Monday, September 7, 2009

review: face time by hank phillippi ryan

Face Time finds Charlie back to work after the excitement of Prime Time. Her relationship with Josh is progressing, though she does have to deal with his petulant eight year old daughter who isn't thrilled her dad has a new woman in his life. As for work, a new consultant (an evil that invades all newsrooms) has been brought in to increase the ratings. She's declared that July is the new November. The consultant is insane, but then again they usually are. So although Charlie planned to spend time with Josh and his daughter at his cabin, she instead must work on a sweeps piece branded "Charlie's Crusade" even though the story seemingly falls apart before it begins when the supposedly wrongly convicted woman it all hinges on refuses to be interviewed. Dorinda’s refusal raises some questions. If she killed her husband as she insists she did, why did someone produce a surveillance tape giving Dorinda an alibi? If the tape is legit, why doesn’t Dorinda leap at the chance to get out of prison? Pursuing this story leads Charlie down a dangerous road as people connected to the case start turning up dead.

While Face Time continues to illustrate that Charlie, like so many others, makes sacrifices for her career, it also expands upon the relationships first shown in Prime Time. This time Charlie’s mom is in town, which is good for some additional drama. It also gives the author the opportunity to let readers know that even those related to people working in TV news don’t really understand how it works. It’s exemplary characterization. In fact, even Charlie’s cat’s personality is nailed. I love the fact that Charlie has a pet. Far too many fictional characters don’t; real people have pets, so integrating one into the plot makes fictional characters more real, especially when the pet is fitting for the character’s personality which Botox definitely is for Charlie.
Review copy provided by the author.

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