This week I am reviewing Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan. Let me state that I have been a big fan of Hank’s since the first time I met her in 2012 at the Sunday Breakfast at Crime Bake. She is one of the most genuine people I have ever met. She offered her help to every person at the table, handed her cards around with a “call me anytime.” This was my first writing conference, and I will tell you, I was impressed. I have read a few of Hank’s other books, and enjoyed them, but this was the first stand alone of hers that I read.
Trust Me, you’ll enjoy this book!
I would call Trust Me a domestic psychological thriller. Throughout the book, you wonder did she do it or didn’t she do it? Did she kill her child? Is she a monster? Is she a victim?
As the book begins, we meet the main character, Mercer Hennessey, a respected journalist that has been out of commission since the tragic death of her husband and young daughter over a year before. Even though she is deeply troubled, she is given the assignment of writing a book about the woman, Ashlyn Bryant, who is on trial for the murder of her young daughter, Tasha Nicole.
In Part 1, Mercer is writing her book in conjunction with the trial as it takes place, weaving the actual testimony into her book. Everything she hears supports her conviction that Ashlyn is guilty of killing “Baby Boston” as Tasha Nicole was known as before being identified. Everyone in Boston mourned over this child, Mercer included. And everything she writes in the book reflects what she feels about Ashlyn.
Pulled into Mercer’s troubled thoughts the reader can’t help but wonder if she was truly the right person to write this story. Mercer has great empathy for Tasha Nicole, sometimes confusing her feelings for her own lost daughter with her feelings for this lost child. Hank Phillippi Ryan did a wonderful job weaving Mercer’s psychology and personality throughout the story, so that the reader is left not only questioning Mercer’s decisions, writing, and behavior, but also being pulled so deeply into her mind, that as the reader, you agree with her.
In Part 2, Mercer actually gets to spend time with and interview Ashlyn and begins to question her own thoughts and conclusions. Is Ashlyn truly guilty, or is she an innocent woman, also grieving for her daughter? Part 2 is delves into Ashlyn’s psychological make-up to a certain extent, but mostly to show how it sometimes merges and sometimes clashes with Mercer’s psychology. Is Ashlyn a master manipulator or is she a victim? The journey to the truth takes Mercer on a wild ride.
Trust Me is a great domestic thriller that keeps you guessing right until the end. I can highly recommend it.
Five Stars *****