It's not so much who will be the first person to lie but who isn't lying in this impressive stand-alone novel from award-winning author Hank Phillippi Ryan.
"The First To Lie" weaves journalism ethics with corporate sabotage in a tightly focused plot filled with unexpected twists.
Passionate about health care journalism, Elle Berensen follows evidence that pharmaceutical firm Pharminex's popular new drug Monifan can make women barren. She expects this first assignment for Boston's startup Channel 11 will set her career.
Facts and ethics are important to Elle, but she's concerned that her new assistant Meg Weest not only lacks the basics of journalism but is willing to lie and even resort to violence for this story. Meg seems to be more focused on embarrassing the Vanderwald family who own Pharminex. Meanwhile, new pharmaceutical sales representative Nora Quinn makes a habit of talking with patients when visiting doctors' offices.
The intersection of the characters' various agendas delivers an intriguing plot that holds its believable surprises until the finale. "The First To Lie" employs the unreliable narrator with gusto as each character lies to each other. The reader will relish trying to decide who to believe — or not.
Ryan's career as a broadcast journalist in Boston has added a sense of realism to her novels, including "The First To Lie," her 12th mystery. She has won five Agatha Awards for her novels as well as 36 Emmys and 14 Edward R. Murrow Awards for her journalism.
"The First To Lie" by Hank Phillippi Ryan; Forge (336 pages, $27.99)