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The First to Lie    by Hank Phillippi Ryan order for
First to Lie
by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Order:  USA  Can
Forge, 2020 (2020)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I found Hank Phillippi Ryan's The First to Lie somewhat different from her usual fare, though just as intricate and with the twists and turns fans have come to expect from this popular author.

The story centers on an investigation into the operations of Pharminex, a company promoting miracle drug Monifan, to help women get pregnant. Pharminex is owned by the wealthy Vanderwalds. Point of view alternates between Nora Quinn and Ellie Berensen. The former is investigative reporter Ellie's undercover identity as a pharmaceutical salesperson. There's also pushy, needy Meg Weest, who somehow gets assigned as Ellie's new assistant at Channel 11, and is also her apartment neighbor.

Ellie seeks evidence that Monifan can cause women to be unable to ever have children, and justice for the women harmed. She does find a woman willing to witness, but a car crash kills her. Another investigator shows up, a lawyer - can Gabriel be trusted? As their investigations progress, the author starts to reveal the back story of Brooke Vanderwald, her teen pregnancy by boyfriend Liam, her love for her brother Trevor - though not for his new wife - and the family tragedy that changed their lives.

There are more deaths, but all is eventually revealed and justice served. The First to Lie is another absorbing puzzler from Hank Phillippi Ryan.

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