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One Wrong Word Bets On...

One Wrong Word

February 2024

I love Arden Ward, the protagonist in Hank Phillippi Ryan’s latest psychological thriller, ONE WRONG WORD. Arden is a crisis manager who has a crisis of her own. Near the beginning of the book, she is told by her boss that the wife of one of their biggest clients thinks that she is having an affair with her husband. Instead of losing the client, Arden loses her job. But before she goes, her boss gives her one last assignment as something of a peace offering.

The new client, Ned Bannister, recently was found not guilty of murder, but his relationship with the rest of the community needs help. His wife, Cordelia, is very concerned that she and her children have lost their station in life, and they must find a way to restore it. Arden has some misgivings about this case, but it beats just boxing up her office and having a goodbye party.

So Arden gets pulled into the Bannisters’ world, where at every moment she sees the challenges of reforming Ned’s image. We watch as she cautions Ned on his behavior. But then something happens that makes her think maybe she is defending the image of the wrong guy. The pace is brisk as we hear from the lawyer who defended Ned; let’s just say that not everyone around him is safe. There’s another accident, and the victim has one word on her lips: “Ned.” But what does that mean? As always, Hank pulls us along as we parse out the clues.

Arden is a terrific character, and I would love to see her in another book.

On February 20th, we will share my interview with Hank. She talks about being fired from a job when she was a teenager, as someone had accused her of doing something wrong. Clearly this scenario played out in her head to inform this book!

One Wrong Word
by Hank Phillippi Ryan