The Wrong Girl

( 12 )

Overview

Award-winning and Boston Globe bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan presents a spine-chilling, heart-wrenching suspense novel that explores a terrifying scenario striking at the heart of every family.

Does a respected adoption agency have a frightening secret? Tipped off by a determined ex-colleague on a desperate quest to find her birth mother, Boston newspaper reporter Jane Ryland begins to suspect that the agency is engaging in the ...

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Overview

Award-winning and Boston Globe bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan presents a spine-chilling, heart-wrenching suspense novel that explores a terrifying scenario striking at the heart of every family.

Does a respected adoption agency have a frightening secret? Tipped off by a determined ex-colleague on a desperate quest to find her birth mother, Boston newspaper reporter Jane Ryland begins to suspect that the agency is engaging in the ultimate betrayal—reuniting birth parents with the wrong children.

For detective Jake Brogan and his partner, a young woman’s brutal murder seems a sadly predictable case of domestic violence, one that results in two toddlers being shuttled into the foster care system. Then Jake finds an empty cradle at the murder scene. Where is the baby who should have been sleeping there?

Jane and Jake are soon on a trail full of twists and turns that takes them deep into the heart of a foster care system in crisis and threatens to blow the lid off an adoption agency scandal. When the threatening phone calls start, Jane knows she is on the right track…but with both a killer at large and an infant missing, time is running out….

The Wrong Girl is a riveting novel of familial relationships—both known and unknown—vile greed, senseless murder, and the ultimate in deception. What if you didn’t know the truth about your own family?

 

The Wrong Girl is the winner of the 2013 Agatha Award for best contemporary novel.

Winner of the 2013 Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A strong theme compensates for a heavy reliance on coincidence in Ryan’s sequel to 2012’s The Other Woman, a Mary Higgins Clark Award winner. Tucker Cameron, a former colleague of reporter Jane Ryland’s at the Register, a Boston newspaper, asks for Jane’s help in determining how a private adoption agency, Brannigan Family and Children Services, managed to “reunite” her with the wrong birth mother. Meanwhile, an anonymous phone call leads Det. Jake Brogan and his partner, Det. Paul DeLuca, to a Roslindale apartment, where they find the body of a woman who’s suffered a fatal blow to the head, but no murder weapon accompanying it. Jane’s editor assigns her to cover the killing, setting the stage for a complex investigation. Ryan does a good job portraying the foster care and adoption systems, their shortcomings, abuses, and overpowering demands. Intriguing secondary characters, including an idealistic worker at Brannigan, support the well-matched Jane and Jake, whose romance continues to smolder. Author tour. Agent: Lisa Gallagher, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"Whip-smart writing and a dizzying pace make The Wrong Girl a thrilling, one-night read!"

— Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of Last to Die

Praise for THE OTHER WOMAN

"Hank Phillippi Ryan is a star."

—Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author

"Innocent bystanders beware! This series is off and running. You better hope you can catch up."

—Sue Grafton, New York Times bestselling author

"What a wonderful heroine!  Anyone who loves smart, multi-dimensional characters will fall for Jane Ryland... It’s a thrilling ride and thrilling read."

—Louise Penny, New York Times bestselling author

Library Journal
Ryan's stellar follow-up to The Other Woman throws Boston newspaper reporter Jane Ryland into a strange mystery. She hears the story of a former colleague, adopted as an infant, who used information provided by her adoption agency to find her birth mother, only to discover that the woman was not, in fact, her real mom. An investigation hints at a possible conspiracy with children reunited with the wrong parents. As this unfolds, a domestic violence case haunts Det. Jake Brogan. And though there is a crib at the crime scene, where is the baby? VERDICT Jane and Jake are engaging protagonists, and the will-they-or-won't-they tension will appeal to romance fans. The thrills are also abundant, and the plot takes a left turn when the reader is sure it's going right. Ryan has a gift for writing superb thrillers, and this one is sure to be a big hit with her growing fan base. [See Prepub Alert, 3/25/13.]—Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L.
Kirkus Reviews
A young woman's murder, which orphans two children, gives a reporter a story she can't resist. Jane Ryland has finally settled into her role as reporter at the Register when her old co-worker Tuck approaches Jane about an off-the-clock investigation she'd like Jane to take on. Thanks to the people at Brannigan Family and Children Services, Tuck was recently reunited with her birth mother, but some details of the reunion have made Tuck suspicious that she may in fact be the wrong girl, matched with a mother who isn't her own. Jane's former and potentially future flame Detective Jake Brogan is saddled with another case that involves working with the child welfare system when he's called in to investigate a murder that leaves two children without a family. Getting wind of the case, Jane schemes to get information out of Jake, his partner, Detective DeLuca, and the staff at the Department of Family Services. Though most folks seem wise to Jane's tricks, she's sure she can find a weak link in the chain that will lead her to some clues to investigate. All this drama distracts Jane from Tuck's quest but doesn't stop some of the staff at the Brannigan from doing a bit of investigating of their own. Threads of the story are woven together in a net that threatens to ensnare Jane if she can't unravel them first. The complex storyline, which approaches child welfare from many different angles, provides Ryan (The Other Woman, 2012, etc.) with a plot that never allows the reader a moment of breathing room.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765332585
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 9/10/2013
  • Series: Jane Ryland Series , #2
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 348,546
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN is the investigative reporter for Boston's NBC affiliate, and has won twenty-eight Emmys and ten Edward R. Murrow awards. A Boston Globe bestselling author, Ryan has won the

has won two Agatha Awards, in addition to the Anthony, Macavity, Daphne du Maurier, and Mary Higgins Clark Award. She’s on the national board of directors of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime and is the author of The Other Woman, The Wrong Girl and Truth be Told.

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Read an Excerpt

1

 

“Listen, Jane. I don’t think she’s my real mother.”

Jane Ryland took the phone from her ear, peering at it as if it could somehow help Tuck’s incomprehensible tale make sense. Real mother? She didn’t know Tuck was adopted, let alone looking for her birth mother. Why would Tuck call her? And spill this soul-baring saga of abandonment, adoption agencies, then meeting some woman in Connecticut? Jane and Tuck were barely friends, let alone confidantes, especially after Tuck had—

The doorbell?

“I’m in your front lobby.” Tuck’s voice buzzed over the intercom at the same time it came through the phone. “Sorry to show up at your apartment on a Sunday, you know, but I couldn’t come to the Register, of course.”

Of course. It’d be humiliating for Tuck to visit Jane at the newspaper where they’d shared a cubicle as “news roomies” only months ago. Once a hotshot reporter, Tucker Cameron had been fired from the Register for sleeping with a source. The Boston Police public relations officer, of all dumb choices. In the months since, according to the nonstop newsroom gossip, the two pariahs, Tuck and Laney, had dropped off the map. Until now. But that was Tuck. Never a dull …

Jane pushed the red button in the intercom box, retied the drawstring on her fraying weekend sweatpants, and opened her front door, making sure Coda didn’t streak through her legs. The calico—a kitten, really—had arrived on the downstairs stoop a few weeks before, tiny paws icy with snow. All Humane Society intentions disappeared after the shivering fluff nuzzled into Jane’s shoulder, but neither of them was quite used to the other yet.

Jane heard the entry door click open, three flights down, and Tuck’s footsteps climbing the hardwood steps as she talked into her cell. “So what am I supposed to do now, roomie? I’m not a reporter anymore. No one will talk to me. Laney’s looking for a job. I’m like a—well, you’re the only one who can help me. The only one who was even nice to me. After.”

Tuck’s head appeared around the landing, a black knit cap over her dark ponytail. A puffy snow-flecked black parka emerged, then her black jeans. She paused, one leather glove grazing the mahogany banister, the other raised in tentative greeting. Tuck’s trademark swagger—her outta-my-way confidence—was missing.

“Tuck? You okay?” Just another February at Jane’s. First a stray kitten, and now—was Tuck crying? Tuck?

“I guess so.” Tuck stomped the last of the snow from her salt-stained boots, punched off her phone, stuffed it into her parka pocket. “I’m trying to be angry instead of miserable. But I can’t let this go.”

She swiped under her eyes with two gloved fingers, wiping away what could have been snow. “It’s my whole life, you know?”

“Tell me inside. Get warm. Dump your boots by the door.” Jane took Tuck’s soggy parka and cap, draped them over the banister, then ushered her visitor into the living room, pointing her to the taupe-striped wing chair by the bay window. Slushy snow pelted the glass, the wind clattering bare branches, the last of the afternoon’s feeble gray light struggling through. Coda slept on the couch, almost invisible, curled on a chocolate-and-cream paisley cushion.

“Tea? Beer? Wine?”

“Wine. Thanks. This has really kicked my ass.” Tuck plopped into the chair, then twisted one leg around the other. “The lawyer I contacted at first was worthless, then the agency got my hopes up, but now, well, this is worse than not knowing. Which is why I’m here.”

Which made no sense whatsoever.

They’d been office mates for only about two weeks. Jane was dayside, covering politics. Tuck worked the night shift, seemed to care only about her sensational front-page Bridge Killer stories. Their paths crossed only when their stories did. Now for some reason Tuck seemed to think she needed Jane’s help, so here she was. That was Tuck.

“Hang on a sec, let me get you a glass.” Jane padded to the kitchen, grabbed the wine from the fridge, twisted it open. What would it feel like, not to know your own mother? As a kid, she’d thrown around adoption like a threat. “When my REAL mother comes to get me, you’ll be sorry,” a petulant eight-year-old Jane taunted her parents. She and BFF Laurie, slumber-party faces smeared in beauty goo, speculated in late-night whispers whether Jane’s chestnut hair and hazel eyes meant she might really be adopted, might really be royalty or Bono’s girlfriend’s abandoned daughter.

Jane did know what being fired felt like. It happened to her last summer and the sting hadn’t quite gone away. So if Tuck needed her for something? She held out the glass and sat cross-legged on the couch. Least she could do was pour some wine and listen. “Okay, all ears.”

With Coda’s purr a rumbling underscore, Tuck spilled the details.

Jane’s reporter training switched into gear, assessing what could be wrong, or a coincidence, or a mistake. She ticked off her questions, finger to finger, as she did with every story she covered.

“So back at the beginning. You called the agency. Your mother told you which one?”

“Yes. ‘The Brannigan,’ they call it. Brannigan Family and Children Services. Ten years ago, when I first called, they told me all the records were sealed until my birth mother gave the okay to open them. A closed adoption, you know? Then I guess I tried to forget about it. I mean, I was eighteen, she might have been dead. Plus, I knew my mom—adoptive mother—wouldn’t love that I was looking.”

Tuck paused, rolled her eyes.. “She’d have said, in that snarky voice she uses, ‘Why do you need another mother, Tucker dear? Am I not enough for you?’” She shrugged. “She’d probably still say that, even in her … condition. But she lives in Florida, she stayed in their condo thing after Dad died. So she’ll never know.”

“Condition? She’s…?” Jane searched for a way to ask. She missed her own mother every day. Poor Tuck.

“Yeah. Doctors say it won’t be long, and ah, I don’t know. I’m trying to deal with that, too. It’s hard.” She puffed out a breath, shook her head. “Anyway. Last week, after all that time, the Brannigan called to say they’d found my birth mother. It felt perfect, you know? With me and Laney serious, thinking of kids, and the last of my adoptive family almost gone? But now…” Tuck pulled the stretchy band from her ponytail, then twisted it back on. Took a sip of wine, carefully replaced her glass on the coaster.

She looked at Jane. “But now, even though I’m not at the paper anymore, I think I may be on to the story of my life.”

 

Copyright © 2013 by Hank Phillippi Ryan

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2014

    Finding your biologgical parents

    Is it a good idea ti find your biological parents.? Youd know you have somthig good with your adopted parents they wanted you! People are human also curupt mistakes are made coruption is done to hide people its more upseting to think you were hooked up with you biological parents only to be disapointed there the wrong people. Good book started slow then it grabed you. Must read

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 23, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    In the opening pages of the newest book from Hank Phillippi Ryan

    In the opening pages of the newest book from Hank Phillippi Ryan, Tucker (“Tuck”) Cameron contacts Jane Ryland to ask for her help in what has been a long quest to find her birth mother. Only acquaintances, the lives of both women had taken them along somewhat similar, if negative, professional paths: Tuck had been fired from her job as a reporter at the Boston Register for sleeping with a source. Jane is now working at the Register, after having been an award-winning investigative tv reporter before she lost her job for refusing to give up a source. Her job at the Register is a somewhat shaky proposition, what with all the paring down of personnel at newspapers around the country. The two had only worked together at the paper for about two weeks, but Tuck doesn’t know where else to turn.

    Seeking to find the truth about her birth parents, Tuck had years ago gone to Brannigan Family and Children Services, the name her adoptive mother had given her. It had been a closed adoption, with the records sealed, but apparently her birth mother had now given permission for them to be opened. Tuck finally has the information she is so desperate to acquire. We quickly meet some of the personnel at the Brannigan, whose theoretical purpose is making connections and putting families together. But now Tuck has reason to believe that her newly found mother has been sent the “wrong girl” of the title. And soon things take a sinister turn as two of the people at the Brannigan are found dead. And more deaths swiftly follow.

    Initially the p.o.v. was constantly and quickly changing and revolving among the lead characters, with many balls in the air at one time. That was a bit dizzying in the early pages, less so as the story picks up speed and suspense, which it quickly does. Jane is still ambivalent about her romantic attachment to Jake Brogan, the cop who is assigned to investigate the deaths that take place, and they still find that their respective professional obligations make any relationship difficult. The investigation takes many unexpected turns, and the suspense is well-sustained throughout.

    I have loved all of this author’s previous novels, especially the last one, “The Other Woman,” which introduced Jane Ryland and set a high bar for its follow-up. “The Wrong Girl” is a fine addition to the series, and it is recommended.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2013

    The Wrong Girl is the right read! Hank Phillippi Ryan brings us

    The Wrong Girl is the right read!

    Hank Phillippi Ryan brings us back into the world of Jane Ryland, a Boston newspaper reporter, and Detective Jake Brogan, with their smoldering we-can’t-do-this relationship and a trail of deaths, murders and questions involving the foster care system and an adoption agency that appears to be reuniting children with the wrong parents. Danger lurks in every lead; this is another winning roller coaster ride for Ryan. The plots intertwine with delicious suspense, I will admit to having to put the book down and walk away to gather myself when even Jane’s tiny fur friend is in danger! Put aside a day to sit and read, you will not want to put this down. Jane’s former colleague Tuck asks for help to find out why she is being reunited with a woman who is not her foster mother. Is there a sinister motive? Is it for money or something else? Jake is following leads to find out who murdered a young woman, and will his instincts prove right that a baby is missing? The leads head for a collision course, and who will survive the dangers lurking at every turn? This is a page turner that will keep your heart racing and have you second guessing yourself if you think you know what is going to happen! Don’t miss another great book from Boston’s own treasure, Hank Phillippi Ryan!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Jane Ryland¿s still acclimating to life at The Boston Register,


    Jane Ryland’s still acclimating to life at The Boston Register, still transitioning from TV to newspaper reporter, after being fired by Boston’s channel 11 for refusing to reveal a source. Deciding maybe this life without “Air Time” and “Face Time” is okay, not having to always be primped has it’s perks, but now it’s all about selling papers and making headlines because there are rumors of more cuts coming.
    When former work mate, Tuck comes to Jane with a personal false identity adoption story Jane agrees to help look into Tuck’s adoption. Hoping for a scoop, she begins by finding out just why Tuck thinks she’s The Wrong Girl. The deeper into the story Jane gets there seems to be more questions than answers and Jane’s certain she’s opened a Pandora’s box when she’s personally and anonymously threatened.
    In the mean time Boston Homicide Detective, Jake Brogan’s called to investigate a possible domestic turned murder that leaves two children survivors behind, the more comprehensively he and his partner investigate this crime, the more puzzle pieces there are to put into place.
    It also places Jane and Jake in the same places at the same time which brings uncertainty as to why and also brings their untimely, star-crossed attraction constantly to the surface where they’re forced to question the sanity of resisting it over giving into it.

    Extra, Extra!!
    Hank Phillipi Ryan’s newest novel is another brilliant example of why she’s a bestselling, Agatha and Edgar winning author.
    Hank’s premise is one that could be headlined on any media source with its mistaken identity adoption draw. She intricately weaves her multiple threaded tale, dropping seemingly innocent thoughts until they start adding up to clues that will lead her readers down the garden path of wrong ways, while she easily slips from one voice to the next. Every character role is played to perfection but at the heart it’s all about Jane. Her scruples are what every J-school professor hopes his students excel at and on pg.142 she says it all when Jane tells readers that her job as a reporter is to “make happy endings” even at the expense of her own, which is yet another pull for fans. The incredible almost palatable attraction between her and Jake and the “right way” Hank always handles it. And then there’s the emotional cliff-hanger Hank so thoughtfully leaves us with that will make us yearn for the next in the series while wondering how on earth we’re going to wait until it’s here.
    The Wrong Girl is an adrenaline filled page-turner, an edge of your seat thriller and a romance in hiding; it will attract a variety of readers from multiple genres and attract new fans as well. If you’re looking for a title that will help you heat up those cool autumn nights look no further.
    Hank I’ve been there from the beginning and have enjoyed every heart-stopping mile and can’t wait for the next leg of the journey.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Suspenseful, Great Series

    One of the things I especially enjoy about author Hank Phillippi Ryan’s Jane Ryland Series is how realistic her characters are, particularly her protagonist. Narrator Ilyana Kadushin does an excellent job giving individual voices to the various characters in Ryan’s THE WRONG GIRL. Kadushin conveys the vast array of emotions the different characters experience. Her cadence holds your attention and heightens the drama of Ryan’s new suspense thriller. Newspaper reporter Jane Ryland agrees to help former colleague Tucker Cameron with a personal issue concerning her adoption. Tucker has been reunited with her birth mother through the Brannigan Family and Children Service. However, she’s afraid she’s the wrong girl because of several items that were supposedly left with her when she was an infant. Meanwhile, Detective Jake Brogan - Jane’s ‘sort of’ boyfriend - has his hands full investigating the murder of a woman that left two toddlers unharmed. In addition, Jake believes there had also been a baby at the scene and is now missing. As Jane and Tucker search for answers to Tucker’s real birth mother, Jake’s murder investigation leads to the same adoption agency. When there are more murders and Jane is threatened, the cases collide turning the lives of several people upside down. Ryan has a knack for creating realistic and likable characters. She gives them strength and courage, but also flaws and self-problems. The secondary characters are also well-developed adding depth and flavor to the story. The plot of THE WRONG GIRL flows smoothly and at a quick pace. While there are a number of things happening at once, the reader/listener isn’t lost in any confusion. The dialogue, as well as the bantering, among the characters pulls you in holding you captive as you try to figure out who the bad guys really are. Ryan’s detailed descriptions of the locations enhances the story painting a vivid landscape of the setting. In addition, she brings out the true worries and fears print journalists face daily with cut backs and lay offs. Her own journalism background enriches the working aspects of this story. Her descriptions of Jane’s inability to get to the point of telling something without going into great deal hits home for this former newspaper journalist. THE WRONG GIRL is a roller coaster ride of emotions topped off by suspense, humor and touches of romance. The action is heart-pounding, the characters memorable, and the intrigue spine-tingling. FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 21, 2014

    This second book in the Investigative reporter, Jane Ryland, ser

    This second book in the Investigative reporter, Jane Ryland, series is greatly aided by the knowledge that Hank Phillippi Ryan, a TV reporter herself, has in how a story is developed through personal investigations, police procedurals, and keeping all your sources available for inside information.   




    Jane is working for a floundering Boston newspaper when her friend, Tucker,  asks her to help her.  Tucker has been matched up with her birth mother and they are getting along beautifully, until Tucker finds out that she's been matched with the wrong woman.  At the same time, Jane's boss sends her out on a story of a murdered woman, also being investigated by her secret boyfriend, Jake, on the Boston police force.  These investigations slowly collide in a larger investigation of the Brannigan Agency that matches adoptees and birth mothers, the foster care system, Child Services, and greedy individuals. 




    The pace and building atmosphere of this story are superb in creating great tension and plot that made me feel that I was deeply involved with these people's lives.  The problems that are present in the extremely overworked child and foster care system were aptly used in creating a very believable, but deeply troubling plot for this mystery. Definitely a memorable book.  I listened to this on audio and believe that added a great deal to my enjoyment of this book !

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2014

    Requested gift

    Gave as a gift to someone who had met the author. She was happy to receive it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2013

    Great

    Hope she will release another soon.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 10, 2013

    ¿I don¿t think she¿s my mother.¿ Tucker Cameron¿s astonishing c

    “I don’t think she’s my mother.” Tucker Cameron’s astonishing claim propels reporter Jane Ryland into a perplexing puzzle; soon the murders of a foster mother and an adoption agency employee are intersecting with her investigation, And Detective Jake Brogan is certain there’s a missing baby . . . .

    From the first page, Hank Phillippi Ryan’s superbly-written “The Wrong Girl” thrusts the reader into the middle of an intriguing mystery with more twists and turns than a roller coaster . . . and takes the reader hurtling along at breakneck speed to its stunning conclusion. How can there be a “wrong” girl . . . and is there a “right” girl? It’s a must-read, a can’t-put-it-down thriller that will keep you guessing right to the very end. “The Wrong Girl” is a surefire hit; highly recommended . . . don’t miss this one!

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    Posted February 24, 2014

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    Posted November 16, 2013

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    Posted November 25, 2013

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