Tuesday, October 7, 2014


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I’m sure I didn’t get one bit of sleep last night. It’s pub day for TRUTH BE TOLD—and the reviews are beyond stellar!

**A starred review from Booklist says” In Ryan’s adroit hands, with her brisk prose and appealing protagonists, even foreclosures can be sexy!”

**And a starred review from Library Journal says  Packs a powerful punch—drop everything and binge-read until the mind–boggling conclusion.”

Whoa. Thank you!

So silly me, when my sister Reds asked if they could interview me on pub day, I said sure, ask me anything! So—they did.  And they made me think about things that were brand new.

Plus—there are important questions for YOU at the end! (With a big giveaway.)

LUCY BURDETTE: Yay, Hank!! It's such a big deal to have a new book out, no matter how many have come before it. Now that it's published, what do you love the most about TRUTH BE TOLD--not counting the moment you wrote "the end"?

HANK:  I have a secret thing I do. Which I will reveal, here in the sanctity of Jungle Red. When I get
The first signing of TBT at BEA
he advance copy of me new book, I open it, to a random paragraph on a random page, and see if it’s good. Then I do it again and again, in a ridiculously perverse experiment to see how long it takes to find something I wish I could change. (We all have our idiosyncrasies.)

In TRUTH BE TOLD I couldn’t find one thing!  I can tell you, and I say this with some level of goosepbumps, I loved every page. 

Can I just say? It’s surprising, and timely, and compelling. The amazing Laura Lippman challenged us, recently, to be truly honest about something that was good about ourselves. Okay, then. This is a really good book. It fascinating because I see now what a journey this is. I adore my other books, each has its own unique and innovative and  original idea. But TRUTH BE TOLD--may I just say it here? Is pretty darn good.

That’s the best part, Lucy, to realize that now after all these years, at age almost 65, I am beginning to get it.  

I am so grateful, and so inspired, and so ridiculously proud of it. If I can just say.

HALLIE EPHRON: I'm curious to know whether you did an investigative report on shady foreclosures, and were inspired by what you discovered?

At Channel 7 news
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Yes, absolutely. And that’s another  thing that’s so wonderful about my dual careers as an investigative reporter (40 years!) and  a newish crime fiction author.

I have done several stories about mortgage fraud, and foreclosure fraud. And here in Massachusetts, three new laws were passed as a result of our Emmy winning series on manipulation and deception  in the banking and mortgage world. We got peoples homes out of  foreclosure! And millions of dollars in refunds and restitution. So, that’s great.

But one day, my photographer and I were shooting video of an eviction. I can confess to you --there’s a lot of that going on here today! --we didn’t know who the owner of the home was that day. We were simply getting pictures of an eviction to illustrate the dire consequences when someone is unlucky, or misled, or has a catastrophe, or a disaster, or makes a mistake. It is devastating.

At one point, a deputy came to the front door of the almost-empty house. I remember he was silhouetted in the door, his entire body the shape of unhappiness and confusion. Head hanging, his outstretched arms one each side of the open door, as if having to hold himself up.

What was making him so upset, I wondered?

I said to my photographer—who is used to my author musings—“What if they found a dead body in there?”

And then I realized what that would mean. The deputies had been in that home clearing it out,  cleaning it up, yanking out the possessions and throwing them away.

What if, I thought, the law enforcement officers themselves had ruined a crime scene? Obliterated the evidence, trampled on everything, wiped the place clean? And then…

Oh. What if the cops ruined their own crime scene!

I was riveted by that idea. And now that is part of the scene that opens TRUTH BE TOLD.

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I can't think of many things worse than losing your home. Did you feel a very strong emotional connection to the plight of the foreclosure victims in the story?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Ah, yeah, it’s horrible.  In my TV stories, we discovered a pattern of mortgage fraud in the low-income areas of Boston. A fraud that was resulting in people being manipulated into home improvement deals that were linked to their mortgages--well, long story. But it’s all illegal now.

But as a result of that story, I met a lot of people who had lost their homes, or were about to.

And I went back to my little condo in Brookline, and looked at it so differently. What would I do if someone tried to take it from me? What would I do to keep my home? Or my family’s home?

This year's Emmy awards
And why did banks, I wondered, not work to help people--instead of  slamming the door on their lives?

So when I got to write a fictional story it all, I created a lovely wonderfully compassionate banker as a main character. What do you think happens to her?

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Yesterday, we talked about sex and the single detective. So, since I LOVE the Jane and Jake stuff, how do you feel about writing their relationship? How do you mix the romantic part of the story with the crime and investigation? 

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Well, you’re the master of it, dear Julia!

And I don't see it as a separate thing.  Romance… Or lack of it, is such a part of a real person's life, right? Since my characters are real, living breathing longing human beings, each of whom is attractive and single, romance an sex are going to be a part of their being.

It's terrific fun for me to hear how they talk to each other, and how their double-meaninged conversations emerge. Since I don't have an outline, I don't exactly know what is going to happen between them. Jane gets really sexy around Jake, which was such a surprise to me!

And cool hip smart strong Jake gets a little nervous around Jane. And certainly jealous.

DEBS: And what's this about a possible rival to Jake??? Can you tell us a little?

HANK: Exactly! And that was one of the joys of this book. Not only the arrival of…well, you'll see. He's the new guy. And not only how Jane reacted to him, but how Jake felt about him.
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: How does your being a journalist affect your definition of "truth"? What effect (if any!) did it have on TRUTH BE TOLD?

#HANKONTOUR At Mystery Lovers Bookshop
HANK: Oh my goodness, Susan, so brilliant. That's what it's all about! My books are all about perception, and each person's version of the truth. It’s why in an objective news story, you tell both sides of it, right? Because each side things what they think is true.

Often there is a "true " but the effects of that truth are also what’s interesting. Being a journalist has made me listen to people more carefully, and my authorial voice has been honing that to a fine point!

And when I thought about what we do as journalists-- that we are the historians of our lives--that became very profound to me. So when it appeared that something nefarious was going on at Jane's newspaper… it gave me a way to illustrate the deep responsibilities journalists have to themselves and to the public.  And to history.

I'm always searching for truth.

RHYS BOWEN: In your real life job, how do you manage to stay emotionally detached when you are covering horrible events and scummy people?

HANK: Oh Rhys , you are so funny! I am not emotionally detached, not in any way. I am trained to be very objective in covering stories, and my brain calculates "who what when where why" almost automatically now. And I am constantly fascinated by it.  I try to stay compassionate, and thoughtful, and open-minded.

I was the one at my station who first announced the breaking news of the Boston Marathon bombing, on live TV, before anyone really knew what was going on. Can you imagine?  I remember my knees being shaky. Inside, I was terrified!

But I thought to myself, very specifically: Just tell the story. You're a storyteller, that's what you do.  

And that's what I did.

HANK (again):  Reds, on this day I am so especially grateful to you. There’s not a moment in the universe like the publication day of a book. I am on the verge of tears and on the verge of laughter every minute.

Please click here for my schedule—I’ll be travelling the county for the next month, and dearly hope to see you at your local bookstore or library! Okay?

Will you share this blog for me? And tweet it? It makes SUCH a big difference. (Every tweet or share is entered for a fabulous prize--wait til you hear!)

And biggest of all--though it’s probably not said aloud in polite company—might I ask you to buy TRUTH BE TOLD?  (And if you love it, tell a friend? Or two?) NO pressure, of course. It’s just my…career….

Easy comments today—just say what city you live in! so #HANKONTOUR can come your way. (And I will choose a few lucky commenters for another wonderful prize! )

Thank you, dearest Reds!


  1. What a great interview. I loved the idea of all the Jungle Red authors being involved.

    And "Truth Be Told" is so wonderful. I honestly couldn't put it down . . . so much suspense, so many plot twists. I'm already ready for the next book!

    [City I live in: Little Egg Harbor]

  2. Congratulations, Hank-- and please let me know if you will be in Milwaukee.

  3. Congratulations Hank, on the new book! I live in Ottawa, Ontario.

  4. Group interview AND group hug! So many well-deserved congratulations, Hank. Hope to see you in #Amesbury again soon.

  5. Tweeted and FB shared - that's all I can manage. ;^)

  6. Congratulations Hank--we're so proud of you and hope you sell a zillion copies! xoxo

  7. Congratulations and best wishes from Cincinnati

  8. Happy Book Day, Hank! Hearty congratulations! xxxx

  9. Love the story about the police officer in the doorway of the foreclosed (I almost write HAUNTED... too close to Halloween) house. Can't wait to hear you talk about it TONIGHT AT BROOKLINE BOOKSMITH.

    Can you give us a little taste of where people can find you in person over the next few weeks??

  10. I'm in Baltimore, as you well know Hank.

    This was a wonderful interview to wake up to. It took me back to my experience reading the book. No surprise, I LOVED it.

    I don't often share links here in the comments, but in case there are any commenters looking for spoiler-free reviews, here is a direct link to my BOLO Books Review: http://wp.me/p2Rj7R-V4

    Can't wait to see you in Long Beach, Hank. Safe travels on tour!

  11. Congratulations Hank! I hope you make it to - or near - Milford, or somewhere near New Haven!

    (Rhys: I just finished reading Queen of Hearts. So funny!)

  12. Happy Book Birthday TRUTH BE TOLD! (:

  13. I love the premise of the story, and especially that it grew from real-life moments from your day career. That's why it's such a compelling story. It makes you contemplate a crazy turn of events or bad luck that would make you lose your home. Terrifying. But it's more than that storyline. There are deeper issues as the new guy, and Jake, make you consider justice and how easy it is to assume the obvious is the truth, when it is not necessarily so.

    Best wishes for a great launch, from Newark, Delaware. Enjoy this exciting day!

  14. Congrats from my dot on the map--Berlin Heights, Ohio! Will you be near Cleveland as your tour proceeds?

    And thanks for sharing your excitement for your newest baby--,er, book!!

  15. Congratulations Hank! I've ordered my copy and will pick it up tomorrow night when I see Deborah Crombie in Oakmont. Just when I was wondering what I was going to read next.

    See you in December in Oakmont, PA!

  16. Can’t wait to read it here in Kansas City!

  17. Happy Happy Pub Day from Boone, NC!!

    Congratulations, Hank! TRUTH BE TOLD is wonderful, and honestly, from my heart, best yet. (can I just say that?)

    SO proud of you!!


  18. Congratulations from Atlanta!
    How you Reds do it, I'll never know but I love what each of you does.

  19. Congratulations, Hank! Looking forward to seeing you next month at CrimeBake and collecting your autograph on my copy of Truth Be Told!

  20. Ooh, I got chills thinking about the possibilities of that scenario!

    Happy book birthday, Hank! Are you coming to Cincinnati? Hope so.

  21. "I'm a storyteller" Well said.
    Very best wishes on your newest book.
    Boca Raton, FL

  22. RUnning in, running in--I am flying around the house trying to get ready! Whoo.

    And so lovely to hear from all of you.. Thank you! It is such a treat to have such dear friends.

    Let's see: Wednesday I am in Concord New Hampshire at GIbsons Bookstore at 7.
    Thurday--at Aunt Agatha's! In ANn Arbor at 7.
    Friday--SEATTLE! At Seattle Mystery Bookstore at noon.
    Saturday: SAN RAFAEL CA at Copperfields with CaraBlack!
    Sunday: OAKLAND CA at the Oakland Public Library
    Monday and Tuesday: Marblehead MA and Sturbridge MA
    Wednesday: DELRAY BEACH FL at Murder on the Beach!
    Thursday: ATLANTA Eagle Eye Bookshop at 7

  23. Oh, I love hearing where you all are from! It makes me picture you a bit differently!

  24. Since you're going to be in the Bay Area anyway, how about San Jose (or Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, Mountain View)? Your new book sounds wonderful--congratulations!

  25. Minneapolis! I'm sure Pat & Gary would love to have you at Once Upon a Crime! Come quick before winter strikes! : )

  26. Congratulations on release day, Hank! TRUTH BE TOLD, I loved the new book, and think it's your best yet. You're right. And, sending hugs and good wishes for the new book and the new tour.

    (Evansville, Indiana)

  27. Happy Book Birthday, Hank! I also Facebooked a photo of my Kindle edition cover of TBT with our cats. Yes, that's right - your book cover is included in a gratuitous cat photo! :) =:-D I'm pulling out ALL the stops. :) Anyway, have a fab party tonight! I wish I could be there.

  28. YAY Rhonda. Yeah, don't hold back. All kitties welcome! Puppies, creepy bugs, funny kid videos, SOLD! xoo

  29. Happy Publishing Day to you, Hank. You've worked very hard and you deserve all of your success. Congratulations!

    --Marjorie of Connecticut

  30. Congratulations, Hank. Can't wait to read it. But I'm sure your book tour won't get anywhere near Amasa, MI (there is nothing near Amasa, MI).

    Perhaps Savannah, GA when I get south?

    ~ Jim

  31. AW, thank you, all. I am reading every one of these, and juggling like mad..so keep them coming!

  32. Congratulations! I hope your book tour will bring you to Portland, Oregon (probably Powell's).

  33. Hi Hank,
    HUGE congratulations - I will start reading Truth Be Told tonight!! I can't wait to see you at Vroman's later this month. And I live in L.A. :) XOXO Kim

  34. Congrats on Pub Day, and your new book! Can't wait to read it!

    My city: Muncie, IN

  35. Hank, dear, if I did the math correctly, you started investigative reporting when you were fifteen? Although I don't for a minute doubt it!

    I can't WAIT to read this book and will be buying it tonight when I'm signing in Dayton, OH at Books & Co. I only wish I could be there in Brookline for your launch event.

    Oh, and am tweeting and FaceBooking now!!! Happy Book Birthday, wonderful Hank!!!

  36. Thanks for the great interview and congrats on the book birthday!

    Unfortunately, this one never came up on Amazon Vine, so I haven't had a chance to read it yet. :(

    And as you know, I live in Santa Clarita, CA, so come on back to our library!

  37. Hank, I was fortunate enough to receive the ARC of "Truth" and particularly was moved by the scene of the police officer in the doorway. So sad that this episode came from real life! Anyway, congratulations on publication day. I'd love to meet you some day if you ever do an event in Denver. I live in Wyoming, but can get down to Denver to see special people like the Jungle Reds.

  38. Superb interview! What a great way to start your book birthday! Wish I could be there....taking care of customers at Walgreens....have a fantastic night!!! Xoxoxo Nancy in Bellingham Ma

  39. Happy Book Birthday, Hank. Great interview. I love the fact that your professionalism speaks louder than words with being able to click through the who-what-when-where-and-hows and not let emotion get in the way of your journalism. (Living in the Boston area, I've long been a fan before I learned of your books.) I'm curious, though, on how you're tempted to get revenge in your books? Have you slayed a jerk with your pen?

    Hugs and best wishes to you!

  40. Such a great interview! Can't wait to read Truth Be Told.

    And while I'd LOVE to have you come to our quirky little Yellow Springs, Ohio (just ask Hallie!), Dayton is probably more reasonable.

  41. Looking forward to seeing you at Book Carnival in Orange, CA, Hank! As well as at Bouchercon. Congratulations, and best of luck!!

  42. Yay, Hank@ I'll definitely share!

    But, I'm sad, not that I'm surprised because it happens all the time -- authors hit Seattle, fly right over Portland (Powell's!) :-( -- and then hit the Bay Area.

    At least I'll see you at Bouchercon!

  43. Happy, happy publication day, Hank! I was so fortunate to receive an ARC and read this wonderful book early. Like Kristopher, I reviewed it on my blog, and, as you already know, I did a feature on you, including reviews of the first two Jane Ryland books, too. Link is http://www.readingroom-readmore.com/ Kristopher, I love it when you and others share links to their blogs, so please don't hold back. Your review is fantastic.

    Hank, I agree with you wholeheartedly that Truth Be Told is perfect just the way it is! What surprised me about this book, not its brilliance, is that I liked the new guy, Peter, that you introduced. I was all set to hate him and want Jake to take him out (hehehe), and by golly, if you didn't gobsmack me with affection for Peter. I am such a theme nut, too, that I was thrilled with all the different truths and ways of getting to the truth and effects of the truth.

    Oh, and even though I received an ARC, I had to have a hard copy, too, which arrived this morning. Funny story is that I apparently double ordered, and I received two copies this morning. Looks like someone is getting a great Christmas gift. Have a fabulous day, Hank! You've earned it.

    Lesa from Evansville. I live in Owensboro, KY right across the river from you, and I frequent Evansville a lot, as my daughter and her family live nearby.

  44. Congrats on the launch day and the great reviews! What an accomplishment!

  45. Hi Hank,
    great interview by your fellow Reds! going out to my mailbox fingers crossed that my Amazon pre-order arrived. You said to mention your city-- Woodstock, NY (yes, THAT Woodstock!) -- located between Poughkeepsie and Kingston. If you could land anywhere in the Mid-Hudson Valley, that would be so wonderful! see you at CrimeBake! Sandy Gardner sgardner2@hvc.rr.com

  46. Happy Launch Day, Hank! We're all excited for you and looking forward to reading MORE glowing reviews of TRUTH BE TOLD in the coming weeks!

  47. Hank, I used to run home across the yard to get to our little grad student apartment up the precarious three flights of stairs to collapse to be with Steve and watch you be your "… compassionate, and thoughtful, and open-minded" self. I hope you understand and know what that means to your viewers who need that in their lives.

    —Yours from Tucson

  48. Sorry to miss your launch party at Brookline Booksmith, Hank.
    Can't wait to read TRUTH BE TOLD!

    Chestnut Hill

  49. Such a treat to hear from all of you! Fabulous fabulous.. thank you--I am so grateful. And an incredible SRO crowd tonight for the launch--Photos on Facebook soon!

    Love you so much!

  50. Happy Launch Day, Hank! I've read & loved all your previous books, so I'm looking forward to this latest!

    For over a year now my husband & I have been caregivers to my elderly parents, so even tho' I can't always comment in a timely manner, I still read and enjoy JRW faithfully!

    Wish we had more caring, investigative journalists in Texas! (I'm in the boonies in East Texas, but spend lots of time in the Dallas suburbs.)

    Can't wait to read TRUTH BE TOLD. xo

  51. Congrats! Fascinating how this story came about.

    I live in Antioch, CA and will see you in Oakland, CA and at Bouchercon :-)

  52. Congrats, Hank! I can't wait to read this one.

    I live in the mountains of SW Colorado, but you could come to Maria's Bookshop in Durango and I would tell everyone to come!

    Shelly from Muncie
    Mary C from Chestnut HIll
    and Grandma Cootiie

    YOU WIN a gorgeous black satin drawstring bag embossed with the words "Who is The Other Woman?"

    Slinky and fabulous..and perfect for holding beautiful things. And there are only a few of them in the world.

    Email me at h ryan at whdh dot com

  54. hi Hank,
    Great interview of you by the Reds! Question: Does being on the other end of the interview -- the interviewee -- have any influence on how you do your interviews? And the other way around?
    Just wondering ...
    sandy gardner