Trust Me: A Novel

Trust Me: A Novel

by Hank Phillippi Ryan

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Overview

“Ryan dazzles—a must read.”—Mary Kubica

Don't miss this "cat-and-mouse game filled with terror" (New York Post), listed as a top anticipated thriller by Real Simple, PopSugar, CrimeReads, Book Bub and the New York Post

“Chilling, suspenseful, and impossible to put down.”—Megan Miranda

“Mesmerizing!” —Lisa Gardner

"Could stand alongside Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects."— Bustle

“A knockout.”—Booklist (starred review)

There are three sides to every story. Yours. Mine. And the truth.

An accused killer insists she's innocent of a heinous murder.

A grieving journalist surfaces from the wreckage of her shattered life.

Their unlikely alliance leads to a dangerous cat and mouse game that will leave you breathless.

Who can you trust when you can't trust yourself?

Trust Me is the chilling novel of psychological suspense and manipulation that award-winning author and renowned investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan was born to write.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250232724
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 12/31/2018
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 106,938
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN is the investigative reporter for Boston's NBC affiliate, and has won thirty-two Emmys and ten Edward R. Murrow Awards. A Boston Globe bestselling author, Ryan has won two Agatha Awards, in addition to the Anthony, Macavity, Daphne du Maurier, and Mary Higgins Clark Award. She is 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, Truth Be Told, Say No More, and What You See.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

DO YOU KNOW ME? Of course I'd seen those billboards, the posters, the full-color composite drawing plastered on every TV screen and newspaper — so has everyone else in Boston, if not everyone on the planet. "The poor little girl," everyone said. "Who is she? Someone must miss her." And those who still had daughters of their own drew them closer, or whispered warnings, or kept one protective hand on the cart as they shopped for groceries.

"Mercer? Can you handle it?" Katherine's voice on the phone softens with concern. "You need to get back to work."

I guess I've been silent, thinking about "Baby Boston" longer than I realized.

"You okay?" she persists.

"Yeah. I'm fine." So Kath wants me to write the inside true story of this gruesome crime. I sink into my chair in the study. Can I handle it? To be honest, I'm not sure.

"The book will be an instant bestseller, kiddo. It'll put you back on the map." Katherine charges ahead, persuading me. "Toddler killed and dumped in Boston harbor? And now the mother's on trial for the murder? Sorry, I'm horrible. And I know it's short notice. But you're the only writer who can do this justice. Can I tell them yes?"

Good thing she can't see the look on my face. Having the sensationally tragic murder of a child be the best thing that's happened to me in a while is probably not socially acceptable. Since people finally left me alone, I've gotten out of practice being socially anything. I hadn't heard from my former editor for months. Not since I stopped returning calls. And now this. A job offer.

All I'd have to do, Katherine Craft explains, is — starting tomorrow — watch the courtroom testimony through the same video feed the TV stations use, then write an "instant book" about the Baby Boston murder trial. "Of course you could watch it on regular TV," she says. "But what if some moron producer decides it's boring? Or they cut away for the dog in the well or some phony news? Can't rely on them deciding what to broadcast. So getting you the full feed is perfect. I tried to get you a seat in court, sweetheart, but it was too late."

Just as well, I don't say. Face all those people? Kath then offers me fifteen thousand dollars up front, with another fifteen thousand after the verdict when the book hits the market. Hefty royalties after that. I do need the money.

"Unless she's not guilty." Katherine goes on, her voice infinitely dismissive. "Like that's gonna happen. But when Ashlyn Bryant is convicted? You'll be Mercer Hennessey, bestselling author. I promise."

That'd be good. More important, though I'll never admit it to Kath, the book might give me a reason to get up in the morning.

"It's never the mother, right?" She keeps up the pressure, and assumes she knows best. "The boyfriend, maybe. Or the father. But the mother? This is pure crazy."

Right. It's never the mother. Except when it is.

In this case, it is. And yes, pure crazy. Kath's in her Back Bay office; I'm in my little suburban study. But I can picture my former editor's expression. It's the same baffled one I see on the TV talk shows and when I fidget in line at the coffee shop. People asking each other: what kind of monster mother could kill her own two-year-old?

"She's ..." I search for a gruesome enough word. The mother is definitely guilty this time. I'd already devoured every newspaper and magazine article and watched every newscast and feature story revealing every heartbreakingly disgusting detail about the missing-then-found little girl, even the online TV stories from the Ohio stations. At first I couldn't stop weeping for that poor dead child. Then more tears as I shared her mother's certain anguish. Easier to fill my brain with someone else's grief, hoping to replace my own. Not completely successful, but better than emptiness.

When Tasha Nicole was finally identified, I actually considered calling Ashlyn, thinking (ridiculously) I could comfort her by sharing some maternal bond, each of us lost in grief and mourning our treasured baby daughters. Now it turns my stomach to think of it. How she duped me. Duped everyone. After the breaking news of her arrest? I could have murdered Ashlyn myself.

And no jury would have convicted me.

"Merce? You there?" Kath's in full pitch mode, as if we still work together, still talk every day. "Go for it, honey. Say yes. It's been long enough. You have to get back to work. You have to do something."

Do something? Do? I almost yell at her. But she means well, and she'd stuck by me through the days the sun went out and the shadows closed in. Kath understands, as much as anyone can. It's unfair for me to take my grief out on her. Is she right? Is there something I can do?

Maybe — for Sophie? And for Dex. Maybe to make up for what happened to them. To accept that I'm the one who's left alive. I'm not fooling myself; I can never actually accomplish that. But at this moment, I feel Dex. Urging me to do it. To use my words to right a wrong. To strive for justice, like he always did. What's more, he whispers, you could at least honor Sophie's memory.

Yes. Dex is right. Yes. I'll do it. To avenge Baby Boston. And I'll secretly dedicate this book to Sophie. To every little girl unfairly wrenched away from the world. The more I think about it, the more I know I can do it. I yearn to do it. Physically, mentally, emotionally do it.

Plus, writing a book beat the options I'd already contemplated.

Maybe I'll burn down the house. I'd actually said that out loud only a few days before Katherine called. Though there was no one to hear me.

I'd visualized the flames, too. Visualized the nursery furniture, its pink rosebuds and indulgent ruffles, blackened by flames. The sleek suits Dex wore to court, and Sophie's daisy jammies and her plushy animals, the wedding photos and the toothbrushes and the ... there's so much of our stuff. What would I feel as the Linsdale firefighters battled hellish flames and choking smoke, attempting — yet ultimately failing — to save any evidence the Hennessey family existed? I wouldn't live to find out.

That was the point.

"Merce?" Katherine prompts.

Putting Kath on speaker, I get up from my desk chair and retie the strings of my sweatpants, yanking them tighter. The sweats, black and soft and now grotesquely too big for me, are XL. Not mine. His. Dex won't be needing them. No matter how many days go by, I'll never get used to that.

"Yeah, well, maybe." I pace to the bookshelves and back to the desk. Trying to gauge whether I'm the crazy one.

"Come on, Merce. The jury's chosen, all the boring motions out of the way. It's all on camera now. You just dig up the deets on the nutcase mother." Katherine's voice follows me, reprising the fast-talking cajoling- editor tone she'd used on me and her other underlings, when we were all at City magazine. This year she began acquiring for Arbor Inc., the mega-co that owns City and a bunch of other publications, including Arbor's true-crime imprint.

"I know, you're like, another body in Boston Harbor?" She goes on. "But you gotta see this one's different. It's not a Mob hit on a snitch, not some heroin addict's poor abused child, not a gang turf war. The killer is the gorgeous young mother next door. Ashlyn, I mean, even her name is perfect. You can't turn on the TV without seeing that clip of her, all petulant and pouting off to jail. So we'll need you to convey, you know, the secret torment of the seemingly typical suburban family. Give it the feel of real."

The feel of real. Got it. I'm a writer. I'm a storyteller. I take the facts and make them fascinating. This story doesn't need much help in that department.

"Like In Cold Blood," Katherine continues, as if I've said yes. "Narrative nonfiction. Reportage. Truman Capote simply imagined half that stuff. Made up dialogue. How else could he write it? But you can do it, Merce, I know you can."

"Well ... okay," I say. "Deal." She thinks she's convinced me. I'll let her believe that.

"Terrific. I'll email the paperwork. There's no one better for this job. You'll kill it." Katherine says. "Oh. Sorry, honey. But you know what I mean. You okay?"

"Sure." She doesn't know the half of it. "Talk soon."

I hang up the phone, looking out my study window, down our — my — flagstone front walk and our — my — quiet neighborhood, still serenely green on a September morning, as if nothing has changed. As if my Sophie were still alive, and Dex, too. Funny what strength there is in purpose.

"Rot in hell, Ashlyn Bryant," I say. And then, "This is for you, darling ones."

But of course they're not here to thank me.

CHAPTER 2

"You Mercer Hennessey?" A guy in a blue windbreaker consulted a clipboard as I opened my front door. "We got your courtroom feed stuff, ma'am. Where do you want it?"

Katherine must have been pretty confident I'd say yes. By 7:15 Monday morning, I'd signed for eight cardboard boxes of video equipment, and clutching my coffee, tried to stay out of the way as a phalanx of flannel-shirted guys hauled everything to the study. They unpacked a silver monitor, a silver mouse, two aluminum speakers, and two black routers; then uncoiled orange cables and white cords and plugged it all in, connecting the raw broadcast from the courtroom the same way the TV and radio stations receive it. Now my study is a snake pit of multicolored wires and power strips. I'm hooked up for a front row seat at the Baby Boston trial.

"Is there a way to record the trial on all this? Not just watch it?" I'd asked one of the techs.

"Yeah, there is a way," he said, texting someone at the same time. "But you don't have it."

Fine, I'll record it on my iPad. Crude, but the tablet's adequate for quote checking or review. The trial starts in ninety minutes.

After the guys leave, I swoop up all the bubble wrap and Styrofoam packing they'd strewn around, and drag it through the dining room and down to the basement. They'd told me to keep the packaging for when the trial's over.

"Why can't they take it themselves?" I mutter into cardboard, as I lug the stuff down the dusty back stairs. Snap on the light. "Can't believe I have to go down here."

The basement is the burial ground for my other life. Whenever I can't bear to look at something, but can't bear to throw it away, that's where I stash it. Sophie's first crib, the same white wicker one Dex used. His mother presented it to us, tears in her eyes. Sophie in arms, we'd accepted it, all enthusiastic. When she left, Dex lugged the deathtrap fire hazard into the basement, trumpeting how it was a father's job to protect his family. Gramma's gold-rimmed wedding china was my mom's contribution. Mom's will's, at least. Most of Dex's mom's tea set is here, too. There's the album of our wedding, which Aunt Someone told me — incorrectly — would be the best day of my life, a windswept October in Nantucket, where we'd all shivered in blankets, rushed out to 'Sconset beach, then, gasping in the cold, thrown them off to get one gorgeous moonlit photo of me barefoot in white tulle, laughing in Dex's arms. It wasn't the best day, because every day was better and better, until Sophie, another best.

Then it all stopped. There were no more good days.

I dump the boxes at the bottom of the steps. Click the string that turns off the basement light. Turn off that part of my life, too. I tramp up the darkened stairs, through the dining room and into the kitchen.

Baby Boston.

I don't need a Psych 101 textbook to explain transference. But now Ashlyn Bryant is no longer an emotionally problematic and potentially unhealthy distraction. She's my job.

I slam some bread in the toaster, make coffee, then wait, because the toaster is cranky, then tote it all to my desk. I am on it. I am going to be me again.

Back in the study, sitting in my desk chair. I jiggle the silver mouse and crank up the volume. The monitor screen stays opaque. Silent. Blank.

Like my life? No. I have a purpose again. The little girl whose body washed up on the beach at Castle Island.

Baby Boston.

And the murder trial of her mother. That woman's been held in a cell for the past year, and deservedly so. With many more years to come, if all goes as it should. She'd killed her daughter, and then for at least a month, lied to everyone about it. Actually pretended Tasha was somewhere else. According to the police, there's no one but Ashlyn with motive, means and opportunity. Lucky for writer-me, Ashlyn Bryant's defense attorney is an old colleague of Dex. Lucky. Right. Dex gets killed. I get a source.

But, luck without irony, the unfolding case is now even more blanketed, wall-to-wall-to wall, by newspapers and radio and TV and Internet. Strangers in elevators, I bet, find instant kinship in hatred of Ashlyn Bryant. When that monster goes to prison for life, it'll give this suburban tragedy its inevitable ending.

"Guilty!" I say, punctuating the word with one finger. Though, yeah. There's no one to hear me.

BABY BOSTON TRIAL — DAY ONE, I type the header on my laptop.

The real headlines don't call the victim "Baby Boston" anymore, not since the same cops who named her that proved her real name was Tasha Nicole Bryant.

Two months later they arrested Tasha's mother. Kath's right, I watched that almost-medieval thirty-second clip on the news over and over. The once supposedly gorgeous Ashlyn Bryant in handcuffs, crying, her tight black t-shirt rumpled and twisted. Humiliated. Scrutinized. Shunned. Led away to penance for murdering her own child. How many times did I wonder, sitting alone, how she felt?

Ashlyn Bryant. The most reviled woman in Massachusetts. In the entire country, possibly.

Anticipating the swarm of single-minded reporters and photographers descending on Boston, Judge Franklin Weems Green demanded that the four courtroom cameras — including one dubbed "Ashlyn- cam" focused only on the defendant's face — be locked down. Each allowed to show only a severely restricted shot of Suffolk Superior Courtroom 306. No jurors' faces. And no shots of the spectators.

They'll all be asking the same question I am.

Why would she do it?

Sophie used to say that one word. Why? Endlessly. Well, not endlessly, as it turned out. It only seemed so at the time. Why?

We thought she was so dear, so funny, and so brilliant, even as a shy almost-three-year-old. Her tawny curls and deep brown eyes. Those eyelashes. Dex and I would whisper "why?" to each other before we fell asleep — a ritual, a married thing. Laughing at our joy and our luck and our future. Four years ago, hoping for a Sophie, we'd found this quirky gray one-level ranch in Linsdale, and I'd happily gone suburban. Happily turned my back on my magazine career. Quit my plum job as a writer for City magazine to become a full-time wife, a full-time mom. To have a full-time family.

I had no idea that "full time" would be so brief.

I stare at the still-dark screen. Everything ends. It's the when and the how that surprises us.

"One minute. And counting." The disembodied voice coming from the tinny speaker near my computer yanks my brain back to reality.

"Ready," I answer, as if the voice can hear me. I've cleared my desk of Sophie's framed scribbles and all the photos of Dex, even the one his mother took at law school graduation. Gone, too, is the tiny nubbin of peat Dex carried home from Scotland, and the grapefruit-scented candle he brought me from Harrods. I kept only one remembrance, a dappled fist-sized rock he'd found, its bulky heft smoothed by the Aegean.

I blink away tears. There'll never be another gift from him.

"Thirty seconds," the voice announces. I envision an assistant director in a plaid shirt, maybe tortoiseshell glasses and unruly hair, seated at a flickering console inside the mobile broadcast studio, an unmarked white van parked in the lot behind the courthouse.

Is there truly a white van? Is there truly a flickering bank of controls? Here at my desk, I conjure the aging stone and granite courthouse, the constant battle for parking in a crumbling asphalt lot, pungent and sticky in Boston's ridiculously unbearable September. The reporters, lugging tote bags and cell phones and spiral notebooks. I've seen these things so many times, why should it be any different now?

But maybe the van is blue. Maybe everything is different. It is for me.

"Attention stations," the voice says. "You may roll tape. We're about to hear the opening statement from District Attorney Royal Spofford."

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Trust Me"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Hank Phillippi Ryan.
Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Trust Me 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Bonnie Franks 15 days ago
This is my first by this author and will not be my last. Good story! I liked the characters I was meant to like, I wanted to pretend I didn't know some of the others..... I enjoyed this book as it had it all. There were moments of love, of sadness, of happiness, and some of cold-hearted seeming honesty. Which wasn't always exactly that. In other words, all the things we, the readers, are looking for in a book. There were relatable characters, and characters we've met whether we relate to them or not. A trial, the writing of a novel. There were certainly twists and turns! An enjoyable read from cover to cover. You will enjoy it! (Trust me.)
Talkingt77 More than 1 year ago
It started out slow and I wasn't sure where we were headed. But, when it took off it really took off. The truth does always seems to have three sides. As this book unfolds the truth seems be all over the place. A few twist and turns that have you wondering what the truth might be. A page turner that anyone who loves to read will enjoy! I received an advanced readers copy of this book.
joaddee More than 1 year ago
What a waste of time and monmey...my time and my money. Ryan tried too hard to make this a suspenseful thriller...instead we're left with a mishmash of ever changing plots which never really build any suspense I won't be looking for any more books by this author
Kathrynjbain More than 1 year ago
I received this book for an honest review. I think this is the best book written by Ms. Ryan so far. It keeps you turning the pages trying to figure out what happened to a missing child. There is a lot of tension with each new chapter. For those who don’t consider it psychological suspense, it isn’t if you are comparing this book to those written by Dean Koontz. But if you’re comparing it with Gone Girl, it is right on par. Ms. Ryan definitely hit this one out of the ballpark. For those who want to know, there is some use of the "f" word and other curse words, but very few. No sexual situations.
Marla-Bradeen More than 1 year ago
I have been looking forward to this book since I first heard about it, and it did not disappoint. A conflicted protagonist with a compelling voice, fascinating supporting characters, and a unique plot combine to make TRUST ME unpredictable and captivating. This is one story where you just can't be sure what's going to happen next, the hallmark of a good suspense novel (and kudos to the publisher for keeping the blurb spoiler-free). Disclosure: I received a free, uncorrected advance copy of this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ryan takes the reader down paths that were troubling. The reader begins to doubt that they understand either character. Who can you trust? Trust Me may have you wondering. A 5-Star Must Read full of suspense, thrill, chills, twists, and turns. #NetGalley
whatthebook More than 1 year ago
I received a complimentary e-book copy of Trust Me from Macmillan-Tor/Forge via NetGalley. Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan is a story about Mercer Hennessey, a widowed reporter, who's hired to write a true crime story about Ashlyn Bryant. Ashlyn is on trial for the murder of her young daughter, Tasha Nicole. Mercer is still grieving from the loss of her husband, Dex, and their daughter, Sophie. While Mercer is intent on writing Ashlyn's truths, she starts looking at her life and questioning her own truths. How will Mercer survive writing this book if she can't trust anyone, including herself? This book was filled with many twists which got to be tiresome. The pace of this book was a bit slow but still kept my attention and was an easy read. I always struggle with books when there's a character that I really don't like- if the author's intent was for us to not like this particular character, then she did a great job.
JHSEsq More than 1 year ago
Ashlyn Bryant is accused of murdering her beautiful three-year-old daughter, Tasha Nicole. When little Tasha went missing, Ashlyn insisted she did not know anything about her daughter's fate, claiming she last saw her with she left her with a babysitter named Valerie. But Tasha's body was found stuffed into a garbage bag, Ashlyn was charged and held to stand trial. Now the trial is a gruesome spectacle with the District Attorney claiming that "only Ashlyn" had the means and motive to harm Tasha, even though no physical evidence links Ashlyn to the heinous crime. Mercer Hennessy knows about loss. Two years ago, her own three-year=old daughter, Sophie, was killed, along with Mercer's husband, in a horrific vehicle accident. Since then, Mercer, a journalist, has been mired in grief. When Mercer is given the assignment of following Ashlyn's trial and writing a true crime book about it, she struggles to emerge from the wreckage of her own life. Watching the trial each day, Mercer is convinced that Ashlyn is guilty. The surprise outcome of the trial throws the two women together. Theirs becomes an unlikely alliance and dangerous game of cat and mouse as Mercer attempts to elicit the truth from Ashlyn and grows increasingly dubious and afraid for her own safety. Before long, Mercer finds herself questioning every detail about her life and relationships, including the marriage she thought was a happy, faithful one, and the circumstances surrounding the death of her beloved husband and daughter. Trust Me is based upon a unique premise. While the characters are fully developed and their repartee intriguing, the book's momentum stalls mid-way, with scenes seeming to repeat themselves without advancing the storyline. The book would have benefited greatly from some judicious editing. Nonetheless, it is a chilling tale about the powerful hold the manipulations and machinations of a psychopath can have on a rational, intelligent individual, especially if that individual has already been rendered vulnerable. It is also a story of triumph over despair and the application of reason to outsmart a formidable, but ultimately flawed, psychopathic opponent. And for those reasons, it is entertaining and worth reading. Thanks to NetGalley for an Advance Reader's Copy of the book.
gypsygrandmatv More than 1 year ago
Wow...just wow! What a fantastic book. I've been a fan of Hank Phillippi Ryan since I read Prime Time, and love her Jane Ryland books. This is her first stand-alone and she knocks it out of the park! The subject matter is timely and the writing fast paced with twists and turns around every corner...just when you think you know what is happening Hank changes things up. Who do you trust...what do you trust? Mercer is trying to pull herself out of the darkness after the deaths of her husband and daughter in a tragic car accident when her friend and editor talks her into writing a book about the trial of a young woman...Ashlyn...accused of killing her daughter. Trust me...she's guilty...until she's not and the jury frees her. Now the book Mercer is writing has to change focus...she needs to get Ashlyn's story about what happened. Just when you think you know what happened...you don't. Ashlyn is a master manipulator and Hank masterfully leads us through the maze until the final twist at the end. Trust me...this book is one of the best books of the summer!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received an ARC from the author/Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I found this book very hard to get into, the story line was confusing at the beginning of the book. If I cannot get into a book within the first couple chapters I have a difficult time finishing it. Hank Phillippi Ryan's books do not usually cause me problems but for some reason I could not get into this book to enjoy it.
blonde_betty More than 1 year ago
Hank Phillipi Ryan’s latest, Trust Me, kept me on the edge of my seat. Just when you think you know where this book is going you realize you have absolutely no idea. Though it doesn’t clearly fall into the unreliable narrator category, there are definitely moments where you wonder. It is best if you just let yourself go with the flow. Ryan's a master and she’s at her best in this novel. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this novel.
LGHudson More than 1 year ago
PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER! What is TRUTH? How do you KNOW it’s the truth? Is it because people tell you it’s the truth? Is it because you “trust your gut”? Do you believe it if the facts prove it? What if the facts have been manipulated? Trust Me explores these questions and so many more as author Hank Ryan Phillipi Ryan leads readers through a fantastic standalone psychological thriller. Her writing is so descriptive that you become a character in the story. Her characters are complex. Her setting is so comfortable that you feel you are sitting in the rooms with the characters, observing and listening to their conversations. Her plot is precise and execution is perfect! The psychological warfare (that is what it truly is!) over what is THE TRUTH between the two main characters is so intense that you will find yourself continually seeking THE TRUTH. I won an ARC copy of this book on Goodreads. The opinions expressed here are completely my own and without influence.
LGHudson More than 1 year ago
PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER! What is TRUTH? How do you KNOW it’s the truth? Is it because people tell you it’s the truth? Is it because you “trust your gut”? Do you believe it if the facts prove it? What if the facts have been manipulated? Trust Me explores these questions and so many more as author Hank Ryan Phillipi Ryan leads readers through a fantastic standalone psychological thriller. Her writing is so descriptive that you become a character in the story. Her characters are complex. Her setting is so comfortable that you feel you are sitting in the rooms with the characters, observing and listening to their conversations. Her plot is precise and execution is perfect! The psychological warfare (that is what it truly is!) over what is THE TRUTH between the two main characters is so intense that you will find yourself continually seeking THE TRUTH. I won an ARC copy of this book on Goodreads. The opinions expressed here are completely my own and without influence.
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Dollycas’s Thoughts Former journalist Mercer Hennessey is still trying to deal with the car accident that took her husband and 3-year-old daughter when her former editor, Katherine pitches her a true-crime book idea. Ashlyn Bryant is on trial for murdering her 2-year-old daughter. Bryant has proclaimed her innocence since she was arrested. Katherine wants Mercer to watch the trial and write about having the book ready shortly after the trial ends. Mercer agrees hoping it will help her start to move on from her grief but the trial and aftermath effect her in ways she never imagined. As a mom who has lost a child, an adult child, not a toddler, I felt Mercer’s grief really resonated with me and as the story continued by heart just broke for this character. I know that pain and the author brought it out in her words with an expert hand. Mercer has a little ritual that was very similar to one I have which gave me a link into her “new” normal. The author also created a very unlikable character in Ashlyn Bryant. Totally shady and more twisted as the story continues. While she has a problem telling the truth she came across as very real. The book is broken into 3 parts and Ms. Ryan takes us on quite a journey as we work our way through a complicated story. I liked the step by step process of part 1 very much and seeing Mercer’s start on the book. I am a big fan of courtroom drama. The story takes a huge turn at the start of Part 2. I admire Mercer for her strength to take on a true crime novel and stick with it until the end and all she has to endure. I would not have been able to deal with half of what Mercer did. The characters in this story are full of depth. In the midst of what really is a dark story, there is just a little thing that does cut through. On the feeds that Mercer is watching there is a man, a “voice” that announces what will be happening at the trial at the beginning of the day, breaks in if need be with announcements, and signs off at the end of the day. It is just his voice, he is never seen on camera, but he does his best to put a smile on people who are watching the feed. I hesitate to give too many details because to get the full impact of this story you must read it fresh for yourself. The author not only manipulates the characters she manipulated my thinking too. The story is a true psychological mystery that is so twisted you don’t know who to trust. But TRUST ME, this is a book you will want to read, preorder so you have it immediately when it is released next Tuesday!
charleneC More than 1 year ago
I just finished Trust Me! I loved this book as much as all the other books Hank Phillippi Ryan has written. From the first page I was hooked and could not stop reading! Lots of twists and turns. I was guessing to the very last page of this story. this book will touch your heart and soul.