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TV reporter sleuths out campus crimes in 'Say No More'

Sun Sentinel Correspondent

'Say No More' By Hank Phillippi Ryan. Forge, 384 pages, $25.99

Jane Ryland knows each story has two sides. She thrives on balanced, objective reporting, not the sensational sound bites that her Boston TV station wants. In Hank Phillippi Ryan's well-plotted "Say No More," Jane's assignment is to report on sexual assault on campuses.

Ryan's fifth novel in this superb series deftly explores the importance of journalism ethics, the increase of sexual assaults on campuses and how many colleges neglect to report those attacks to the police. "Say No More" also is a story about how a community comes together and how, even in a metro area such as Boston, people form bonds, around work, living arrangements or interests. Ryan skillfully intersects several separate plotlines for a suspenseful story.

Jane and her producer are on their way to an interview at Adams Bay College when she witnesses a luxury car hit a food delivery van, and then speed off. The van's driver is OK, but dazed. Ever the investigative journalist, Jane reports the license plate number to the police.

Jane's story on sexual attacks takes an unusual path when she is able to earn the trust of a victim who has become a near shut-in since her attack. The young woman's story — and that of other victims — suggests that the college is keeping the number of attacks quiet.

Meanwhile, homicide detective Jake Brogan — and Jane's love interest — investigates the death of Avery Morgan, an adjunct professor at Adams Bay.

Ryan realistically allows Jane's reporting, along with the hit-and-run accident, to intersect with Jake's investigation into Avery's death, as well as a separate case on a local crime family. Ryan smoothly incorporates the different plot tendrils into a brisk, suspenseful story with realistic twists. Ryan also expertly juggles the relationship between Jane and Jake who are deeply in love yet also are consummate professionals who do not want to jeopardize their careers. They acknowledge there's a "hard line between journalism and law enforcement."

Ryan's award-winning novels about Jane Ryland are a standout, but "Say No More" is an especially strong entry in this series.

Oline H. Cogdill can be reached at olinecog@aol.com.

Meet the author

Hank Phillippi Ryan will discuss "Say No More" at 7 p.m. Nov. 2 at Murder on the Beach, 273 Pineapple Grove Way, Delray Beach, 561-279-7790

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