For this week's story on Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn (page 89), Mike, 33, stayed closer to home than usual. A Harvard grad, Ryan first met Flynn in 1974 when he was covering the school busing crisis for the Boston Phoenix and the future mayor was a state representative. "He's older and more forceful now," says Ryan. "But we're both 10 years older."
Winner of the prestigious Penney-Missouri Magazine Award in 1979 for a profile of Mayor Flynn's predecessor, Kevin White, Ryan has taken on a variety of assignments since he joined PEOPLE five years ago. Last spring he accompanied Walter Ehlers, a World War II veteran, to Normandy to relive the experience of his landing 40 years earlier. "Ehlers was like a character out of a Frank Capra movie," says Mike. "He was too good to be true—a Medal of Honor holder with a genuine belief in patriotism and duty. I don't often meet people that I'm incapable of being cynical about."
Ryan was also among the first reporters to get into Grenada last year, when the Reagan Administration staged its lightning invasion there, but his journey was not without a struggle. "I screamed and yelled for three days to get aboard a plane from Barbados," he recalls. "When I got on, there was just one seat. I couldn't take a photographer, so I took pictures myself. When we were shot at by guerrilla mortar, the Army put us in a dump. I think they were trying to tell us something."
More recently, he spent several months crisscrossing the country reporting the long-running John De Lorean story. "I remember sitting in Howard Weitzman's office," he says of De Lorean's lawyer, "and having this guy tell me that he was going to get his client acquitted, I thought he was either in dreamland or a genius."
Mike lives with his wife, Debora Gilbert Ryan, 33, an artist, in Manhattan. Whenever they can, they escape to their beachhouse in North Carolina, where Mike is working on a novel. His first book, Climbing (1980), was a social satire that presaged the whole Yuppie movement. How well did it sell? "The usual," Ryan says wryly. "It got great reviews—and boxloads of returned copies."