Publisher: Forge Books
Publication Date: 8/28/2018
My Rating: 5 Stars + Top Books of 2018
"Grief and deception are at the helm of Hank Phillippi Ryan’s latest thriller, Trust Me, in which a crime writer and an accused criminal's lives collide, as they come to discover that no one can be trusted, not even oneself.
The tension mounts at a blistering pace, while Ryan dazzles on page, weaving a sinister story that readers won’t be able to put down. A must read!"—Mary Kubica An accused killer insists she's innocent of a heinous murder.
A grieving journalist surfaces from the wreckage of her shattered life.
Their unlikely alliance leads to a dangerous cat and mouse game that will leave you breathless.
Who can you trust when you can't trust yourself?
Trust Me is the chilling standalone novel of psychological suspense and manipulation that award-winning author and renowned investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan was born to write.
Learn the Inspiration Behind "Trust Me" plus more
MIND-BENDING! Award-winning author Hank Phillippi Ryan returns following her popular Jane Ryland series with TRUST ME —a fresh, polished, timely, and masterfully crafted sophisticated standalone crime thriller with a killer plot twist. A delicious, cat-and-mouse game of manipulation and deception. A riveting psychological suspense thriller that will blow you away! One of the Hottest Thrillers of the Year. Top Books of 2018. 5 Stars + TRUST ME is complex, chilling, dark. A tautly constructed gripping psychological thriller with a shocking "award-winning" twisty ending. An obsessed journalist faces off with a suburban mom. Only one can prevail.
"There are three sides to every story. Yours. Mine. And the Truth."
Ryan has outdone herself, and if this one does not wind up topping the charts on the New York Times bestselling list for months to come, I will be shocked. Furthermore, it is movie-worthy. If you love intelligently written true-crime shows or books, you will devour!
Readers, this is what you get with, TRUST ME. The author’s inside knowledge, skill and expertise as a seasoned journalist. The up close and personal. She knows this business inside and out. Plot-driven and character-driven, the characters jump off the page and into your mind. They will twist you beyond belief. You will question everyone and everything. You will be turned in many directions. How many sides are there to the truth? Who is the liar? (love the cover).
After reading, you will agree, trust me . . . She was born to write this story.
Move over Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, and The Woman in the Window.
It is INTENSE! Let’s dive in. Mercer Hennessey: Boston. Talented Writer. Grieving wife and mother.
It has been four hundred forty-two days since the car accident that destroyed her family. The crash that took Dex and Sophie. Each day she watches as the number disintegrate as she writes them on her steamy bathroom mirror.
There has been no writing since the accident—except for the numbers on her mirror. People finally have left her alone. She has not heard from her former editor for months. Not since she stopped returning calls.
Katherine Craft: Her former editor. She thinks it is time for Mercer to get back to work. The Baby Boston story will be perfect for her. She wants her to write the inside story of this gruesome crime. A toddler was killed and dumped in Boston harbor. The mother is on trial for murder. She knows Mercer is the only writer who can do this story justice.
Mercer: A job. All she needs to do is watch the courtroom testimony through the same video feed the TV stations use, then write an instant book about the Baby Boston murder. She needs the money and is offered fifteen thousand dollars up front and the same after the verdict when the book hits the market. Then hefty royalties afterward. She could be a bestselling author.
Possibly the book could give her a reason to get up in the morning. She knows this horrible mother is most definitely guilty. Maybe she can do this for Sophie and Dex. Strive for justice. She must avenge Baby Boston.
She will secretly dedicate the book to Sophie and all the little girls unfairly wrenched away from this world. Can she do this? A mother who took her own daughter’s life. She, in turn, lost her daughter due to a tragic accident. Physically, mentally, and emotionally?
It is never the mother, right? The boyfriend, father, but the mother? What kind of monster mother could kill her own two-year-old?
Mercer is a storyteller. A writer. She takes facts and makes them fascinating. Like in Cold Blood. Narrative Nonfiction. She agrees to write the book.
She despises Ashlyn Bryant. The killer, of Tasha Nichole. Her innocent two-year-old daughter. She has been held in a cell for the past year and lied to everyone. Pretending Tasha was somewhere else with a babysitter. According to the police she had motive, means and opportunity. Ashlyn’s defense attorney is an old colleague of Dex.
Ashlyn Bryan is the most reviled woman in Massachusetts. The entire country. Two weeks after the verdict, she will be sentenced. As soon as she is put away for life, the publisher wants the book. Then, of course, she will have to add the ending.
Mercer is sharp. She writes. She pours over the details. She captures Ashlyn’s deception, manipulation, her reliance on delusion, her narcissistic self- confidence. She writes about Tasha, the victim of her mother’s toxic life. It is empowering. Her words will become history. The truth. She must slip inside their heads. She wants justice. A little girl thrown away— discarded in a trash bag.
From Georgia the mother, the father, the club owner, Valerie-the babysitter, the daughter’s real father. Pouring through the trial, the court records, transcripts, timelines, evidence, legalities. What is truth and what is a lie?
Mercer is physically and emotionally addicted to Ashlyn’s punishment. But what if she is not found guilty? Could she write a book about redemption? Mercer knows what she is writing about is true, but she is good at making things up. However, so is Ashlyn. She soon decides she wants to see her in person to make the writing more vivid and authentic. She must figure out the details of what really happened.
She thinks back to the Casey Anthony trial. The woman who was charged with murdering her toddler daughter in Florida and was found not guilty (to everyone’s horror and disbelief). Is Ashlyn a sociopath? Or could she be telling the truth?
Casey and Ashlyn’s lives are similar as far as their clubbing and partying. Did she take murder lessons from Casey? Duct tape. Chloroform. Ashlyn Bryant is on trial for first-degree murder. Premeditation, malice, and extreme cruelty.
However, this monster only has to make the jury see reasonable doubt. They do not want to convict for a crime that carries a life sentence without all the evidence.
“Jurors took two days to convict Jodi Arias of killing an ex-boyfriend. Four days to convict the Menendez brothers of killing their parents. Eleven days to convict Scott Peterson of killing his wife Lacey and their unborn child. On the other hand, that idiot Florida jury only took about ten hours to acquit Casey Anthony. To acquit O. J. Simpson, less than four hours. Four hours. So as long deliberation has to mean guilty. I deeply relish that Ashlyn must also know that.”
What if she gets off? Mercer will die if this happens.
41 hrs and 5 days. Her worst nightmare. She cannot believe this. Now she comes face to face with Ashlyn Bryant. Worse still her editor has delivered her to her doorstep, due to the media. The book is over. The trial is over. All her hard work.
Now she has to write another book. This monster is in her home. The same house where her daughter had lived. She feels violated. This is where the games begin.
Now this my dear reader friends is where TRUST ME and the author pulls out the "big guns." From 40-50% into the book, and every page to the explosive conclusion (THE TWIST) —an intense, deadly game of cat-and-mouse. Who is the liar? What is the truth? Who's zoomin' who?
The writing and the storytelling, exposing the truth. Mercer is determined. She uses her keen journalism techniques to allow the subject to believe the story is for their benefit, instead of your own. If Mercer can make it for two more weeks. She will use every trick in the book. However, Ashlyn is a master manipulator. She is a pro at deceiving and possess her own tricks.
No one has been in her house for over a year, and not there is only here memories and THIS WOMAN.
Then Ashlyn attempts to turn the tables. Will she succeed? Can she trust Mercer? Can Mercer believe anything that comes of Ashlyn’s mouth? Which one will win out in the end?
OMG! How do you begin to describe this powerful novel and the superb writing?
No doubt Ryan draws inspiration from her career as an investigative reporter in TRUST ME, which explores the unlikely — and potentially sinister — a relationship that blossoms between a grieving journalist and an accused murderer who insists she's innocent. What results is a tense cat-and-mouse heart-pounding game that will keep you turning the pages into the wee hours of the morning.
At one point, I was unsure where the book was headed when Ashlyn began questioning Mercer about her family’s tragic accident. This portion reminded me of A. R. Torre’s The Ghostwriter (which I loved-top books of 2017), another writer with child and husband killed in an accident. However, it took a different turn, I was holding my breath with this part with heart pounding.
BTW: Two authors will make the adrenaline pump and heart race. Of course, I read them back to back. I desperately needed a spa day at Eau Spa Palm Beach afterward: Pieces of Her (Karin Slaughter) and TRUST ME (Hank Phillippi Ryan).
Having read and enjoyed Hank’s previous books (The Jane Ryland Series) – TRUST ME goes to a much deeper level. Her best yet! A darker psychological level. She explores all sides of the truth and knocks it "out of the park." Really enjoyed the courtroom drama and the details. The best was the banter between the two women. Yes, the obsessed grieving journalist and the suburban (killer) mom. The question is: which one will prevail. You have to read to find out. Sizzling!
I am "over the moon" excited to tell you about Hank Phillippi Ryan's TRUST ME, and highly recommend this chilling standalone novel of psychological suspense and manipulation (Aug. 28, 2018).
Q&A With the Author. I am honored and beyond thrilled for the opportunity to interview the author, Hank Phillippi Ryan. She was on my bucket list of top authors to question. This interview was so much fun!
Have you seen her bio? Hello? Only a brilliant author such as Hank could pull off this complex and multi-layered tale with finesse and skill. Her flair, polish and artistry as a journalist, and an accomplished author—combined with her expertise and skill with years of investigative reporting and crime writing— equals an award-winning novel. A Must Read!
A special thank you to #MacMillian/ForgeBooks, the author, and #NetGalley for an advanced reading copy. Also many thanks to Mary Zanor at Regan Communications for her assistance with the interview. I have also pre-ordered the hardcover (cannot wait to see it), and the audiobook.
A classic for every thriller reader. Get it. Read it. Enjoy. Let's Discuss. Book Clubs—A perfect choice.
Book Giveaway Contest
Jan 23-Feb 6th, 2019
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A Letter From Hank
Now a Criminal Element Best Book of 2018 Now a Writer's Bone Best Book of 2018 Now a New York Post Best Thriller of 2018 A Real Simple Magazine Top Psychological Thriller A BookBub Big Thriller of Summer 2018 A PopSugar Best Summer Thriller of 2018 A Crime Reads Top Summer Thriller of 2018!
"This is Ryan's first standalone... and it's a knockout. First-rate psychological suspense." —Booklist starred review
"Stellar! Ryan is an expert at telling a story that invokes suspense with emotional resonance...realistic characters make the reader care about every tiny detail of the story. Her best novel to date!" —Associated Press
"Grief and deception are at the helm of Hank Phillippi Ryan’s latest thriller, Trust Me, in which a crime writer and an accused criminal lives collide, as they come to discover that no one can be trusted, not even oneself. The tension mounts at a blistering pace, while Ryan dazzles on page, weaving a sinister story that readers won’t be able to put down. A must read!" —Mary Kubica bestselling author of The Good Girl
"Mesmerizing! Hank Phillippi Ryan has outdone herself in this taut thriller of damaged lives, uneasy alliances and deadly cat and mouse!"
— Lisa Gardner "Riveting... Trust Me is a tense and twisting psychological thriller that explores the shifting perception of the truth. Chilling, suspenseful, and impossible to put down--this book will keep you questioning who you can trust until the very end." —Megan Miranda "Beautifully written and masterfully structured, TRUST ME grabs hold of your heart and takes you on an unstoppable ride to the very last page. Ryan brings her A game to this novel of mystery, suspense and psychological drama."
About the Author
Photo Credit: Lynn Wayne
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN is the on-air investigative reporter for Boston's WHDH-TV. She's won 34 EMMYs and dozens more journalism honors. The nationally bestselling author of 11 mysteries, Ryan's also an award-winner in her second profession—with five Agathas, three Anthonys, two Macavitys, the Daphne, and for The Other Woman, the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. Critics call her "a master of suspense" and "a superb and gifted storyteller" and she is the only author to have won the Agatha in four different categories: Best First, Best Novel, Best Short Story and Best Non-Fiction. Her novels have been named Library Journal's Best of 2014, 2015 and 2016. Hank's current book is the acclaimed standalone psychological suspense thriller Trust Me, which Suspense Magazine's reviewer calls "By far one of the best thrillers I've read in years." The Booklist starred review says "a knockout!" and New York Post, BOOK BUB, PopSugar, Real Simple Magazine, CrimeReads and Criminal Element named it one of the Best Thrillers of 2018.Her 2019 book is The Murder List, coming in August.Hank is a founder of MWA University and past president of National Sisters in Crime. Visit Hank online at HankPhillippiRyan.com, on Twitter @HankPRyan, on Instagram @hankpryan and Facebook at HankPhillippiRyanAuthor. Read More
Coming August 20, 2019
Who is on THE MURDER LIST? Law student Rachel North will tell you, without hesitation, what she knows to be true. She’s smart, she’s a hard worker, she does the right things. She’s successfully married to a faithful and devoted husband, a lion of Boston’s defense bar. She's a rising-star intern in the prosecutor's office. Problem is—she’s wrong. And if she takes one false step in this cat-and-mouse game, the battle for justice will become a battle for survival.
(Who is the woman on the cover? She will change everyone's lives.)
Look for my Q&A with the Author Coming Aug 2019.