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Prime Time
Charlotte McNally Series, No. 1

by Hank Phillippi Ryan


Charlotte McNally is a 46 year old multiple Emmy Award winning TV investigative reporter on Channel 3 news in Boston.  She must come up with a dynamic story for sweeps week to keep Channel 3 as the most popular Massachusetts TV station.  She is worried about the precarious nature of her profession and whether she would be replaced by a younger woman at half her salary.  She has to come up with a bigger story than ever.

That story comes when she interviews Melanie, wife of Bradley Foreman, employed in the accounting department of Aztra Pharmaceuticals. Bradley was killed when his car went off the road in the rain. Melanie wants the accident investigated, thinking Bradley was involved with something about the company.  Checking emails from Bradley leads Charlie and her producer, Franklin, to several men with whom Bradley was communicating in an effort to track SEC fraud. One of the men is handsome college English professor Josh Gelston, who becomes very helpful, thereby raising Charlie's suspicions.  Several of the men Bradley had contacted die in circumstances suspiciously like Bradley's.  Charlie's investigations result in uncovering a multi-million dollar fraud involving insider trading.  There are more murders before the surprising perpetrators are revealed.

There is a new kid on the block, Charlotte McNally. Not a kid, but a 40-plus year old woman... savvy, resourceful, witty with a sense of humor, at the top of her profession, dedicated to getting the story, and blessed with a capable, likeable staff.   Her relationship with her producer, Franklin, is a perfect working partnership.  And then there is that college professor. Can we hope to read more of their relationship in what has to be another book soon?

Prime Time is a delightful, quick read. The author brings to the book her own impressive experience as an investigative reporter, giving us an insiders' view of the world of TV reporting.  You are drawn into that world as if you are there.

The Book

July 1, 2009
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The Reviewer

Barbara Buhrer
Reviewed 2009
© 2009