

    I would love to read this!

  132. Heather Cowley

    Hmmm, mysterious! Would love to hear it from beginning to end!

  133. Wayne Lecoy

    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!!!!!!

  134. Buddy Garrett

    I want to read this book. It sounds interesting.

  135. Richard Hicks

    Would love to read this or listen to it!!

  136. Peter Tomaszewicz

    A new series to start, would love a copy of this book

  137. Cheryl Greenleaf

    Sounds like a great read.


    i’m new to this site but, this sounds like a good one

  139. Susan Smoaks

    yes i would love this, thanks for the chance to win!

  140. Lisa Pecora

    I love Hank Phillip Ryan. I like Hank Investigates.

  141. Julie N.

    It looks like a good read.

  142. Kat Emerick

    Looking forward to reading it.

  143. Lara Thoms

    I would love to win this book! I would listen to it on the way to work!

  144. Sand Lopez

    This sounds like a great book!

  145. Donna L Haley

    This book sounds like a good read.

  146. Toni Trees

    Sounds like something I’d enjoy–and I hardly ever pass up a free mystery!

  147. Janet Gould

    looks like a great read

  148. Michael Wright

    definitely sounds like a good read and I would love to own the audiobook. Thank you

  149. MARY Mclain

    I would like to read this book.

  150. Marissa Buffett

    would love to win this book :0

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