Review of The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan

The Wrong Girl (Jane Ryland, #2)The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

At first I assumed the author, named Hank, was a man. When I came to descriptions of the women’s “outfits” and eyelet lace curtains I realized my mistake. What is it with women authors and women’s clothing? Are women readers really that shallow? A male mystery writer wouldn’t describe the outfit of an attractive young female character; he’d describe her body, especially her breasts, because, yes, male readers really are that shallow.

But that’s not what bothered me about the book. It was just ungodly slow-paced. All the blurbs on the back cover about non-stop action must have been written by fellow authors who were paid to write them and never read the book. Nothing ever gets accomplished for the first 300 pages or so because everyone keeps getting interrupted. As soon as character A starts to tell character B that really important thing she just noticed, character B gets interrupted by character C or a cell phone, or something else and we never find out what it was. If a character gets to an important location and is about to enter, the scene shifts elsewhere. If a key message is left on someone’s voice mail, that person never checks it. It’s exasperating as all getout. I assume an editor told the author to keep the reader in suspense by never resolving anything until the very end. It’s more like suspended animation than suspense. The heroine – or protagonist at least – of the story is a total dingbat. The author’s abysmal ignorance of police procedure and law are a serious drag on the plot, too. It really deserves a 1 rating on the Goodreads scale, but that sounds just a bit too harsh; it’s readable, barely, if not actually good.

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