Customer Reviews: Prime Time (A Charlotte McNally Mystery)
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on July 20, 2010
If you jump for joy every time a white-collar crook like Bernie Madoff lands in the slammer, you'll cheer for Ms. Ryan's fictional TV journalist, Charlie McNally, who's assigned to cover the "accidental" death of a middle manager from Big Pharma but finds herself in the thick of murder, fraud, and greedy CEOs. I've always had trouble sticking with stories written in the present tense, but in Ms. Ryan's hands, present tense conveys the "I want it now!" environment of a journalist's double-espresso-zero-sleep world. Charlie has a buoyant sense of humor, just the right amount of snark and sophistication to make you laugh aloud. In her mid-40s and perimenopausal, she's a refreshing break from the ovulating hotties who populate so many (too many) novels. Her equally three-dimensional sidekick, Franklin, is her producer, ally, and dose of common sense. They make an invincible team for a pageturner. And don't believe the "romance" label attached to this mystery. Sure, there's the start of a romance in it -- no, not between Charlie and Franklin -- but sexual tension doesn't power the plot in this book. It's whodunit and suspense and wonderful escape.
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on June 19, 2007
This book is a delightful, fun, quick read. There were times when I laughed out loud, and many times when I found I couldn't turn the pages quick enough to find out what happened next. Hank Phillippi Ryan is an award winning reporter, and the character she paints has a reporter's detailed mind that is fun to be a part of. It's a delicious summer read, with a lot of fun details... Just pop it in your beach bag, and you will quickly become engrossed in this story. I understand that there is at least one more book in this series, coming out later this year. I'm looking forward to the next adventure..
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on March 19, 2016
Absolutely loved this book! This is the first book I have read by this author and plan to read all of her books! This book will make you laugh and keep you on your seat with suspense, I never saw the ending coming! I loved the characters of this book especially love Charlie and Franklin! This is a must read. Try it you will not be disappointed. Thank you Hank Phillippi Ryan for a great read!
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on April 15, 2011
I had no idea until recently that she had written this series. I wolfed down the first book like a starving man with a doughnut and look forward to savoring the rest. Hank has been on local TV news here for decades and is always worth watching. Now I have another reason to admire her work. This is a well crafted mystery with excellent character development, plotting and a nice touch of romance. A chase scene is vividly described and brilliant. Charlies inner dialog is believable and hilarious at the same time. Nice bit of writing!
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on April 26, 2014
I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy book to read. The characters were realistic and funny. This isn't a down & dirty mystery but light easy reading and it was still a good mystery story. I will read more of Ms. Ryan's books in the future.

I like mysteries but I take a break from the real serious mysteries and try. To read a mystery that is lighted like the Senior Sleuths or some of the Cozy Mysteries in between. This book is between a hard core and the Sr. Sleuths.
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Prime Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan is the first book in the Charlotte McNally mysteries and it's a fast and good read that I really enjoyed. It's a suspenseful thriller based in the journalism world made all the more realistic as Hank Phillippi Ryan is a television investigative reporter herself. What I liked even more is that the main character Charlotte (Charlie) is a forty-six year old woman trying to survive in a world where how you look and how old you are mean a lot. It was really refreshing to read something from the point of view of someone in my age range for once.

Charlie McNally is a character you can relate to. She starts off talking about her hot flashes, hangover and spam on her computer and how she's never going to be able to get anything done and I was already hooked. Charlie is funny, sassy, intelligent and has a nose for getting the best stories and she has the awards to prove it. She's not afraid to do whatever she has to in order to get her story - even to the point of risking her own life.

In this installment Charlie is scrambling for her big story for the November sweeps and she still hasn't come up with anything. She is terrified that she's on the way out, that she'll be replaced by someone younger and prettier. Every time her snarly boss Angela phones or pops in her door, Charlie cringes.

As luck would have it Charlie stumbles on a story she wasn't even looking for. She's called in to interview the widow of a man who had just been killed in a car accident. She finds out that he had apparently sent her an email before he died so when Charlie heads back to the office she looks for this email and it ends up opening up a whole other can of worms. What seemed to be only spam actually turns out instead to be something sinister with a bunch of corporate firms - something that may have already caused a few deaths and may be putting Charlie's life in danger as well. Will Charlie uncover what's going on in time to save her own skin?

Prime Time is a great start to the series. Charlie and her producer Franklin make a great pair and Charlie's sense of humor adds a spark to the story. There was even time for a little romance for Charlie who all but thought that romance was a dead end in her world. I'm really looking forward to reading the next in the series, Face Time, so keep an eye out for that review soon.
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on June 30, 2007
PRIME TIME by Hank Phillipi Ryan

An exciting new mystery series debuted recently, with Hank Phillippi Ryan's first novel PRIME TIME. The writing is compelling, as the reader is instantly drawn into the world of TV investigative reporter Charlotte "Charlie" McNally. Charlie is a stylish, divorced, forty-ish, Emmy-winning reporter with a wry sense of humor and an overwhelming dedication to getting the story. When the widow of a man killed in a car accident contacts Charlie and asks why she never returned her now-deceased husband's email, Charlie's antennae stand right up. After just a few inquiries, she and her loyal producer Franklin become convinced that they have not only uncovered a suspicious series of email messages, but that they may also have tripped over a murder. The book is full of twists and turns, as one moment the case looks clear-cut and the identity of the killer appears obvious, and the next the reader is wondering exactly who Charlie can trust (as does Charlie herself). Author Hank Phillippi Ryan is a much-admired investigative reporter in the Boston area, and her expertise shows in every line of the book. From scooping rivals to dealing with the police, Charlie is a believable and magnetic figure. Her frequent observations about her profession ("Courses they don't teach in Journalism School: Future Shock: The Choice of Fame or Family") mesh well with her concerns over the precarious nature of her job. But Charlie's no whiner - when it comes to getting the facts, she's willing to roll up her sleeves and get her hands dirty. Unfortunately, the other side is just as willing to dirty its own hands - to keep the story from reaching PRIME TIME.
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on August 4, 2013
Kept me turning the pages. Love the characters, especially Franklin, Charlie's 'assistant'! Looking forward to seeing more of them in the future. Already ordered three more of the author's books in this series.
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on June 13, 2012
The conventional wisdom says that writers should write about what they know. Well, Hank knows television journalism, so why not create a character who does what Hank does? Charlie is a smart, attractive and tougher than she thinks investigative reporter who uncovers an insider trader scheme that leads to murder. Hank also knows how to build suspense and mystery. She also knows how to write.

I loved reading Prime Time and think it's one heck of a great job for a first novel. Great going, Hank.
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on April 6, 2016
Prime Time is the first book in the Charlie McNally series that has been updated and will be re-released during 2016. Ms. Ryan is a new author for me but after totally enjoying Prime Time, I am anxious to read the rest of the books in this series and read her other books, too.

Charlotte "Charlie" McNally is an investigative reporter for a TV station in Boston. At 46, she is worried that she will soon be replaced by a younger news reporter. Sweeps week is coming up and she's being pressured to come up with a big story. Even though she has Emmy Awards and has had a successful career, she knows that the next story is always the most important. Her reporter instincts lead her to a story that may be the best story of her life if she is successful or it may cause her to lose her life if she isn't. It's a definite mystery and the ending was a real surprise to me.

What I liked most about this novel was the main character of 'Charlie'. It's so nice to read a book with an older female main character who has flaws and questions herself and her abilities like Charlie does. There are other good characters in the book but Charlie was the one that was the most real to me. I can't wait to see what happens to her in the next book in the series Face a Time that will be available in April. Air Time will be available in June and Drive Time in August.

Note: Prime Time won the Agatha Award for First Novel and the Romantic times Reviewers Choice Award.
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