Cover image for The wrong girl
Title:
The wrong girl
ISBN:
9780765332585
Edition:
First Edition
Physical Description:
366 pages ; 25 cm
Geographic Term:
Summary:
Investigating allegations against an adoption agency that is suspected of reuniting adopted children with the wrong birth parents, Jane Ryland finds her efforts suspiciously tied to Jake Brogan's case involving a young woman's brutal murder and the disappearance of a baby.
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Summary

Summary

Award-winning and Boston Globe bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan presents a spine-chilling, heart-wrenching suspense novel that explores a terrifying scenario striking at the heart of every family.

Does a respected adoption agency have a frightening secret? Tipped off by a determined ex-colleague on a desperate quest to find her birth mother, Boston newspaper reporter Jane Ryland begins to suspect that the agency is engaging in the ultimate betrayal--reuniting birth parents with the wrong children.

For detective Jake Brogan and his partner, a young woman's brutal murder seems a sadly predictable case of domestic violence, one that results in two toddlers being shuttled into the foster care system. Then Jake finds an empty cradle at the murder scene. Where is the baby who should have been sleeping there?

Jane and Jake are soon on a trail full of twists and turns that takes them deep into the heart of a foster care system in crisis and threatens to blow the lid off an adoption agency scandal. When the threatening phone calls start, Jane knows she is on the right track...but with both a killer at large and an infant missing, time is running out....

The Wrong Girl is a riveting novel of familial relationships--both known and unknown--vile greed, senseless murder, and the ultimate in deception. What if you didn't know the truth about your own family?

The Wrong Girl is the winner of the 2013 Agatha Award for best contemporary novel.


Author Notes

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN is the investigative reporter for Boston's NBC affiliate, and has won twenty-eight Emmys and ten Edward R. Murrow awards. A Boston Globe bestselling author, Ryan has won the
has won two Agatha Awards, in addition to the Anthony, Macavity, Daphne du Maurier, and Mary Higgins Clark Award. She's 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 and Truth be Told.


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

A strong theme compensates for a heavy reliance on coincidence in Ryan's sequel to 2012's The Other Woman, a Mary Higgins Clark Award winner. Tucker Cameron, a former colleague of reporter Jane Ryland's at the Register, a Boston newspaper, asks for Jane's help in determining how a private adoption agency, Brannigan Family and Children Services, managed to "reunite" her with the wrong birth mother. Meanwhile, an anonymous phone call leads Det. Jake Brogan and his partner, Det. Paul DeLuca, to a Roslindale apartment, where they find the body of a woman who's suffered a fatal blow to the head, but no murder weapon accompanying it. Jane's editor assigns her to cover the killing, setting the stage for a complex investigation. Ryan does a good job portraying the foster care and adoption systems, their shortcomings, abuses, and overpowering demands. Intriguing secondary characters, including an idealistic worker at Brannigan, support the well-matched Jane and Jake, whose romance continues to smolder. Author tour. Agent: Lisa Gallagher, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Reporter Jane Ryland is on the trail of something big enough to ensure her continued employment on the downsizing Boston Republic when an anonymous threatening phone call makes her editor pull her off the story. Sidelined, she takes time to help former colleague Tuck Cameron, an adoptee just paired with her birth mother, who is distressed that the private Brannigan adoption agency that placed her made a mistake and that she's the wrong girl. Jane still continues to ferret out angles of the story of an unidentified woman killed in a house with two young toddlers present and evidence of a missing baby, a case being worked by her not-quite-lover Detective Jake Brogan. As Jake tries to avoid Jane on the job, he also has to deal with a case involving two top Brannigan administrators found dead days apart under questionable conditions. Investigative television reporter Ryan fulfills the promise of her first Jane Ryland mystery, The Other Woman (2012), as she blends a social issue the cost to young children of an overworked and underfunded foster care system into a crisp, fast-moving police procedural featuring reverberating illegalities, increasing danger and suspense, and crackling sexual tension between Ryland and Brogan. Another winner from Ryan.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2010 Booklist


Kirkus Review

A young woman's murder, which orphans two children, gives a reporter a story she can't resist. Jane Ryland has finally settled into her role as reporter at the Register when her old co-worker Tuck approaches Jane about an off-the-clock investigation she'd like Jane to take on. Thanks to the people at Brannigan Family and Children Services, Tuck was recently reunited with her birth mother, but some details of the reunion have made Tuck suspicious that she may in fact be the wrong girl, matched with a mother who isn't her own. Jane's former and potentially future flame Detective Jake Brogan is saddled with another case that involves working with the child welfare system when he's called in to investigate a murder that leaves two children without a family. Getting wind of the case, Jane schemes to get information out of Jake, his partner, Detective DeLuca, and the staff at the Department of Family Services. Though most folks seem wise to Jane's tricks, she's sure she can find a weak link in the chain that will lead her to some clues to investigate. All this drama distracts Jane from Tuck's quest but doesn't stop some of the staff at the Brannigan from doing a bit of investigating of their own. Threads of the story are woven together in a net that threatens to ensnare Jane if she can't unravel them first. The complex storyline, which approaches child welfare from many different angles, provides Ryan (The Other Woman, 2012, etc.) with a plot that never allows the reader a moment of breathing room.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal Review

In her follow-up to The Other Woman, Ryan returns to Boston as Jane chases a story about a murder and at the same time a former coworker asks for help verifying information about her birth mother. Bodies pile up on one side and questions on the other, but it's all about finding family connections as the two plotlines converge. DNA analysis can identify any valid relationship, a fact ignored but for a single offhand comment several hours into the book. A sense of urgency is created by frequent viewpoint changes but fails to compensate for the illogical core problem. Ilyana Kadushin's slow delivery emphasizes the singsong quality of short sentences. Verdict Will be of interest to some who enjoy fast-moving, plot-driven thrillers. ["The thrills are.abundant, and the plot takes a left turn when the reader is sure it's going right. Ryan has a gift for writing superb thrillers, and this one is sure to be a big hit with her growing fan base," read the more positive review of the Forge: Tor hc, LJ 8/13.-Ed.]-Janet Martin, Southern Pines P.L., NC (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

1 "Listen, Jane. I don't think she's my real mother." Jane Ryland took the phone from her ear, peering at it as if it could somehow help Tuck's incomprehensible tale make sense. Real mother? She didn't know Tuck was adopted, let alone looking for her birth mother. Why would Tuck call her ? And spill this soul-baring saga of abandonment, adoption agencies, then meeting some woman in Connecticut? Jane and Tuck were barely friends, let alone confidantes, especially after Tuck had-- The doorbell? "I'm in your front lobby." Tuck's voice buzzed over the intercom at the same time it came through the phone. "Sorry to show up at your apartment on a Sunday, you know, but I couldn't come to the Register, of course." Of course. It'd be humiliating for Tuck to visit Jane at the newspaper where they'd shared a cubicle as "news roomies" only months ago. Once a hotshot reporter, Tucker Cameron had been fired from the Register for sleeping with a source. The Boston Police public relations officer, of all dumb choices. In the months since, according to the nonstop newsroom gossip, the two pariahs, Tuck and Laney, had dropped off the map. Until now. But that was Tuck. Never a dull ... Jane pushed the red button in the intercom box, retied the drawstring on her fraying weekend sweatpants, and opened her front door, making sure Coda didn't streak through her legs. The calico--a kitten, really--had arrived on the downstairs stoop a few weeks before, tiny paws icy with snow. All Humane Society intentions disappeared after the shivering fluff nuzzled into Jane's shoulder, but neither of them was quite used to the other yet. Jane heard the entry door click open, three flights down, and Tuck's footsteps climbing the hardwood steps as she talked into her cell. "So what am I supposed to do now, roomie? I'm not a reporter anymore. No one will talk to me. Laney's looking for a job. I'm like a--well, you're the only one who can help me. The only one who was even nice to me. After." Tuck's head appeared around the landing, a black knit cap over her dark ponytail. A puffy snow-flecked black parka emerged, then her black jeans. She paused, one leather glove grazing the mahogany banister, the other raised in tentative greeting. Tuck's trademark swagger--her outta-my-way confidence--was missing. "Tuck? You okay?" Just another February at Jane's. First a stray kitten, and now--was Tuck crying? Tuck? "I guess so." Tuck stomped the last of the snow from her salt-stained boots, punched off her phone, stuffed it into her parka pocket. "I'm trying to be angry instead of miserable. But I can't let this go." She swiped under her eyes with two gloved fingers, wiping away what could have been snow. "It's my whole life, you know?" "Tell me inside. Get warm. Dump your boots by the door." Jane took Tuck's soggy parka and cap, draped them over the banister, then ushered her visitor into the living room, pointing her to the taupe-striped wing chair by the bay window. Slushy snow pelted the glass, the wind clattering bare branches, the last of the afternoon's feeble gray light struggling through. Coda slept on the couch, almost invisible, curled on a chocolate-and-cream paisley cushion. "Tea? Beer? Wine?" "Wine. Thanks. This has really kicked my ass." Tuck plopped into the chair, then twisted one leg around the other. "The lawyer I contacted at first was worthless, then the agency got my hopes up, but now, well, this is worse than not knowing. Which is why I'm here." Which made no sense whatsoever. They'd been office mates for only about two weeks. Jane was dayside, covering politics. Tuck worked the night shift, seemed to care only about her sensational front-page Bridge Killer stories. Their paths crossed only when their stories did. Now for some reason Tuck seemed to think she needed Jane's help, so here she was. That was Tuck. "Hang on a sec, let me get you a glass." Jane padded to the kitchen, grabbed the wine from the fridge, twisted it open. What would it feel like, not to know your own mother? As a kid, she'd thrown around adoption like a threat. "When my REAL mother comes to get me, you'll be sorry," a petulant eight-year-old Jane taunted her parents. She and BFF Laurie, slumber-party faces smeared in beauty goo, speculated in late-night whispers whether Jane's chestnut hair and hazel eyes meant she might really be adopted, might really be royalty or Bono's girlfriend's abandoned daughter. Jane did know what being fired felt like. It happened to her last summer and the sting hadn't quite gone away. So if Tuck needed her for something? She held out the glass and sat cross-legged on the couch. Least she could do was pour some wine and listen. "Okay, all ears." With Coda's purr a rumbling underscore, Tuck spilled the details. Jane's reporter training switched into gear, assessing what could be wrong, or a coincidence, or a mistake. She ticked off her questions, finger to finger, as she did with every story she covered. "So back at the beginning. You called the agency. Your mother told you which one?" "Yes. 'The Brannigan,' they call it. Brannigan Family and Children Services. Ten years ago, when I first called, they told me all the records were sealed until my birth mother gave the okay to open them. A closed adoption, you know? Then I guess I tried to forget about it. I mean, I was eighteen, she might have been dead. Plus, I knew my mom--adoptive mother--wouldn't love that I was looking." Tuck paused, rolled her eyes.. "She'd have said, in that snarky voice she uses, 'Why do you need another mother, Tucker dear? Am I not enough for you?'" She shrugged. "She'd probably still say that, even in her ... condition. But she lives in Florida, she stayed in their condo thing after Dad died. So she'll never know." "Condition? She's...?" Jane searched for a way to ask. She missed her own mother every day. Poor Tuck. "Yeah. Doctors say it won't be long, and ah, I don't know. I'm trying to deal with that, too. It's hard." She puffed out a breath, shook her head. " Anyway. Last week, after all that time, the Brannigan called to say they'd found my birth mother. It felt perfect, you know? With me and Laney serious, thinking of kids, and the last of my adoptive family almost gone? But now..." Tuck pulled the stretchy band from her ponytail, then twisted it back on. Took a sip of wine, carefully replaced her glass on the coaster. She looked at Jane. "But now, even though I'm not at the paper anymore, I think I may be on to the story of my life." Copyright © 2013 by Hank Phillippi Ryan Excerpted from The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.