cover image The First to Lie

The First to Lie

Hank Phillippi Ryan. Forge, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-25880-9

In this stellar standalone from five-time Agatha Award winner Ryan (The Murder List), broadcast journalist Elle Berensen relishes her first assignment for Boston’s startup Channel 11—proving that a much touted drug made by the pharmaceutical company Pharminex can make women barren. Elle wants to ferret out the information with facts and ethical journalism, but Meg Weest, her new, overly enthusiastic assistant, is consumed by the story. Lacking scruples, Meg will go to any lengths, including lying, cheating, and violence, to usurp Elle and humiliate the family who own Pharminex. Elle has to wonder whether security agents for Pharminex have uncovered her investigation after her home is broken into and she’s followed a couple of times. Meanwhile, confident Nora Quinn, the drug firm’s newest pharmaceutical sales representative, who visits doctors’ offices and chats with patients in waiting rooms, has her own agenda. The breathlessly energetic plot touches on corporate intrigue, journalism ethics, revenge, and the corrosive nature of lies. Ryan could win a sixth Agatha with this one. Agent: Lisa Gallagher, DeFiore & Co. (Aug.)