What You See: another thrilling installment in Hank Phillippi Ryan's award-winning Jane Ryland mystery series.
Why would a father abduct his own child? A wedding is planned in Jane Ryland's family, but there's a disaster instead. Nine-year-old Gracie-supposed to be the flower girl-has been taken by her stepdad. Where are they? Is the girl in danger? Reporter Jane Ryland learns there's a limit to the bonds of family-and learns to her peril what happens when loved ones are pushed too far.
Meanwhile, Detective Jake Brogan's got a doozy of a case. At Boston's historic Faneuil Hall, a man is stabbed to death in front of a crowd of tourists snapping photos of the murder on their cell phones. Solving the case should be easy, but the pictures and surveillance video lead him to a dark conspiracy of extortion and stolen lives.
Jane and Jake must explore where their loyalties lie-to each other? To their families? To their careers? If they make the wrong decision, the consequences could be fatal.
About the Author
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN is the on-air investigative reporter for Boston's NBC affiliate. She has won 33 EMMYs, 13 Edward R. Murrow awards and dozens of other honors for her groundbreaking journalism. A bestselling author of seven mystery novels, Ryan has won multiple prestigious awards for her crime fiction: five Agathas, the Anthony, Daphne, Macavity, and for THE OTHER WOMAN, the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. National reviews have called her a "master at crafting suspenseful mysteries" and "a superb and gifted storyteller." Her 2013 novel, THE WRONG GIRL, won both the Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel and the Daphne Award for Mainstream Mystery/Suspense, and is a seven-week Boston Globe bestseller. TRUTH BE TOLD was the Agatha Award winner for Best Contemporary Novel, an Anthony Award nominee for Best Novel, and a Library Journal BEST BOOK OF 2014, with starred reviews from Booklist and from Library Journal. She also won a second Agatha Award in 2015 for Best Nonfiction, as editor of WRITES OF PASSAGE, an anthology of essays by mystery authors. Ryan's follow up to TRUTH BE TOLD is WHAT YOU SEE, which debuted in Fall 2015. She's a founding teacher at Mystery Writers of America University and 2013 president of national Sisters in Crime.
Read an Excerpt
What You See
By Hank Phillippi Ryan
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 2015 by Hank Phillippi Ryan
All rights reserved.
"Somebody saw something. And most of them took pictures of it." Detective Jake Brogan watched the uniforms try to corral the chaos of tourists and brown-bag-toting Bostonians while two crime scene units unspooled parallel rolls of their yellow plastic tape. Sirens wailed, three EMTs leaped from a red-and-white ambulance, the beeping Walk signal ordered clustering pedestrians to cross Congress Street, and angry drivers honked disapproval as police cadets in orange bandoliers signaled all cars to stop.
Jake had heard screams through the plate-glass window of the Bell in Hand, abandoned his carry-out roast beef sub on the restaurant counter, ran half a block. Found this. Radioed his partner. Lunch hour, now put on hold by murder.
"Wall-to-wall spectators, the good news and the bad news." Paul DeLuca shaded his eyes with one hand. The two detectives had split up to grab lunch, D opting for the corner Dunkin's. DeLuca still held his iced coffee, third of the day. "Who called nine-one-one? Anybody run away?"
"That's what we're about to find out," Jake said. "Most cases, nobody saw anything. Here's the opposite. Too many witnesses. That's a new one."
In the center of the circular redbrick plaza, in the noontime shadow of the burnished bronze knee of the Mayor Curley statue, some poor soul in a once-white shirt lay facedown, his running shoes splayed, a navy blue Sox cap teetering on the concrete, the hilt of a knife protruding absurdly between his shoulder blades. Jake had immediately radioed the medical examiner, who was now only minutes away. They'd need to dispatch the cleanup team, too. With the Fourth of July a month from now, the mayor would go ballistic over the growing puddle of red staining this concrete pathway along the visitor-magnet Freedom Trail. So much for the beginning of tourist season.
Across the street, in the teeming marketplace behind Faneuil Hall, persistent vendors offered Sam Adams tricorns, BOSTON STRONG T-shirts, and plastic lobster souvenirs. Visitors unlucky enough to witness this noontime stabbing had already received a souvenir they'd likely want to forget. But not until Jake picked their brains. And cell phone histories.
"I want names. I want addresses," he told DeLuca. "I want their phones and I want their cameras."
From moment one, Jake knew this would be a mess. Some of these people would lie, some would make stuff up, some would see things that never existed, some would have something to hide. Some would run. Complicating it all, he and DeLuca technically needed individual warrants to seize property. If any onlooker knew the law and gave them grief about it, it'd be even more of a shit show.
He pointed his partner toward the cadets. "The supe sent the new kids to 'help.' All we need. Tell them not to let any witness leave without giving contact information."
"Where're we gonna put 'em all, though?" DeLuca sucked a hit of coffee through a clear straw. "The Garden? Maybe they can watch Disney On Ice while we get their deets."
DeLuca had a point. Even the bleachers of the nearby Boston Garden sports arena were no solution. How could Jake keep fifty or so witnesses, from little kids to one guy in a wheelchair, in semi-custody while a group of cadets practiced collecting personal information and asking for photos?
"If we'd gone to Santarpio's like I wanted, we'd be all the way in Eastie," Jake said. "Dispatch might have sent someone else to handle this mess."
"There is no someone else," DeLuca pointed out. "Vacation time, budget cuts, short staffing. We get the short straw."
"We get all the straws," Jake said.
A lanky blue-uniformed EMT wearing lavender latex gloves, black running shoes, and a pencil stabbed through her graying ponytail trotted up to the two of them. She gestured toward the two medics kneeling over the victim.
"Not a whole lot to tell, Detectives. White male, approximately forty-five years old, deceased. Stab wound to the back. Just the one. Happened, I'd say, pretty much instantly," she said. "We got here at twelve-oh-four. Called it at twelve-oh-five. Knife's still in, wouldn't have mattered. Thought the ME should see it as is. We'll let her look for ID."
"She's on the way. Thanks, Doc," Jake said. EMT Deborah Kratky wasn't actually a doctor, but she'd been on the job long enough to know as much as any medic. She'd even been there to see a rookie Jake handle his first homicide. It was up in the Blue Hills, a disturbingly arranged female corpse, turned out the victim of a Boston Strangler copycat. Ten years later, Jake no longer felt like throwing up at crime scenes. Not necessarily a good thing. Cops get bored, cops make mistakes. Jake never wanted to get used to murder.
"Anybody know anything?" he asked. "See anything? Say anything?"
"Not to me." Doc looked back at the crime scene, hands on hips, one eyebrow raised. "Crap. Would you stand there? With your little kid? Rubbernecking a dead person? Blood on the sidewalk? I sure wouldn't, if it wasn't my job."
A dusty yellow city bus, emblazoned GO BSO, wheezed up to the stop across from the bank. One of the cadets waved both arms at the driver, signaling him to move on. Faces peered from each square window, a puff of exhaust pluming to the curb as the bus pulled away.
"Whoever did it's gotta be big, lot of muscle. One blow like that?" Jake scanned the crowd for anyone who fit the bill. Would the killer be dumb or strange or crazy enough to hang around? Cadets were taking names, writing on clipboards. Couple of people tried to leave, didn't succeed. Most were texting, calling, taking photos. Better not be erasing anything. Evidence these days was ephemeral. One click of a button, it got zapped into nothing.
"Big? Maybe. Or maybe angry. Or full of adrenaline. Or drugged up. And spattered with blood," Doc Kratky said. "Maybe. Unless he — or she — has already dropped their clothing somewhere."
"In which case we're screwed," D said.
"One step at a time," Jake said. "Look at all those phones. Each one's got a possible photo."
Might as well try to stay positive. Maybe the days of relying on tiny specks of evidence in glassine bags, untrustworthy eyewitnesses, and fabricated alibis would fade into law enforcement history, as antiquated as a posse on horseback, wiped out by night-scope lenses and twenty-four-hour videos and satellite pings. They'd nailed the Marathon bombers using video from department store surveillance. All they needed to catch this bad guy was someone who'd clicked a cell phone camera at exactly the right time.
"Makes you understand how movie stars feel, right? Paparazzi?" Doc said. "Guess that's good for you guys, though. Reporters will be here soon, no doubt, trolling for tourist cam photos."
Ordinarily, Jake would be wondering whether "reporters" might mean Jane. This time he knew it wouldn't.
"What you see is what you get," DeLuca said. "Cameras don't lie."
"Witnesses do," Jake said.
Still, whatever was caught on camera could be their ace in the hole. Some of the bars that lined one side of Congress Street, not to mention the monolith City Hall itself on the other side, must have security systems. Those videos they could instantly seize.
"So we won't transport till the ME —" Jake heard two quick beeps of a horn, Kat's signal she was arriving. Jake knew she hated the siren. No rush for me to get there, she always said. No need to announce another death. "Speak of the devil."
The gawkers turned, each camera and cell phone now pointed toward North Street and the blocky white van, stenciled in black letters MEDICAL EXAMINER. The right-side wheels jumped the curb onto the sidewalk. The driver's-side door clanged open, slammed closed. Jane always referred to Dr. Katharine McMahon as one of those Russian dolls in a doll, all dark hair and red lips and curves. Jane and Kat had taken a month or so to reach feminine détente, but they were okay now. Under her white medical jacket, Jake saw that Kat's hot pink T-shirt said LOVE IT LOCAL.
"See that?" DeLuca whispered. "You bet I will."
"Have some respect," Jake said.
"Why start now?" DeLuca said.
* * *
"So why'd you leave the Register?"
The very question, word for word, that Jane Ryland feared most. And the very question, word for word, that Jane had no idea how to answer.
Channel 2's news director, Marshall Tyson, all smiles and pinstripes, office strategically landscaped with award statues and celebrity photos and one duPont gold baton, had sprung it on her, but only after an excruciating half hour of niceties and journalism chitchat, followed by a play-by-play commentary on the A-block of the noon Eyewitness News, the broadcast still under way from the newsroom anchor desk outside his corner office.
"Well, it's complicated," Jane began.
Complicated wasn't even the word. It was a mess, from moment one, a mess.
Jane had walked the gauntlet of speculation, escorted by a chatty assignment desk intern, weaving through the newsroom's warren of cluttered desks and flickering computer monitors toward Tyson's office. Jane would be recognized, of course, from back when she was an on-air competitor. In the news business, which "talent" was "crossing the street" to a rival station was the most delicious topic of gossip, even better than who got fired for stealing promotional swag from the mail room, which reporters were getting sued, and why the noon anchor kept so many extra clothes in her office. No outsiders knew the scoop on what happened to Jane at the Boston Register last month. And how could she explain it?
In the midst of triumphant headlines at the Register, her investigation had uncovered a problem close to home. Jane proved a longtime reporter there had been fabricating stories. For years. Bad enough, but the clincher was worse. The newspaper decided to cover it up. Ignore it.
For Jane, that left only two choices.
She could be complicit. Or she could quit.
If she ratted out the paper for using fabricated stories, she'd argued, didn't it also put articles by all the reporters in question? If the public suspected some were partly fiction, would readers ever believe anything?
So here she was, once again a victim of her own damn ethics. Here she was, at the TV station that used to be her biggest competitor, discussing her third reporting job in five years. Not the most reliable-sounding résumé for a thirty-four-year-old, even in the nomadic climb-the-ladder world of journalism.
The intercom buzzed, and Tyson's cell phone pinged with a text.
"Sorry, Jane." The news director tapped on his keyboard with one hand, used the other to grab his phone, tucking it under his chin. "Gotta take this."
At least this time she wasn't a supplicant. Marshall Tyson had called her, using a "heard you're no longer with the paper" opening ploy in his voice mail, followed by "come chat if you're interested in getting back on the air, if you're not too busy."
Busy? Jane had rolled her eyes as she listened to his message. Oh, she was busy. Busy being unemployed again. Busy facing her younger sister's wedding this coming weekend. Busy entertaining bride-to-be Lissa, arriving in Boston this afternoon. Busy prepping to meet her sister's fiancé, "Dan the man of mystery," Jane privately called him, who'd arrive whenever Daniel Fasullo's corporate jet landed from whatever exotic overseas location. Busy preparing for a trip home to the Chicago suburbs to play maid of honor.
The good news: Jake had promised to come with her to Chicago. This weekend.
Now that she was unemployed, and therefore no longer encumbered by the reporter/source prohibition against dating, she and Jake had been experimenting with going public with their ... whatever it was. Relationship. Still being careful. But not always hiding.
Tyson was still deep in his phone conversation, looking out into the newsroom as he spoke. Jane followed his gaze, saw three young women at the assignment desk with two phones each plastered to their ears. Something was going on.
"When?" Tyson glanced at her, rolling his eyes in apology. She waved him off. She understood news came first. Anyway, it gave her time to think.
If Channel 2 offered her a job, did she want to go back to TV? Her bank account could certainly use the paycheck. And if the good guys quit, who'd be left? Maybe she could make a deal with Tyson to do only in-depth stories, groundbreaking investigative stuff.
Yes or no? Saying yes would mean she and Jake would have to return to the shadows. Right now, in this news director's office, she had to decide: Love or money? Seemed like she was doomed not to have both.
She could simply say maybe. Consider it, talk to Jake. If Channel 2 wanted her, they would wait. She mentally acknowledged her own wisdom, patted herself on the emotional back. She had control of her life. She needed to remember that.
Tyson raised a palm to her, pantomiming sorry, one moment, as he stood. His door opened. The newcomer, horn-rims and oxford shirt, clipboard, looked at Jane, assessing.
"Sorry to interrupt, Marsh, but —"
"We got anyone who can go over there?" the news director asked. He'd hung up the phone without saying good-bye. "Jane, this is Derek Estabrooks, our assignment guy. Derek? Anyone?"
"Negative, that's the thing. Hey, Jane." He acknowledged her with a quick up and down. "We got the morning crews doing outta-town live shots for the noon, and the next shift is the two thirty people, so we're kinda screw —"
"You ever do freelance, Jane?" The news director, interrupting, pointed a forefinger at her. "We've got a big story we can send you on. Right now. You up for it? But we gotta have an answer. Right now. Yes or no?"
He'd gotten the shot. Totally what happened — well, not exactly totally, maybe. Bobby hadn't been at Curley Park from the exact moment one. But how cool was it that the bus was late, and he'd been running behind for class anyway, and he always had his camera ready just in case. And blam, he'd clicked off, like, twenty shots in a row.
Had he gotten a good one of the stabbing? Of the person running away? He thought so, even just the back of him. Or her. He couldn't wait to see, but he couldn't take the time to check yet. If he had? This'd be big.
Bobby Riaz tried to look small and inconspicuous, his RED SUX T-shirt, with, like, the same typeface as Red Sox, so people sometimes didn't get it, morons, was pretty much covered by his work shirt. Plus, nobody was looking at him right now. They were all looking at the dead guy under the Curley statue.
Television had that "Send it to 2" thing, where they'd show your photos or video or whatever. All he wanted was to be part of it. Get discovered. Move to LA and hit the big time. Photographer to the stars.
So far he'd been on "Send it" once, last winter, when that truck jackknifed off the Longfellow Bridge, and he'd gotten that photo from underneath, some kind of hot liquid sizzling down into the snow from however the engine worked, and those two huge tires hanging off the edge into nowhere. They'd put his actual name on the screen, photo credit Bobby R, for about five seconds, maybe more, but then they'd put it on the website, too. So it was almost like having a published photo, right? All except for the money. And he bet he could get big money for today's. From someone. He just had to figure out who.
Luckily it wasn't as hot as it had been, even though the sun was a bitch today. He twisted his camo cap around so the bill was shading his eyes, then turned it the cool way again. Life was all about the image. The sun was making weird glares on everything, and the trees, totally leafy and totally in the way, didn't help. But he'd gotten something, he was sure. He had the eye. Even his mom said so.
His mom also said he'd get in trouble someday with his picture taking, but she was wrong, what did she know? The paparazzi were all over television, got big bucks and hung out with rock stars. Well, not exactly hung out, since they were always suing them and shit, but he was gonna be different. He figured that if you were nice to people, let them know you understood their fame, they'd let you take their pix.
And this moment, this very moment, might be the time his future would begin. But who would he be when that happened? He had to plan.
Who he was now? Bobby Riaz. What a sucky name. His mom's name was Jones, even suckier. Maybe he'd be Rob Something, maybe. Rob Avedon? Which was totally made up and didn't have anything to do with who he really was, but Avedon was a famous photographer, he'd learned that in class, and maybe people would think he was related. Who'd know? The guy was dead. Maybe he could be Bobby Arbus, after Diane. She was totally cool, and dead, too.
Kodak, that was too weird. Bobby Polaroid? He burst out laughing, then choked it back when some lady beside him took her eyes off the dead guy long enough to frown at him. Right, laughing at a murder, not cool. He coughed to cover it up. Pretended to talk into his Bluetooth earpiece. "Oh, so funny," he said to no one. "But can't talk now."
Excerpted from What You See by Hank Phillippi Ryan. Copyright © 2015 by 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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have read everything this author has written. It's hard to believe she can do better with each book. But she does! Highly recommend to all!!
Love this series and hope it continues. Hope Jane and Jake get together.
What I See? Another Great Book Over the years, Hank Phillippi Ryan has earned a reputation for her page turning novels – and that reputation is well earned. What You See is the latest in her Jane Ryland series, and it is another book that will leave you reading well into the night. Now this series is officially titled the Jane Ryland series, but I would argue that Jane’s boyfriend Jake Brogan should be just as much a part of the series title. They are both equally important characters in each book, contributing to the solution of the plot. Boston detective Jake Brogan has landed a case with too many witnesses. A man has been stabbed in the middle of a small park near city hall at lunch time, and there are cameras and cell phones all around. Did one of these eye witnesses see the stabbing? Or did they capture a clue on their phone? Meanwhile, reporter Jane Ryland is trying to land a new job. When the call about the stabbing comes in, she is interviewing at a TV station and is the only person around, so she heads out to cover it on a freelance basis. However, a family crisis with her sister’s wedding threatens to derail her career comeback. Can she solve her family’s problems? If you are new to the series, you can certainly jump in here. Jane and Jake are wonderful characters, and it is easy to figure out their history from comments and exposition here. While a tiny bit of a sub-plot from the previous book is spoiled (explaining why Jane is once again unemployed), nothing major from any of the previous books is spoiled. There really are two plots in this book that weave in and out of each other seamlessly. The book is a bit slow as the stories are built up, but once they get going, this book is a page turner. I had a hard time putting it down, always wanting to read just a little bit more. This book is longer than the books I normally read, but it didn’t feel like it as I was glued to the page. Of course, everything builds to a satisfying climax. The story unfolds from multiple viewpoints, including Jane and Jake. This allows us to get to know several characters very well, which helps since we have a large cast of new characters here. All the characters are real, becoming fully fleshed out before we are too far into the book. Unfortunately, the cuts between the multiple viewpoints was part of the problem early on in the book. In an effort to create tension, we had some quick cuts that were supposed to be suspenseful but were more annoying than suspenseful. As we got to know the new characters and the plots built, switching to another part of the story became a welcome thing because I needed to know what was going to happen. I saw a description of this series recently that referred to it as cozy thriller. While I don’t know if I would go quite that far, these definitely fall closer to the soft boiled spectrum than the pure cozies I usually read. Mostly, this is noticeable in a few well-placed swear words. And the plot is definitely a step closer to thriller than cozies generally are as well, with more tension and more at stake but without the violence that genre usually has. Just keep this in mind as you pick it up to read. Because I definitely recommend you read What You See. You’ll be caught up in the story before you know it.
Jane Ryland returns in this newest entry in the wonderful series by Hank Phillippi Ryan. After having been an award-winning investigative tv reporter before she lost that job a year ago for refusing to give up a source (her 3rd job in five years, most recently at the Boston Register a month ago), Jane, now 34 years old, has been tasked, on a free-lance basis, by Channel 2 News to cover a breaking story, just outside of City Hall. In the opening pages, Detective Jake Brogan, grandson of a former Commissioner, one of the4 city’s top homicide cops and Jane’s “significant other,” and his partner, Paul DeLuca, are following up on a call to 911 about a man’s stabbing, in broad daylight at noontime in early June along the “visitor magnet” Freedom Trail, across the street from Faneuil Hall. An ambulance is on the way, as is the Medical Examiner. As DeLuca says, “Wall-to-wall spectators, the good news and the bad news.” In today’s world, most, if not all of them, were texting, calling, and taking photos, possibly of the stabbing itself. This is the scene Jane arrives on, her video camera in hand. Right behind her is Bobby Land, a photographer wanna-be, hoping this is his big chance, waiting to tell her that he had caught the whole thing on camera. A second story line introduces Tenley Siskel, working for the past 3 weeks at City Hall doing traffic surveillance, filling in during vacation time through her mother, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff for the last 8 years, both of them still recovering from the death of her sister. Another story line has Jane trying to locate her niece, 9-year-old Gracie, almost on the eve of a family wedding where she is to be the flower girl; she has disappeared, apparently taken by her stepfather. The author manages to give us all of this, which takes place within a 36-hour period, in page-turning manner, spinning out the suspense in her distinctive fashion. She also gives us a couple of instances of words to live by: “Families were not always easy,” and “Why did all of reality have to be recorded? Life never just happened anymore. Memories had to be indelible, every event captured. And shared.” The ubiquity of cameras/surveillance in today’s world is inescapable. Another excellent entry in the series, and one which is highly recommended. Reviewed by Gloria Feit
On a busy Boston pathway, a man is stabbed to death in the midst of a crowd of tourists, resulting in a frenzy of cell phone photographs and leaving Detective Jake Brogan with an unusual problem: too many witnesses. Between all those cell phone snapshots and the surveillance cameras surrounding the area, solving the case should have been a cinch, but the investigation takes a surprising turn, revealing unexpected treachery. Meanwhile, wedding preparations are keeping Jane Ryland busy; she’ll be maid of honor for her sister, Melissa, and the groom’s young daughter, Gracie, will be the flower girl. There’s just one complication: Gracie has disappeared, apparently abducted by her stepfather, leaving her family fearing for her safety. Jane is invited to Channel 2 for a job interview, but when the news director has no team available for a breaking story, she is given an opportunity to freelance for the station and heads to Curley Park to gather facts. Once there, she meets Bobby Land, a young would-be photographer who insists he has photos of the stabbing. Between his photographs and her on-scene video, will they be able to identify the person responsible for stabbing the unidentified man? With so many witnesses and all the technology, both the detective and the reporter might believe the case will be wrapped up quickly. But has anyone seen what really took place? And just what happened the night Gracie wasn’t missing? Crisp writing and well-developed characters in this fourth Jane Ryland tale ratchet up the fast-paced story while richly-drawn descriptions provide readers with an authentic sense of place. The intricately-woven mystery spins out in pulse-pounding suspense guaranteed to keep readers riveted to the edge of their seats until the final reveal and a surprise ending . . . or two. Highly recommended.