Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Hurray for ONE WRONG WORD!

DEBORAH CROMBIE: It’s here, the day we’ve all been waiting for, the debut of our fabulous Hank Phillippi Ryan’s new thriller, ONE WRONG WORD!!

You know Hank’s won so many prestigious awards for her crime fiction– five Agatha Awards, five Anthony Awards, the Daphne, the Macavity, and the coveted Mary HIggins Clark Award. And she’s won 37 Emmys for her TV investigative reporting. She’s also one of the founders of Jungle Red. So, truly, we would not be here without her!

The Reds couldn’t decide who would have the honor of interviewing Hank, so we’ve pooled our questions in what I think is our first group interview! We are so excited!

JRW: Tell us about ONE WRONG WORD!

HANK: Oh, for some reason–even now that I’m on book 15–giving a tiny synopsis is the hardest part...so I will practice on you!

One wrong word can ruin your life, and no one knows that better than crisis management expert Arden Ward --because she's now forced to manage a crisis in her own life.

She's been accused of having a scandalous affair with the client –it’s not true! –but she’s given two weeks to save her career. Her assignment is to repair the reputation of Ned Bannister, a powerful Boston real estate mogul who has just been acquitted in a vehicular homicide. But even though the jury found him not guilty, the court of public opinion still thinks of him as the Parking Garage Killer - and that's ruining his life. And his wife's life. (Just ask her.) And the lives of his two adorable children.

So Arden devotes what may be her last two weeks on the job to helping the shattered family. and convincing the public that Ned Bannister is actually a good guy. But as the truth begins to emerge, so do Arden’s doubts-- might be might she be staking her career on protecting a killer?

Here’s a link! https://bit.lyOWWHPR

JRW: In the past you have had fun describing your books in five words, and then five phrases. Did you do that for this book?

HANK: Oh, yes, I can never resist!

Here’s what it’s about in 5 words: Scandal. Betrayal. Greed. Empowerment. And revenge.

And in five phrases? A crisis management expert with a crisis of her own. A shocking and salacious rumor. A controversial jury verdict. A gorgeous brownstone on Beacon Hill. And the devastating power of public opinion.

Bottom line: two smart strong people face off in a high stakes psychological cat and mouse game to prove their truth about a deadly crime --but which character is the cat, and which character is the mouse?

JRW: We love your cat-and-mouse thrillers! And the amazing Oline Cogdill’s review called this one “a winner.” Where did the book come from?

HANK: Harlan Coben once told me to write the kind of book you love to read, and when you do, the reader will feel that passion on the page. 

So I'm not a fan of graphic violence in books, but I do love gaslighting, mind games, deception, and a little bit of murder. And that got me thinking about violence, and how powerful and destructive words can be. In fact, I thought, words are a powerful weapon we all possess--we just have to decide whether to use those words for good or evil.

We also all know how it feels to have someone say something about us that is completely and devastatingly untrue--how do we fight back from that? (Something like that happened to me, long ago, and it left a powerful mark.)

I’m also fascinated by the people who make their living convincing others what to think—the public relations people, the crisis management experts, the spinners and the fixers. I've worked with them for years as a reporter. And found some who are honorable and wise, others… not so much.

And all we have is our reputation, right, that fragile fragile creature?

I also know how one wrong word can ruin your life.

So I knew weaving all that together could be an intense and compelling story. What if a crisis management expert had to manage a scandal in her own life? And as a result, what if she had to protect a murderer?

JRW: That sounds amazing. But wait, go back. What happened to you?

HANK: Ohhh. When I was about 19, (and this is one of the few photos I have of myself from that time)  one of my first jobs in the real world was in a political campaign. Very high pressure, very high stakes, very fast-paced.

 I was a worker bee, and I absolutely loved it. But one day I overheard a conversation between two campaign big wigs, and they were gossiping about another powerful man in the campaign. 

We'll call him Jim, not his real name.

The first man said “I hear Jim has a big crush on Hank. And if his wife ever hears about it, it's going to be a disaster.”

WHAT? I was completely baffled! This was completely news to me, I had no idea, and certainly would never be involved in such a thing. I was horrified.

But then the second man said something like: “Well, I guess we'll have to fire Hank.”

And I thought what? Fire me? Fire me? Seems to me that Jim is the one who has to go.

Well, no one got fired, and nothing untoward ensured, and the campaign ended, and we all went our separate ways. But, as I said, that moment has stayed with me so powerfully. I had done absolutely nothing wrong, yet I was the expendable one.

JRW: So did you set out to write a book about that?

HANK: No. That's the hilarious part! It never crossed my mind that the book was about that, until partway through and I realized--ohh, I see now! I'm writing about what happened to me. I'm writing to set things right. I'm writing about what I wish I would have done when I was that age.

My books are often about women getting their power back, so maybe, even after all these years, this was a way to get mine back.

JRW: And now you are off on book tour!

HANK: Yes! It all started Friday with a sold-out SRO pre-launch (WOW!) at Brookline Booksmith where I was interviewed by Tess Gerritsen! 

And if all goes as planned, today, Tuesday, I will be on the Tamron Hall show! I took the train to New York on Monday, went to the studio this morning dash--and crossing fingers it all went well! Then I leap back on the train, and head up to Boston for the official launch party at An Unlikely Story Bookstore. A magical place!

Then Wednesday morning I'm off to Atlanta, and then Florida, and… I think I will be home for about four days in all of February. So this should be a truly magical mystery tour!

I'll be in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas and Arizona-- at least! Here's a link to my events. http://HankPhillippiRyan.com/events It would be so incredible to see you, Reds and Readers. What an absolute treat it would be to meet you.

JRW: And you’re having an amazing giveaway!

HANK: Yes, and it has a fascinating writerly origin. You never know where your next story is coming from, that's for sure, and I realized that another genesis of ONE WRONG WORD is a short story I wrote, years ago, called “All Aboard.”

(It takes place entirely on a train, which was quite the challenge!)

I reread it recently, and realized: Oh! In this short story are the seeds for Arden Ward. It was fascinating, because I didn’t realize it until after the fact.

So I'd love to hear what you think. And that's why everyone who sends me a proof of purchase for any format of ONE WRONG WORD--- hardcover, audiobook, or ebook--will get a copy of "All Aboard" as a gift! Just email here with your proof: giftfromhank@gmail.com and we will instantly send it to you.

Which reminds me of something else fabulous. If you get the audio book, there's a surprise at the end! Of course the brilliant actor Gail Shalan reads the story itself, but with the help and guidance of Macmillan Audio, I recorded my own acknowledgments! And that was truly fun. Here I am in the studio.

JRW: Love that. And it must have been so much fun. Congratulations on the stellar reviews–I saw the amazing Collette Bancroft said: “Ryan builds the pacing of “One Wrong Word” skillfully, keeping both Arden and the reader spinning amid the flurry of lies, shocks and escalating danger. It’s a thrilling ride.”

That’s so wonderful!

HANK: Yes, that was such a delight to read, Thank you, darling friends! Please keep in touch with me via social media…and crossing fingers for my new adventure!

Will I see any of you on the road?

And oh–if you do a bookface–like some of the Reds have here!--post it on social media and tag me! And I will send you a special gift. (Aren't they hilarious?)



  1. Congratulations on the release of and great reviews for One Wrong Move.

  2. Happy Book Birthday, Hank! And congratulations on all the great reviews . . . ONE WRONG WORD is truly unputdownable.

  3. Congrats, Hank! Sadly, I won't get to see you on the road since you aren't making it to CA this time.

  4. Congratulations on your book release. I was lucky to read an early copy and loved it. Again, thanks for writing wonderful stories that is shared.

  5. Congratulations on your new book!! I'm hoping my schedule allows me to go see you in St. Petersburg.

  6. So many congratulations, Hank! Your tour sounds like a whirlwind - don't forget to breathe.

    I will say those bookfaces are...disturbing.

  7. Congratulations, Hank. And what a great interview! That was an amazing share about how you would have had to be the one to go if any firing was done way back when. (Grrr.) I certainly hope htings have changed since then.

    How I wish I could see you on one of your appearances. While we love being in Portugal, I do regret that there are many events like this I have to miss. Have a wonderful tour.

  8. HANK: YAY, today's the day! Enjoy your whirlwind book release day and magical mystery book tour!!

    I was also lucky to be a Super Reader of ONE WRONG WORD. Everyone is in for another twisty, thrilling read!!

  9. Congratulations, Hank! Can't wait to get my hands on this book! As for your tour, I know I'll see you in May at the Pennwriters Conference, hopefully sooner.

    Great interview, Reds!

  10. Lynette Porter-TinnelFebruary 6, 2024 at 6:29 AM


  11. Hurray Hank, mine should arrive today at the bookstore and I can't wait to read it! The book faces are simply brilliant:)

  12. Hank, congratulations on the release of ONE WRONG WORD. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a copy. I had hoped to go to tonight's launch party at An Unlikely Story but it doesn't look like that is going to be possible. Hopefully you'll be able to do a signing down on the Cape at some point.

  13. Congratulations, Hank! Enjoy the tour and your readers' joy in all your (very right) words!!!

  14. Congratulations, Hank! I am excited for you and for your author tour.

  15. Woohoo, Hank! Congratulations and bon voyage!

  16. Woo hoo! So exciting. I wish you were coming to Oregon! I can't wait to read the book.

  17. Happy book day! Wishing you fun - and smooth travels!- on your exciting month

  18. Congrats and safe travels! Put Cincinnati on your itinerary next time.

  19. Congratulations! Sadly I don't see Pittsburgh on your itinerary, but have a fabulous time!

    1. Gah! I'll see you in May at Pennwriters! How could I forget?

  20. Happy Pub Day Hank! Safe travels on your tour. Take time to breathe and soak in all the adulation!

  21. I always chuckle about the time a new Hank book comes out, because you always worry about how it will be received--and ta-da, Hank! Another brilliant feather in your cap!! Wishing you a great book tour!! It's clear that you thrive on the whirlwind of activity!!

    And that photo of you at 19--such an open, eager, excited young woman--then to overhear that horrid conversation. Makes me want to find those guys and smack 'em upside the head!

  22. HANK: Happy book birthday! I love that you are NOT a fan of graphic violence. Neither am I. Isn't it great to have the opportunity to set things right in writing a story? I remember the except to your novel and I look forward to reading about Arden and her world.

    Loved All Abroad short story. I think that was on my top ten favorites from that collection of short stories.

    Yay! I got first dibs on a copy of your novel from the library and just borrowed it online! I wonder if your novel is also Reese's Book Club pick for February.

    Question: What was it like meeting Tamron Hall?


  23. All best. wished for Hank's new book. One Wrong Word is brilliant! Can't wait to see her on her Texas tour!

  24. Happiest of Pub Days Hank! ~ Sharon Bishop

  25. Congratulations one the new publication, Hank. Enjoy your exhausting to read about tour.

  26. Congratulations on One Wrong Word! I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I wish you were coming to my area!


  27. It sounds like a terrific book, Hank. I hope your tour is lots of fun.

  28. Hank, I am in awe of both your writing skills (we all ADORE your twisty, back-stabbing novels) and your stamina - just reading about your tour makes me tired! You are going to do amazingly well with this book, and I know the readers in... well, all over the states! will be so excited to meet you.

  29. Sounds fabulous! Congrats, Hank. You've hit it out of the park again.

  30. Congratulations, Hank! Safe travels on your book tour. Can’t wait to get my hands on One Wrong Word! — Pat S

  31. Not many comments today.

  32. YAY, Hank!!! Such a fabulous book! You are on fire, my friend, in the best possible way!!!

  33. Yeah!! Happy Travels! And Congrats on your new book.

  34. Happy pub day, Hank!! What a fabulous book, and we are so proud of you!!! Have a fabulous whirlwind of a book tour, and we will all be with you in spirit. (Wish you were coming to Dallas as well as Houston, sigh...)


  35. "We also all know how it feels to have someone say something about us that is completely and devastatingly untrue" - Hank
    I have a relative who does this - it took me decades to figure it out and now I understand why people who were friends became very aloof and distant.

  36. from above ^ will tape the Tamara Hall Show to watch for later.

  37. Bravo, HANK! You just keep hitting it out of the park!! This one sounds absolutely fabulous, and very Hank-y in terms of the themes and a wonderful main character for the reader to root for.

  38. First time I heard of Akris blouse.

  39. Hello from the train ! I am reading every single one of these—you are all so lovely and supportive—awwww. Thank you. I will answer them all on the plane tomorrow! Love love love— and Tamron Hall was absolutely incredible!

  40. Happy publication day! You absolutely deserve top billing for this exciting novel. It was so exciting to read an advance copy! My Super Reader gift bag arrived in the mail this past Saturday. Thank you so much for this recognition. I can't wait to congratulate you in person tonight and hear all about your exciting day. Yippie!

  41. Currently watching Tamron Hall right now. You go girl. Great interview!

  42. Super interview on Tamron Hall, Hank!! Way to go!!!

  43. Great event tonight at The Unlikely Story Bookstore in Plainville, MA. Hank's remarks were right on point. Great questions from the audience, too! Maybe we will see a sequel written for Arden? I miss Jane Ryland and Charlie McNally! Safe travels on your book tour!

  44. Oh the frightening tyranny of what might happen. Recently friends were discussing the things we put up with at work in the '70s. We've come a ways, and mustn't go backward. Stick up for each other, stay strong, persist! The book is brilliant!