Hank Phillippi Ryan was on the cutting edge of the new wave of what I think of as “fem jep” with a psychological edge. Other writers like Gillian Flynn and Sophie Hannah were also early, excellent adopters of this formula. I read many of these books – they’re a blast – but I got to thinking recently, what sets one apart from another? Almost all of them have an insanely clever hook, and Ryan is no exception to this particular trope.
But what really, really draws me into Hank Ryan’s books is her pure empathy for her characters. Maybe it’s her years of working as a reporter, listening and taking in other people’s stories, but however she comes by this quality in her writing, it’s an extraordinary one, and one that’s often missing from similar fem jep thrillers. It makes you completely invested in her characters and to me, also amps up the suspense, because if you truly care about the people you are reading about, bad things happening to them are that much worse.