Review: The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Right from the start this book sounded edgy and different. I haven’t read anything by Hank Phillippi Ryan before, but I liked that the main character in this book sounded like she had her shit together but yet it might all be a lie.

I have been having quite a bit of luck with thrillers this summer but I was looking for something with a little more suspense rather than the thrills and chills of a psychological thriller and this book sounded like it would fit the bill. I mean it does have ‘a novel of suspense’ in its formal title on Goodreads!

Eager to read this one, I started it one afternoon and flew through it in a few days time! If you love interesting and suspenseful legal mysteries then you will probably devour this one as quickly as I did!


Law student Rachel North will tell you, without hesitation, what she knows to be true. She’s smart, she’s a hard worker, she does the right thing, she’s successfully married to a faithful and devoted husband, a lion of Boston’s defense bar, and her internship with the Boston DA’s office is her ticket to a successful future.

Problem is–she’s wrong.

And in this cat and mouse game–the battle for justice becomes a battle for survival.

The Murder List is a new standalone suspense novel in the tradition of Lisa Scottoline and B. A. Paris from award-winning author and reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan (summary from Goodreads)


This title implies that this book is about a list of people that a killer wants to murder, but it’s actually a list of attorneys that take on murder cases. Initially I thought it was the former, and was surprised to see that this book was more focuses on the legal drama—very much in the vein of classic courtroom dramas like Law and Order. This was obviously a surprise for me, but a welcome one for sure!

I loved how the author details the mystery, characters, and the legal aspects without making anything boring or over the top. This book had a lot of twists and character development which I felt was balanced nicely throughout the story which kept everything moving along. What you ended up with was a well constructed mystery that had lots to enjoy with memorable, realistic characters.

While I thought the characters (Rachel and Jack) were fully realized, I didn’t necessarily trust them which kept me on my toes throughout the book. I love when the characters have something to hide because it really puts the reader on edge and creates this sense of distrust throughout the book and you begin to wonder on such a more personal level who you believe and who you don’t. Unreliable narrators and characters truly make suspense and thriller books so much more unsettling for readers and I absolutely love it!

This book was a shot in the dark for me since I haven’t read anything by her before, but it hit the mark! I loved this book and was thrilled to find another suspense writer that I could spend an afternoon reading. Her writing is superior and the story engaging, interesting, and had so many twists and turns that by the end I wasn’t sure what to think! Well done and I think this book is worth a read for any fans of suspense or thrillers!

Book Info and Rating

Kindle Edition, ARC – Kindle Edition
Edition Language
Free review copy provided by author/publisher, Forge in partnership with Tall Poppy Writers/Bloggers, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: suspense, thriller


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