“Shocking, suspenseful, with clever twists and an abundance of secrets.” — B. A. Paris, internationally bestselling author

— ∞ —

“A mesmerizing thrill ride.” — Kimberly Belle, internationally bestselling author

— ∞ —

Hank Phillippi Ryan has long lived in a double spotlight: that of an award-winning, bestselling author and that of an Emmy-award-winning Boston TV journalist. While she’s written many novels with protagonists in the journalism trade, her latest thriller, Her Perfect Life (Forge Books), hones that particular spotlight into a psychological laser beam.

Local television investigative journalist Lily Atwood must be perfect at all times. Well, at least that’s what she projects for her viewers. To them, she’s the total package — “The single-mom, career-woman, gorgeous, smart, having-it-all perfect package.” They’ve even given her the hashtag #PerfectLily. It’s a lot to live up to.

We soon discover, though, that such perfection, no matter how carefully maintained, is only an illusion and that living in the spotlight can be the most dangerous place to be.


Lily may be successful at staging a perfect life on the outside, but she harbors some carefully guarded secrets within. Her older sister Cassie vanished from college when Lily was seven years old. It is a defining moment in her life: “All Lily knew was that things could be taken away from you, any second of any moment of any day. Things — and people you loved — could disappear … Every single thing we do, every single decision we make, opens one door and closes others.”

But Lily has never told anyone about Cassie; it would ruin her idyllic façade — though she’s never stopped searching for her.

Nowadays, Lily’s seven-year-old daughter, Rowen, is the most important person in her life. The product of a relationship with a married man, Rowen doesn’t know who her dad is and Lily’s going to keep it that way, determined to protect her daughter from anything that might tarnish their golden life. Secret number two.

But for all of Lily’s fans, not everyone thinks she’s so great. Greer Whitfield, Lily’s news producer, knows that if it wasn’t for her endless hours organizing the reporter’s packed schedule, Lily’s life would be a mess. But Lily never gives her credit for it. What bothers Greer even more? Although Greer gives her entire life to her job supporting the famed news anchor, Lily doesn’t care to get to know her on a personal level. Lily has no idea that Greer’s social life is nonexistent — she has no time for it. No one and nothing there to draw her attention away from Lily and her needs.

So when one of Lily’s most important informants, known only as Mr. Smith, starts revealing that he knows information about Lily she’d rather keep secret, Greer is all too eager to know more. When Lily realizes that her life is now under investigation, she’s determined not to let her guise of perfection unravel.


The chapters alternate between Lily and Greer in the present, and Cassie 20-odd years earlier. When their stories eventually cross paths, it will surprise readers to learn the true nature of the investigation into Lily’s life. And we learn that regardless of how much we may plan and construct our personal narratives, there is no such thing as a perfect life. 

Even though public figures like Lily know they’re always under constant scrutiny, it’s disturbing when one of the public infiltrates their personal space. “Fame … had two conflicting sides,” Lily observes. “The glory. And the danger. The power. And the spotlight. The raging relentless spotlight.”

Ryan knows what it’s like to constantly be in the spotlight and always ready for the camera, especially in today’s world where that camera may be on every person’s cell phone. “That’s what crystallized Her Perfect Life,” she says. “How do you keep a secret when the spotlight is always on you? What happens when the spotlight focuses on your family? And what if the spotlight is the most dangerous place of all?”


“The First to Lie” Is a Whodunit That Twists on a Complicated Axis of Lies and Secrets

Hank Phillippi Ryan: Let’s Go Undercover and Ponder Identity

Thriller Fans Will Be Legally Fond of “The Murder List”

An Investigation at a Boston College Turns Deadly

Buy this book!

Hank Phillippi Ryan is the USA Today bestselling author of 13 thrillers, winning the most prestigious awards in the genre: five Agathas, four Anthonys, and the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. She is also on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s WHDH-TV, with 37 Emmys and dozens more journalism honors. Book critics call her “a master of suspense,” “a superb and gifted storyteller,” and she’s the only author to have won the Agatha in four different categories: Best First, Best Novel, Best Short Story and Best Non-Fiction. Her 2019 standalone, The Murder List, won the Anthony Award for Best Novel. International bestseller A.J. Finn says, “exciting, explosive, relentless,” and the Library Journal starred review calls it “A must-read.” Hank’s 2020 novel is the chilling psychological standalone The First to Lie,  nominated for both the prestigious Anthony Award for Best Novel and Mary Higgins Clark Award. The Publishers Weekly starred review says “Stellar…Ryan could win a sixth Agatha,” and bestseller Sarah Pekkanen says “Book clubs will gobble it up.” Her Perfect Life received starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, which called it “A superlative thriller.”

Hank is a founder of MWA University and The Back Room; and National Sisters in Crime past president.