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Ryan is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana. She attended Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio and also studied abroad at the International School in Hamburg, Germany. Her first job in broadcasting was in 1971 as reporter for WIBC radio, then after a stint as a legislative assistant in Washington DC for the Administrative Practice and Procedure Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, she became an editorial assistant at Rolling Stone Magazine's Washington Bureau.
She joined WTHR-TV in Indianapolis as political reporter in 1975, then WSB-TV in Atlanta in 1976 as political reporter and weekend anchor. Ryan joined WHDH-TV in 1983 as a general assignment reporter and . In 1989, she was named principal reporter for the station's investigative unit. Ryan has won 28 Emmy Awards and 12 Edward R. Murrow Awards for her investigative and consumer reporting.
Her first published novel, Prime Time won the Agatha Award for best new mystery of 2007. Her follow-up mystery, Face Time, was published in 2008 (and re-issued in 2009) and was a Book Sense Notable Book. Both books feature Boston investigative reporter Charlotte "Charlie" McNally and are published by MIRA Books.
Air Time (MIRA/Sept 2009), the third in the series, was an Agatha Award nominee for Best Mystery of 2009, as well as a 2010 Anthony Award nominee for Best Paperback Mystery. The fourth in the series, Drive Time (MIRA/Feb 2010), received a starred review from Library Journal, saying it "places Ryan in the same league as Lisa Scottoline". It also received a nomination for "Best Paperback original" at the 2011 Anthony Awards.
Ryan's short story "On the House" (QUARRY, 2009) won the Agatha Award, Anthony Award and Macavity Award for Best Short Story. Her essay "Masquerade" appears in the ITW anthology "Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads".
Her newest series of thrillers begins with the best-selling THE OTHER WOMAN (Forge/ Sept 2012.) It won the Mary Higgins Clark award, and was nominated for the Anthony, Agatha, Daphne, Shamus and Macavity awards. It is an Indie Next GREAT READ, chosen as a Best Book of 2012 by Suspense Magazine, and an RTBR Reviewers Choice nominee for Best Mystery/Suspense novel of 2012.
Her newest thriller, THE WRONG GIRL (Forge/2013), now a Boston Globe bestseller.
Her website is http://www.HankPhillippiRyan.com
Ryan lives with her husband in suburban Boston.