Best of 2009: Best Series to Acknowledge the Existence of Menopausal Women

I don't lie about my age -- I couldn't if I wanted to, because my kids are more than happy to tell anyone who asks. I'm 57, okay? I know that's older than a lot of you, but I'm really not in Miss Marple's generation. In mystery, there isn't a lot of middle ground: the detective/heroine is either old as dirt or practically in diapers -- comparatively speaking.


Woman my age might look old, but we don't feel that way. We still live exciting, productive lives -- it's just rare to read about women of my general age group in books.


Thank God for Hank Phillippi Ryan, Boston TV instigative reporter-slash-mystery author. How Hank juggles her two jobs I'll never understand, especially since she seems to be everywhere -- book signings, mystery conferences, romance writers conventions. Hank and I are roughly the same age and, while she is considerably more glamorous (and slim -- did I mention how sleek and fashionable she is?), we both work hard and still manage to enjoy life.


Enter Charlie McNally, an investigative reporter for a TV station not unlike the one Hank works for, researching stories that are written with a deft hand and a definite touch of inside knowledge. While Charlie isn't Hank's alter ego, the similarities give authenticity to Charlie's voice. Each book is features a fascinating look into a mystery-related investigation, while revealing a little more about Charlie's life.


I've read the first three books in this series: PRIME TIME, FACE TIME and AIR TIME, and I'm looking forward to Hank's upcoming release, DRIVE TIME. I'm not alone in praising this series -- just search Hank's name or any of the titles to see all the rave reviews she's getting.


Now, before you start pointing out all the other fifty-ish heroines out there, let me just stress that this is the first I can remember that I really related to. Life doesn't end when the nest empties or when hot flashes begin. I, for one, am having more fun now than when I was a teenager. Hank's books are a reminder that turning fifty doesn't instantly put you in slippers and a rocking chair, or make you transform into your prim and proper grandmother.


Kick off your stilettos and pour yourself a glass of wine. Grab one of Hank's books and watch Charlie McNally kick some ass!




Drive Time





Drive Time 


Air Time


Face Time


Prime Time





Categories: Best of Books
by Moderator becke_davis on ‎12-03-2009 06:37 PM

I can't figure out how to edit my post. 


"let me just stress that this is the first I can remember" should read "let me just stress that this is the first heroine-of-a-certain-age I can remember"


Sorry about that (senior moment!).

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎12-03-2009 07:59 PM

LOL.  Becke, I Charlie's definitely one-of-a-kind on the pages, but an awful lot like many of our friends and sisters.  I know you read a ton of mystery and romantic suspense, so placing Hank Phillippi Ryan at the top of your list really says something.


Do you think general mystery lovers would dig these?  Hank's won the DuMaurier, no?

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎12-03-2009 08:19 PM

Hank was a featured author at B&N's Mystery Book Club over the summer and her books got rave reviews from our participants. Plus Hank is a real charmer, so she garnered a LOT of new fans.


Prime Time got all kinds of awards:


Winner of the prestigious AGATHA Award for Best First Novel
RITA Nominee Best First Novel and Best Romantic Suspense
DAPHNE Nominee Best Romantic Suspense
RT Reviewers Choice Award Winner and TOP PICK


by Moderator dhaupt on ‎12-04-2009 09:37 AM

Becke, great article and it couldn't go to a better author or person. Hank's a doll, who cares a lot about her fans of which I am the BIGGEST!!

As you know I also am of a certain age, okay almost 56 and I love Charlie McNally not only because she's funny, smart, beautiful and full of piss and vinegar, but also because she's my age and I love reading novels about older couples who still like to get it on but don't have to show their ID's in bars and restaurants to get a beer. She's definitely my kind of heroine and I totally agree with you Becke that this is one of the best new series out there and one that I hope, hope will go like our friend Buzz Lightyear says "To Infinity and Beyond"!!!

And to answer Michelle's question I think general mystery lovers would find these reads right up their dark allies.


by Moderator becke_davis on ‎12-04-2009 10:54 AM

Debbie -- I love the "piss and vinegar" comment! Hank makes friends everywhere she goes -- I'm not surprised she's on television, because her personality is incandescent. That definitely comes through in her books.

by Author Hank_Phillippi_Ryan on ‎12-04-2009 05:48 PM

Well, imagine my delight at seeing this!  Thank you thank you thank you...and yes, I remember what it was like to be Charlie's age..all of 46 and now 47.


You know--at this point in our lives, there's no more "what do you want to be when you grow up," you know? What we are and what we have become--sometimes feels set. But it doesn't have to be--and, besides the mysteries!--that's what the books are all about.


I'd always always wanted to write mysteries...but my life went a different way.  I've been a reporter for more that 30 years now, and I'm still on the air in Boston. And I'm  happy, thriving, and as secure as anyone can be in  this crazy business.


But one day, at age 55--I had an idea for a plot. And I got goosebumps. And I know I had to write my first mystery. It turned out to be PRIME TIME.


SO I'm the poster child for starting something new and wonderful at, um, mid-life. Like someone else--nudge nudge--we all know very well. (Right, Becke?)


I'm so thrilled you are connecting with Charlie. I hope she becomes your new best friend. (Though she'll have to get in line behind me!) 


Check out my website...  (It also has my absolute rave review--a starred review!--from Library Journal. It says--DRIVE TIME puts me in a league with Lisa Scottoline.  (Ver-ry nice league...)


love love love to all..and talk to you soon!!


xox Hank







by Author Hank_Phillippi_Ryan on ‎12-04-2009 05:49 PM

And--Hi Debbie! Hi MIchelle!

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎12-04-2009 06:20 PM

Hank - 55 is the magic number! That was the year I decided to try fiction writing after almost 20 years of non-fiction. I'm still working toward that goal. I may not have figured out "what I want to be when I grow up" until a late age, but it's fun having something exciting to focus on. Although it would have been nice if I'd figured it out a decade or so earlier.

by ethel55 on ‎12-10-2009 02:01 PM

I enjoyed these as well! Loved your commentary!!

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎12-10-2009 03:16 PM

Hopefully Hank will come back and visit B&N's Mystery Book Club again when DRIVE TIME comes out in February 2010.

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