Prime Time and Face Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan.
Hank Phillippi Ryan was kind enough to send me a signed copy of Face Time (the second book in the Charlotte McNally series), which meant that I had to purchase a copy of Prime Time and read it first.
I enjoyed the first book so much that I had to read the second immediately, which is why I'm writing a joint review.
Prime Time introduces us to Charlotte "Charlie" McNally, an award-winning investigative reporter for Boston's (fictitious) Channel 3 news. In her mid-forties, Charlie worries that she's too old to be on camera and expects to be replaced by the Latest Young Thing at any moment, and goes to the office early to try to come up with a big story.
However, when the LYT doesn't appear to read a morning newsbreak, Charlie is asked to fill in, and one of the stories she teases captures her attention. The story is about a man named Bradley Foreman who was killed an a car accident. Foreman worked for a company called Aztratech, which is what alerts Charlie, and she considers it good luck when she is required to interview Foreman's widow in place of the missing LYT.
The widow, Melanie Foreman, tells Charlie about an email that her late husband had supposedly sent the reporter before his death. Charlie's pretty sure she didn't receive it, but checks again when she gets back to her desk, and finds one that was sent anonymously but had to be from Foreman.
Digging into the questions raised by the email provides Charlie with the Big Story she's been looking for, and her investigation leads her to an attractive professor named Josh Gelston, who immediately invites her to one of his drama class productions. At first Charlie is smitten, but some incidents occur that her suspicious self thinks are curious, and she backs off, while still hoping that he is genuine.
In Face Time, Charlie and her producer Franklin have to deal with hot-shot new news director Susannah Smith-Bagley, who is pushing them to get a scoop for sweeps month. She's a little distracted because her mother is in hospital, her best friend just found out she's pregnant, and her boyfriend wants her to vacation with him and his 9-year-old daughter, but she's sure she can handle all that AND look into the story of a woman who may have been wrongly imprisoned for the murder of her husband 3 years earlier. The investigation is hampered by the fact that Dorinda Sweeney, the convicted woman, refuses to see or speak with Charlie. As a result, Charlie and Franklin are forced to conduct their research in a very roundabout way, which ends up putting both of them in jeopardy.
Both books are gripping reads and I stayed up reading until my eyes couldn't stay open a few nights in a row. I'm looking forward to the third book in the series, Air Time, which was released September 1st, and which I don't have yet. But that's okay, because I really need to catch up on my sleep.