HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Well, the champagne is icing and the bookmarks are stacked and my suitcase is almost packed and my speech for tonight’s launch is almost written! It’s publication day for my ninth thriller, SAY NO MORE! I’m so thrilled it’s received amazing reviews, all around, and a STAR from Library Journal ("Ryan does it again... a fast-paced, edgy mystery that seems ripped from the headlines") and an RTBookReviews TOP PICK.
To give you the scoop, I’ve enlisted some of my author pals to be my interviewers!
The amazing HALLIE EPHRON asks: As always with your unputdownable novels, the title is loaded with multiple meanings and a powerful theme that gets artfully woven through the book. SAY NO MORE... Hank, tell us where you were going with this.
HANK: Well, thank you. Yes, RT called it "Brilliant...an exceptional multi-faceted procedural." Yay. Here's what I was thinking: Several years ago, Jonathan and I were driving along Monsignor O'Brien Highway between Boston and Cambridge, and I witnessed a hit and run accident--a car smashing into the back of a van. I guess my reporter brain kicked in, because I looked out my passenger-side window at the driver of the car, and carefully and intently catalogued his face. Widows peak, pointy nose, high cheekbones, pointy chin. I don't know why, I just did.
Then he shifted gears, backed up, and sped away. I got his license plate, too, which i wrote in the dust on our dashboard. (I wrote down the description too, but later, on paper.)
When the police came--I told them I'd recognize the guy. And to let me know if they needed help. I didn't think they would, but months later I got a call from the DA's office, asking me to come to court and try to point him out. I'd be on the witness stand, he MIGHT be in the audience. (It's called a non-suggestive identification hearing.)
And in that moment I thought--wait a minute. What if that 's puts my life in danger? And I really thought--wow, I don't want to do this. And then I thought--I spend my entire reporter life trying to get people to talk. Now I see why they might not want to. Why they might SAY NO MORE. And then I thought--HA. That's a book.
From the Key West mystery writer extraordinaire LUCY BURDETTE: I'd love to hear about how far ahead you imagine the arc of the relationship with Jane and Jake. And do you hear much about this from readers?
HANK: Oh, Lucy, Booklist said "Boston's smartest and sexiest investigative couple is at it again..." How cool is that? But I have to say--I have no idea. I see only their relationship developing as I write it--I have no "Plans" for them, and I think that's because they're not quite sure either. In book time, they've only been "together" for a year or so, and in real life, that may not enough time for thirty-somethings to make a life decision. Readers love Jake and Jane, and are ...impatient. But they are trying to evolve their relationship carefully. So am I.
From the incredible RHYS BOWEN: So looking forward to this, Hank, and wishing you mega success with it! I know that some of your former novels have literally been ripped from the headlines and taken from cases you have actually worked on. Is this true for SAY NO MORE?
HANK: Thank you! Isn't that such a fascinating concept? Ripped from the headlines? Because we all know how long it takes to write a book, and "ripped from the headlines" is impossible. One reviewer, though, called my books "Investigative thrillers" and I really embrace that label. Because my books are actually ripped from my OWN headlines--which means inspired and informed by my extensive research and experience in investigating certain stories.
SAY NO MORE, like all of my books, is an amalgam of elements from a few of them: coverage of sexual assault on campuses and how colleges respond to those involved--and how it changes the survivors' lives. It's about the conflict law enforcement has when dealing with confidential informants, and the impossible task a person in witness protection has to wipe out their entire past. In each of these situations, there's necessity or a compulsion to keep a secret--to say no more.
From the brilliant JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Boy, the storyline involving campus sexual assault really rings a bell for me. Now Youngest has started college tours, the horror stories that have made it into the news are very much on my mind. What did you find out in your research that you'd like parents and students to know?
HANK: Yeah, it's--terrifying. And anyone with any connection to anyone in college should read this. Truly. One of the main characters is "Tosca," a young woman who is a survivor of a sexual assault on campus. She is so damaged by it--this once bright and out-going opera student now stays in her apartment, taking classes remotely and counting the days until graduation. She also watches out her window over Boston's busy Kenmore Square, keeping track of the young man who raped her: He's out there, happy and social and having a good time. She keeps track of him, too, in a file she labels "Someday. " Someday--what? But she’ll say no more.
What I learned--just briefly? But that's enough: One in five of women students are sexually assaulted on campus. One in five! And some statistics say 90 per cent of those assaults happen during the first week of classes--they call it The Red Zone, because it's such a vulnerable time. And although the stats for sexual assault are so high, about 150 universities are now under investigation by the feds for failing to report the incidents. I mean--no college wants to be tainted as a scary-dangerous place to attend, right? So maybe it's--safer, administrators might think, for colleges to SAY NO MORE.
FEMMES and readers—I am so thrilled with this! Click here for all the info—and where you can
a get a signed book! And oh—look for my schedule, too! (And for Femmes readers only—leave a comment about any aspect of this book and you’ll be entered to win the Hank hardcover backlist book of your choice!)
Love you so much—and now off on the magical mystery tour!