The Murder List

The Murder List

by Hank Phillippi Ryan


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The Murder List is a new standalone suspense novel in the tradition of Lisa Scottoline and B. A. Paris from award-winning author and reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan.

"An exhilarating thrill ride that keeps you turning pages.. Ryan deftly delivers a denouement as shocking as it is satisfying."—Liv Constantine, bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish and The Last Time I Saw You

Law student Rachel North will tell you, without hesitation, what she knows to be true. She's smart, she’s a hard worker, she does the right thing, she’s successfully married to a faithful and devoted husband, a lion of Boston's defense bar, and her internship with the Boston DA's office is her ticket to a successful future.

Problem is—she’s wrong.

And in this cat and mouse game—the battle for justice becomes a battle for survival.

The Murder List is a new standalone suspense novel in the tradition of Lisa Scottoline and B. A. Paris from award-winning author and reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250197214
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 08/20/2019
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 68,213
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN has won five Agatha Awards, in addition to the Anthony, Macavity, Daphne du Maurier, and Mary Higgins Clark Award for her bestselling mystery novels. As an investigative reporter, her work has resulted in new laws, criminals sent to prison, homes saved from foreclosure, and millions of dollars in restitution for victims and consumers. Along with her 34 Emmys and 14 Edward R. Murrow awards, Hank has received dozens of other honors for her ground-breaking journalism. A former president of Sisters in Crime and founder of MWA University, she lives in Boston with her husband, a nationally renowned civil rights and criminal defense attorney. She is the author of Trust Me and the Jane Ryland series, which begins with The Other Woman.

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The Murder List 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
K_C_Kissig 12 days ago
“The Murder List” did not provide the action I generally look for in a suspense-thriller, but the intrigue and characterization of the story more than made up for the lack of elaborate action sequences. I thoroughly enjoyed the captivating and multi-layered plot, the development of the characters, and the misdirection and twists that ran nonstop through the entire story. I will certainly be looking for other novels by Hank Phillippi Ryan and will eagerly await her future releases. I whole-heartedly recommend this novel to anyone who is a fan of suspenseful, thought-provoking legal dramas.
Anonymous 5 months ago
I really had some problems with this one, not least of which is that the reveal of an unreliable narrator is supposed to feel like a good trick, not a dirty one. I won't say which narrator it is because spoilers but in addition to my dislike of that particular trope, I felt like there were way too many narrators, and the multilevel timeline was so convoluted and unbalanced it was hard to remember what was the present and what was the past. All in all, it was a solid thriller with a big twist so if you like that genre I recommend you give this book a try, but it definitely didn't work for me. CW for mental health depiction stuff that I'm kind of iffy on.
Elena_L 6 months ago
The premise of THE MURDER LIST was very intriguing - I wanted to know the interaction between Rachel and her husband plus some secrets. The mystery started well but soon somehow I lost interest in the characters as the plot seemed quite disjointed and slow. I understood the author's intention of showing several perspectives, but I thought that the story was all over the place and repetitive. While I enjoy when the story involves the lawyer politics and courtroom drama, in this book these elements weren't compelling for me. Although this title didn't work for me, the writing was easy and fluid. DNF @35% [I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review]
AnnieMcDonnell 9 months ago
Hank Phillipi Ryan’s triangular approach that is used to introduce each character to us in “The Murder List” was a winning combination. It was such a wicked playing field! So ferociously intense you didn’t know who you could trust! Such a beautiful gift in a thriller! Rachel is a Howard Law Student married to Jack, one of the finest Defense Attorney’s in Boston. Rachel must work with Jack’s nemesis, Assistant District Attorney, Martha to complete her internship for Law School. Deliciously intense! It is so will not want to stop reading! Rachel wants to get on the Murder List. To be part of the team defending the people being accused of murder. But. How do you get on this List? Is there more than one type of Murder List??? This story is nothing short of exhilarating! I was taken away with the courtroom drama, political games, and crimes. Everything had me gripped to the pages....Hank Phillipi Ryan truly has a gift for writing the riveting novel with twists you don’t expect and one that you certainly do not want to put down until you get to the very. last. word. And, then you have to sit...and absorb everything you just read. Brilliant! This book was given to me in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Nursebookie 11 months ago
Amazing! Fast paced! An Exquisitely thrilling read! I loved this so much and with only 10 pages left I still don’t ‘who dunnit’ and I was getting worried I missed something! I took this book everywhere because it really was unputdownable. I could not stop turning the pages. This book was so exciting - I didn’t know who to trust and it was a thrill ride for me from beginning to end. I enjoyed this murder mystery thriller and loved Hank Ryan’s imaginative writing style and how she grasps the reader til the very, very end. This is the first time I read Ryan’s books and definitely looking forward to her new releases and I have her other books in my must read list.
GratefulGrandma 11 months ago
I am going to start this review with my first thought, I didn't see that coming! This story took me totally by surprise and in a good way. This is a legal thriller/suspense with prosecutors and defense attorneys trying to out-think, out-maneuver and out-lie each other. Rachel North is a law student who is interning to the local prosecutor. She doesn't want work for her as she is her husband's nemesis, but realizes that she will learn secrets that she will be able to use down the road when she and her husband are partners. Her husband doesn't want Rachel working for her as he is sure she is using Rachel to keep him from taking cases she is prosecuting. What happens next seems to be predictable and there were some parts that were a bit slow to me. The story alternates between past and present. Rachel is smart and driven. Her husband is a successful defense attorney, and they have plans for her to get a law degree so they can work together. Before getting married, Rachel worked for a senator. During her time there, a coworker was killed and the murderer was never found. Her husband defended the only suspect, the senator's wife and got the case thrown out. During her internship with the DA's office, that old murder case is revisited when new leads are found. Then, it picked up and everything I thought I knew was thrown out the window. An totally unexpected and surprising ending that pulls this book up from 3 stars to 4 stars. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
beachandbookgirl More than 1 year ago
Definitely had you guessing until closer to the ending. An interesting read and a good show on how both sides play to win for their clients!
SardisYS More than 1 year ago
THE MURDER LIST by Hank Phillippi Ryan is a dark legal suspense centered around the cut-throat politics in the law firm. Then, things may not be as they seem. There’s plenty of twists until the very end that will flabbergast.
Fredreeca2001 More than 1 year ago
Rachel has a new job as an intern with the DA’s office. This puts a huge strain on her marriage. Rachel is working for her husband’s nemesis. She is determined to make her marriage and her job work out. As you are reading this story, you think it is about Rachel and her husband. And in a way, it is. But, not to the extent the reader thinks. I have to be careful what I say. I do not want to give anything away. All the way through this book I was giving it four stars. Then the huge twist came…sent it over the top! Well! This book is not what you expect! You think it is…but then it’s not. I know I have already said it…I am trying to be careful with my words. Just understand this book is COMPLETELY TWISTED! I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book held my attention right until the end! Hank has it all... love, hate, jealousy, deception and even murder. And a surprise at the end! I enjoyed the move back and forth between the past and the present in the story. It kept the book interesting and give the reader a change of pace. Rachel, the wife of a well-known attorney is studying law. She wants to form a partnership with her husband and work together defending those on “the murder list.” She is close to completing her degree and she must do an internship in a lawyer’s office. And of all the law offices she could have been placed in, she ends up in the DA office of Middlesex County. The DA is the main rival of her husband in the courtroom! Her husband is angry about it but Rachel is overjoyed. Now, she can see firsthand how the DA does things and plan their strategy. What a perfect way to begin her new career or is it? As the DA office begins to work on a murder case Rachel is chosen to work closely on the investigation. She is thrilled to be the personal assistant to the District Attorney. What a perfect way to see how the DA works and gather information for her and her husband ‘s future law practice together. As the investigation is ongoing new evidence is uncovered. The statements taken from the victim’s coworkers reveal different opinions and it becomes obvious that things are not as they seem. As The DA gets closer to finding the murderer, Rachel thinks she has found the weak spot of the DA. Or has she?
lsmoore_43 More than 1 year ago
While I truly enjoyed this book, I did figure out who the guilty person was from fairly early on. To me it was obvious. This book will keep you turning pages trying to find out the why and who of it all. I thought just from the title that the Murder list was a list of victims. Little did I know. I learned a lot reading this book about the law and how different lawyers do things. The three main characters were all likable to me. Two lawyers and an up and coming lawyer still in college. At different times I detested them then felt sorry for them then liked them again. This book tells things that you don’t usually hear about. Like how angry the district attorney gets if she loses a case or how personal she may take it. How much she may hate the defense attorney for winning when she truly believes the person she is convicting is guilty and the lengths she may go to to prove it. Also the same can be said for the defense attorney. What they will do to get a person off even if they know in their heart that the person is guilty. The anger that stems from each. They don’t like to lose. But one has too. They can’t both win. This is the story of a young woman who works for the President of the Senate as his secretary. The admiration she has for him. The feelings she thinks she has for him. It’s about a couple of trials at the same time and how losing affects the attorneys. The death of another young woman who works for the secretary to the President of the Senate. How they each got their jobs and what happens to one when she crosses a line that truly should not have been crossed at all. A cheating husband, a scorned wife, an angry woman who is delusional and two lawyers. While I think this book was very well written and I found it very interesting, I hated that I was able to figure out who the guilty person was. I kept hoping I was wrong but to me it was kind of obvious. But still it was a very good book. The why of it and the way things happen are wonderful. It’s truly a very good book. Great characters. Great plot. Great plot twists and I really loved the ending, though I would have loved to known a bit more. Thank you to #NetGalley for the copy of this in exchange for my honest review. I give this a 4 star and do highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definitely a beach read if you're looking for something other than a Rom Com. The Murder List seems to be a professional goal of public defenders for which to be chosen. These are high profile cases and have a lot of cache attached to them. That said, can I just say someone is Cray-Cray in this book. There are (maybe) villains everywhere. No one is above suspicion. Our judicial system is in more trouble than we all think if there is an ounce of truth to this story. My head was whipping back and forth between trying to decide "who did it" and who is just awful, regardless of the murder. The story will take you back and forth between 6 years, a few legal cases, political shenanigans of the Clinton years nature (even Monica was brought up) and of course, the current murder. If you like lots of suspects and a good dose of misdirection, this is the beach read for you. This is an ARC provided by NetGalley.
3no7 More than 1 year ago
"The Murder List” by Hank Phillippi Ryan is a chilling story about how quickly a life is changed, and how quickly freedom is lost. The tale begins in a first-person present narrative by Rachel North, a recent graduate from Harvard Law School; she knows the rules and knows that following the rules is the way to get ahead. During her summer internship with District Attorney Martha Gardiner she will be able to learn about the competition from the inside. She shifts to past tense as she reviews actions in her mind, and she constantly reviews and critiques everything. While her thoughts show vulnerabilities, underlying insecurities, lack of self-confidence, and constant drive to improve her status, she presents herself as confident and competent in interactions with the public. North is married to successful lawyer Jack Kirkland who also values the rules of law, and uses those rules for every defendant. He wants to win, and mostly he does win. He is on “the murder list,” the select group of highly qualified lawyers whom the state appoints to represent accused murderers who cannot pay for their defense. The story begins in the present by detailing the complex and intertwined lives of a triangle of unique characters. These details make the “before” part of the story much more compelling. Readers wonder how they got to “today” through that complicated and entangled past, and how they will navigate the quagmire of the present. Sentence construction sets the tone with short descriptions, abrupt sentences, and quick action “We creep toward the house, maybe ten miles an hour. Not a dog barking, not a bird singing, not a lawn mower droning across some needy lawn. I’m in an unmarked car with Ben the SWAT guy, an assistant district attorney, and a search warrant for a suspected murderer’s house.” Descriptive details make everything both real and surreal. “I’m living in a snow globe. Outside it was fairy-tale lovely as Beacon Hill could be, especially seeing it from a cozy inside. The gas-lamp-shaped streetlights were illuminated this time of the morning and added a muted persimmon glimmer to the pristine snow.” The story is multifaceted. Dialogue illustrates the situations; events provide the action, and people and their relationships drive the plot. They have history; all of their lives have intersected in histories filled with crime, deceit, and murder. The bizarre backstories reach into the present with implications, consequences, and complications that readers never expect. “The Murder List” gives readers an electrifying look at investigations, trials, judgements, and results from three very different but intersecting perspectives. What was happening, what was important, what was hiding? I received a review copy of “The Murder List” from Hank Phillippi Ryan and Forge Books. It was compelling, and I found a surprise with every turn of the page.
BigReader7860 More than 1 year ago
I truly was disappointed in this book. Without giving away any spoilers, I’ll just say I pretty much despised every character in this book, both for the defense and for the prosecution. These characters were all hateful. My father was an attorney and so is my daughter and I would bet neither of them have ever been this callous.I read about 60% of the book and then skimmed. My biggest regret is that I didn’t skim the whole thing. Ms Ryan may be a fine writer, but I for one will never read another of her books.
christina_reviews More than 1 year ago
The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan is for any reader who loves a good legal thriller. Rachel North is an older law student interning for the local DA, Martha Gardiner. The problem is, Rachel’s husband is a prominent Murder List public defender, Jack Kirkland. Jack also just happens to be Gardiner’s arch nemesis of sorts. Gee Rachel, do you think there might be a reason you were picked for this internship? Rachel’s not only stuck as the ping pong ball between her husband and boss, they also both happen to be royal narcissistic jerks…you know lawyers being lawyers. In addition, Rachel met both Jack and Gardiner first when she was a juror, then again when she was inadvertently involved in a murder mystery when she worked for the state senator. As you can see, we are weaving multiple legal webs here. So if you are ready to find the Issue, Rule, Analysis, and Conclusion, "IRAC" (a law school reference that is made multiple times), then this book is for you! I took a star off for beating the readers over the head with the title of the book and the IRAC reference far too many times. Overall a good legal battle.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was so excited to read The Murder List and it did not disappoint! The novel is wonderfully twisty and suspenseful. The story is told from several points of view, including passionate district attorney Martha, ardent defense attorney Jack, and law student Rachel who is a new intern for Martha but plans to practice law with Jack once she’s licensed. On top of that Jack and Rachel are married. The novel pulls at the question of truth – what is true, how do you determine it and how do you prove it? And that epilogue gave me chills. If you enjoy suspense I recommend The Murder List! I read an ARC copy. Thank you NetGalley and Forge Books! The opinions in this review are honest and my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OH. MY. GOD. Ya'll I stayed up half the night finishing this book. I loved every moment of this book and I had to give it ALL the stars. If I had more than 5 to give I would. The characters, the writing, the plot, the twists and turns - all of it was so suspenseful and gripping. Rachel North is a law student at Harvard who has been assigned to her summer internship in her husband's (also a lawyer) arch nemesis' office. He is a defense attorney, she works for the DA's office - it's not the recipe for friendship. Now Rachel is working for the enemy, and Jack is not a happy camper. This book follows Rachel's journey in her internship, along with how it affects her marriage. Also, it dives in to the past to set up the events of how she met her husband and first became acquainted with her new supervisor, Martha. Through the deep dive into the past, you have this mystery evolve related to jury duty, murders, trials, etc. The book will keep you guessing up until the very end, where any of the character's could be the culprit. Ryan gives you just enough information at each interval to keep you coming back for more. This book is my definition of a good thriller/suspense novel. I related to all the characters, became invested in their story, and was totally shocked at the end how it all played out. It is the perfect murder mystery novel and if you are a fan of Lisa Scottoline, you should definitely pick this one up. Props to Ryan for putting together a book that flows through the past and present SO well. I've got no critiques, zero. This is the best book I've read in a long time. Do yourself a favor, and go pick it up.
diane92345 More than 1 year ago
Jack is a defense attorney in Boston. As an experienced litigator, he is on The Murder List. The list is a list of attorneys from which the state picks the person to defend accused murderers. Rachel is married to Jack. She is also a third-year law student scheduled to intern with Jack’s arch-nemesis, Assistant District Attorney, Martha Gardiner. Rachel’s first day begins with a murder case. The victim, Tassie, is found dead under her kitchen table with no obvious wounds. In alternating chapters, Rachel’s previous career working for Senator Rafferty is described in flashback. Unfortunately, I wasn’t captivated by the flashbacks and skimmed most of them to get back to the “meat” of the story. Until the surprising twist in the story, which forced me to go back and read them more carefully. The Murder List is crafted carefully to fool the reader and fool me it did. And I love that! All the clues were hidden in plain sight. Only my assumptions prevented me from seeing them. Because of the excellent twist—hiding just slightly under my radar, the originality of the plot, and the clear tying up of all the loose ends in the final chapters, I give this book 4.5 stars rounded up to 5 stars! It is highly recommended for all thriller readers. Thank you to Forge Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Kate-Baxter More than 1 year ago
Like a well laid out lawyer's brief, this story sets the stage for a superb legal game of cat and mouse. The main protagonist, Rachel, a law school 3L, is spending her summer internship in the Middlesex County D.A.'s office, much to Jack's, (her husband's), chagrin. He's a well respected defense attorney whose firm Rachel intends joining upon passing the Massachusetts bar. She believes that interning with "the enemy" will yield insights to better prepare future defense cases. Years ago, D.A. Martha, lost a murder case to Jack which shamed her and knocked her down a few notches, forcing her out of her Suffolk County D.A. post to the lower one in Middlesex County. Martha and Jack are both winners and poor losers - each holding great animosity for the other. Martha is eager to make the streets safer at all cost, perhaps using slightly speculative methods. Jack wants to give every poor accused perpetrator the right to a fair trial. If he can get them off on a technical detail, all the better - the DA didn't do their homework to make their case strong enough. As it turns out, Rachel too, was somewhat involved in that case as she was chief of staff to the senator whose wife was accused of the murder. It appears that Martha still has a bad taste in her mouth regarding that case from six years back and utilizes her interns, including Rachel, to build a stronger and better case against the defense. But who does Martha have in her sites, (aside from Jack)? Therein lies the question. Ryan deftly creates well-developed characters, each with their own flaws, making them that much more believable. She spins a tale, holding the readers interest right up to the final moments. Although setting the stage in the early chapters was a bit slow, half-way through the story the momentum accelerates as it passes through twists, turns and results in various red herrings. The climax is spectacular. If you enjoy good courtroom drama, legal and police procedurals, then this could well be a book for you. I am grateful to Macmillan Tor/Forge Publishing and author Hank Phillippi Ryan for having provided a free uncorrected digital copy of this book through NetGalley. Their generosity, however, did not influence this review - the words of which are mine alone.
Honolulubelle More than 1 year ago
Favorite Quotes: My new boss. Martha Gardiner. The woman Jack usually refers to as “Satan in pearls.” He never laughs when he says it. Forget the speed of light. Nothing travels faster than gossip… Secrets only take a few beats longer. Gossip is the fuel of power. At noon, Kurt had brought us lunch, wrapped in the white waxed paper of the Pietro Pan Deli. The Italian sandwiches had too much salami and too many onions, and I’d wondered if that was a sneaky way to encourage us to hurry. I wished the jury room had windows we could open. You could send lawyers to law school. And judges to judge school, or whatever they had. And those people were versed in all the rules. But at the end of all the rule-following and objections and legal procedures, when the gavel banged and the door closed, when you got into a jury room, it was regular people. Flawed people. Biased people. Who may or may not agree to those rules. Who can manipulate and pressure and influence. And, depending on the power of jurors’ consciences, no one would ever know. I flinch at the sound of my name. I’ve felt so invisible, even I almost forgot I was here. My Review: This was extremely clever, so smartly plotted, brilliantly paced, and engagingly written. I fell right inside and didn’t surface for most of the day, only under the threat with death by my internal organs and whining from my neglected husband. This was my first experience reading this sly wordsmith and I was a quick convert, I’ll buy whatever she’s selling as I totally fell for her tricks, I never saw it coming. The writing was superb and cleverly amusing as well as perceptively detailed, but the characters - they were vibrant and alive for me on the page. Ms. Ryan has exceptionally strong word voodoo. Like a binging dieter, I greedily want to amass and consume all her clever words.
TorieStorieS More than 1 year ago
Just under a year ago, I read Ryan's Trust Me and she quickly became an author that I wanted to keep an eye out for! So, I was quite excited to read her latest novel through NetGalley. Alternating perspectives and time periods from before (about six years earlier than the present), this book engages readers from the very start. Rachel North is a law student after changing careers and anticipating joining her husband at his law firm. But he's less than thrilled about her internship with the Boston DA - a woman who he seems to personally dislike. The past sections chronicle Rachel's previous political career - and the murder cases along the way in both timelines. With brief chapters, it is easy to keep the pages turning here. Main character, Rachel, though feels almost painfully clueless at times. It's hard to see her as a real heroine as both timelines reveal her to be a woman very grounded in the main man in her life to the exclusion of all else. She has no real friends and her actions and thoughts will make you want to reach through the pages and throttle her at times. The ending twist (such a staple of this genre) isn't hard to see coming, but would have been even stronger if the book hadn't ventured into other perspectives and had just stuck with Rachel alone. None of the characters are particularly likable and the idea that clip-on earrings are so prevalent definitely defies belief. The book doesn't really overall feel all that plausible, but it is entertaining - though the odd legal angle and this portrayal of the legal system ventures into being just plain depressing. Still, it held my interest from start to finish and I enjoyed the Boston setting.
SL22268 More than 1 year ago
Not for me... Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book was a little all over the place for me. I thought it would be more interesting and suspenseful, but I didn't get to that moment. I wanted to like it, but wasn't a fan. I don't give many 2 star reviews :(
BookLover40MA More than 1 year ago
Love the alternating points of view because it really helps to hide the reality of the ending. The characters are well written and real at least as far as lawyers are portrayed on the different television shows that I have seen. Ms. Ryan has herself yet another bestseller in this book! I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reading copy of this book via NetGalley!
Annette5151 More than 1 year ago
My first book by this author and it was an awesome one! It was intense, fast paced and kept me on the edge of my seat! Definitely a page turner! Completely blown away by the ending, thanks to Netgalley, the author and publisher for the early copy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Murder List may be one of Hank Phillippi Ryan’s best! As a total coincidence, just prior to receiving this book, I received a jury summons, so this book gave me such a unique perspective of jury trials from both sides. I certainly hope any juries that I serve on are less dramatic. There are so many layers to this book and it takes awhile to sort them out. However, a rhythm is soon established and the book flows. Not only is it written during the present, but there are also chapters that go back to 6 years earlier. In addition, the story is told from different perspectives, Rachel, Jack and Martha. Then, there are the connections between the three —Jack and Martha are lawyers and Rachel is “almost a lawyer.” Jack and Martha are adversaries. Jack and Rachel are married. Rachel works for Martha. I was anticipating more action initially, but the story continued ramp up until I couldn’t stop reading. Just when I thought I knew which side some of the characters were supporting, suddenly a piece of evidence would change the dynamics. As the book was coming to a conclusion, I had to stop and reevaluate the actions and conversations of several characters. I love the complexity of the storyline. This is not a simple, straightforward tale about lawyers or jury trials. This is a book that makes you think and one I would highly recommend.