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by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Mira, September 2009
288 pages
ISBN: 0778327191

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Charlie McNally gets her usual fluff assignment from her boss: look into the business of knock-offs, specifically knock-offs of high-end purses. The "speaks only in hyperbole" news doctor Susannah Smith-Bagley wants to know just enough about the business to make headlines. Charlie and her producer Franklin want to delve much deeper into the story. As anyone who has read PRIME TIME and FACE TIME knows, Charlie and Franklin can run rings around Susannah, and still keep her pretty happy. They keep it up in AIR TIME.

Charlie is not nearly as good at keeping her boyfriend Josh happy. He's an English professor and not used to the frantic pace Charlie's job seems to require. He's not used to the demands that Charlie's job makes upon her, or to the fact that she feels compelled to do things that place her in danger. This conflict strains their relation almost to the breaking point, as Charlie dons disguises and goes where angels would think twice about treading.

While pursuing leads for the story, Charlie and Franklin have some run-ins with the FBI; one of the agents is someone Charlie knows. Does this make Charlie's life easier or more difficult? It's hard to tell. Charlie perseveres, and gets another amazing story.

Ryan keeps improving as a writer. This third book in the series has Charlie examining herself more, thinking more and more about what she wants from life, and considering her options. This is a big leap from Charlie in PRIME TIME. She still tends to pay less attention to Josh than one might expect, but she's always been very good at compartmentalizing her life. The story Charlie and Franklin are chasing is topical and interesting. The resolution may be a little contrived, but not enough to detract from the story to any real degree. There was one line, early in the book, that seemed to contradict some Economics 101 fundamental. An FBI Agent says, seriously, "Cut off supply, you kill the demand." No, lack of supply drives the price up. Way up. Either the FBI didn't learn squat from Prohibition, or this particular agent is an idiot. You decide.

Reviewed by P.J. Coldren, September 2009

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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