With a divorce from her cheating husband of ten years also pending, there is nothing keeping her in L.A. any longer. Cut loose from her moorings, Ali is summoned back home to Sedona, Arizona, by the death of a childhood friend. Once there she seeks solace in the comforting rhythms of her parents' diner, the Sugarloaf Café, and launches an on-line blog as therapy for others who have been similarly cut loose.
But when threatening posts begin appearing, Ali finds out that running a blog is far more up-close and personal than sitting behind a news desk. And far more dangerous. Suddenly something dark and deadly is swirling around her life . . . and a killer may be hunting her next.
When my publisher gave me permission to write about a new character, I was plunged into a severe case of writer's block. I was in Tucson, dealing with writer's block in my customary way by compulsively watching the news. One afternoon my favorite Tucson newscaster, Patti Weiss, was MIA from the afternoon news. The word soon leaked out that the new thirty-something news director had decided that at age 53 Patti had reached her pull-by date, and she was gone. And that's when ex-newscaster Ali Reynolds appeared on my fictional horizon.
The highway from Los Angeles to the Palm Springs desert is parched, unforgiving, and deadly. In the suffocating stillness of a car trunk, a man -- his mouth and hands bound with tape -- awaits his fate. What possible enemy could be bitter enough to commit such a heinous crime? And when will the monster make another move?
Ali Reynolds is traveling that same blistering, lonesome highway, looking forward to putting her past behind her. But her cheating husband is in a hurry for a divorce, and the television network who wrongfully dismissed Ali for the sole sin of being over forty will face her in court as well. So Ali must return to the scene of these crimes. As she passes the site of a horrifying accident, she thanks goodness it's no longer her job to report the news. Until she finds out the news is her own....For the victim is Ali's cheating husband, and soon she'll find herself the prime suspect at the center of a terrifying web of evil.
Sometimes the secrets that emerge AFTER a divorce are far more devastating than the ones that come to light BEFORE the divorce. That's the case here. Don't ask me how I know.
With his hand trapped in the door of a speeding car, a man struggles to remain upright as he's dragged along a deserted stretch of San Juan Road in Phoenix's South Mountain Preserve. It's the perfect place to drive a man to his grave -- literally. Starting with a crime so gruesome even prowling coyotes keep their distance from the remains, a killer begins crisscrossing the Southwest on a spree of grisly murders.
A hundred miles away, Ali Reynolds is grieving. The newscasting job she once delighted in is gone and so is the philandering husband she loved and thought she knew. When a member of the family who gave Ali a generous scholarship for her education decades earlier suddenly asks her for a meeting, Ali wonders what it can mean. Before she can satisfy her curiosity, though, Ali receives another startling call: a friend's teenage daughter has disappeared. Ali offers to help, but in doing so, she unknowingly begins a quest that will reveal a deadly ring of secrets, at the heart of which lie two undiscriminating killers....
Will Ali become a victim herself, or will she escape from a deadly deceit that no amount of security -- financial or emotional -- can cover up?
As a high school senior, I was given a scholarship that made it possible for me to be the first person in my family to attend a four-year college. The scholarship program Ali is pulled into administering in this book is here because scholarships change lives.
Ex–television journalist Ali Reynolds just wants a break from excitement to remodel her new home. But when the savagely murdered body of stay-at-home mom Morgan Forester is found, Ali’s contractor Bryan is the prime suspect. Bryan swears he has nothing to do with his wife’s murder—but as the investigation progresses, Ali seems to be the only person who believes him. Determined to prove Bryan’s innocence, she logs onto singleatheart.com, a dating site for "married singles," and unknowingly lands herself directly in the path of a calculating killer. Ali races to decode the actions of a vengeful computer hacker . . . before he uses his wicked website to find her.
When people of a certain age find themselves back in the dating game, it's only to be expected that they turn to some of the Internet dating sites. Some of those Internet-based romances work out; others don't. Sometimes the ones that don't make for the best stories. And it's no accident that Ali is remodeling a house in this book. Bill and I have been married for 27 years. We started our first live-in remodel when we had been married less than a month. We're currently doing at work on home-remodeling project # 7, this one due to having had 80,000 gallons of water leak into the master bathroom and crawlspace while we were out of town. When it comes to remodeling projects, I happen know whereof I speak.
Pulled naked and barely breathing from the fire, the victim has no idea who she is, let alone who would do this to her—or why. In her hospital bed she drifts in and out of consciousness, her only means of communicating a blink of the eye. And then an angel appears. Known around town as the “Angel of Death,” Sister Anselm has devoted her life to working as an advocate for unidentified patients. To her burn patient, she is a savior. But to this Jane Doe’s would-be killer, Sister Anselm’s efforts pose a serious threat.
Ali Reynolds is on the scene as the new media relations consultant for the Yavapai County Police Department, keeping reporters at bay and circumventing questions about arson and a link to a domestic terrorist group called Earth Liberation Front. But her job quickly becomes much more. As Ali struggles to help Sister Anselm uncover the helpless woman’s identity, they realize that by locating the missing relatives they may be exposing the victim once more to a remorseless killer determined to finish the job. Faced with the possibility of putting all three of their lives in jeopardy, Ali fearlessly pursues justice—and what she discovers is a secret even darker and more twisted than she ever could have imagined.
On a Rick Steves’ Europe through the Back Door tour a number of years ago, we visited the Normandy Beaches and the US cemetery there. As we were leaving the cemetery, one of our fellow tourists asked, "Aren't we going to go visit the German cemetery?" It turns out, we weren't. That night, she told us her story--how during World War II her father, a recent immigrant from Germany, was first imprisoned in Milwaukee and then later sent to a war relocation center in Texas where his American-born wife and daughters were allowed to join him only if they surrendered their US citizenship. When the father died in the course of a prisoner of war exchange, his widow and two daughters were left stranded in war-torn Europe as displaced persons. I used what I learned from my fellow traveler's story to create the background for Sister Anselm, a crime-fighting nun who makes her first appearance in this book and who has since has become Ali's best friend and one of my favorite characters.
BUY NOWAli Reynolds begins the summer thinking her most difficult challenge will be surviving a six-week- long course as the lone forty-something female at the Arizona Police Academy—not to mention taking over the 6:00 AM shift at her family’s restaurant while her parents enjoy a long overdue Caribbean cruise. However, when Brenda Riley, a colleague from Ali’s old news broadcasting days in California, shows up in town with an alcohol problem and an unlikely story about a missing fiancé, Ali reluctantly agrees to help.
The man posing as Brenda’s fiancé is revealed to be Richard Lowensdale, a cyber-sociopath who has left a trail of broken hearts in his virtual wake. When he is viciously murdered, the women he once victimized are considered suspects. The police soon focus their investigation on Brenda, who is already known to have broken into Richard’s home and computer before vanishing without a trace. Attempting to clear her friend’s name, Ali is quickly drawn into a web of online intrigue that may lead to a real-world fatal error.
At dinner one night, a broken-hearted friend told Bill and me the details of her still current but troubled romance. A man had waltzed into her life over the Internet where he had plied her with sweet nothings and empty promises. When she told us that they had become engaged without her actually laying eyes on the guy, Bill and I were both aghast. When she decided maybe she ought to meet him in the flesh, he suddenly discovered one reason after another for canceling their dates. The third time that happened, she hired a private eye who had no trouble unmasking the fact that the guy was also cyber-romancing four OTHER fiancés. You think the bad guy, the cyberpath, in this book dies a grisly death? You bet he did, and he had it coming, too.
BUY NOWAli Reynolds investigates two shocking cases of victims brutally left for dead in New York Times bestselling J.A. Jance’s latest mystery-thriller. When Santa Cruz County deputy sheriff Jose Reyes, Ali’s classmate from the Arizona Police Academy, is gunned down and left to die, he is at first assumed to be an innocent victim of the drug wars escalating across the border. But the crime scene investigation shows there’s much more to it than that, and soon he and his pregnant wife, Teresa, both fall under suspicion of wrongdoing.
Ali owes Reyes a debt of gratitude for the help he gave her years earlier when she was dealing with a troubled friend. When she’s summoned to his bedside at Physicians Medical Center in Tucson, it’s impossible for her to turn away. And knowing Reyes as well as she does, Ali finds it hard to believe that he’s become mixed up in the drug trade, despite evidence to the contrary. Upon arriving at the hospital, Ali finds that her good friend, Sister Anselm, is there, too—working as a patient advocate on behalf of another seriously injured victim, an unidentified young woman presumed to be an illegal border crosser, who was raped and savagely beaten.
Ali becomes determined to seek justice in both cases and secure safety for both victims. Together with Sister Anselm and a conscientious officer who won’t let the case drop despite pressure from above, Ali digs for clues to find the true culprits.
BUY NOWIn Deadly Stakes, police academy-trained former reporter Ali Reynolds is contacted to investigate the grisly murder of a gold-digging divorcee on behalf of a woman accused of the crime. Lynn Martinson is dating the dead woman’s ex-husband, and she and her boyfriend Chip Ralston have been charged.
Ali is simultaneously drawn to the case of A.J. Sanders, a frightened teen with secrets of his own. He’s the first to find the body in the Camp Verde desert when he goes to retrieve a mysterious buried box hidden by his absent father—a box that turns out to be filled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in poker chips.
When the body of an ex-con is discovered near the first crime scene, Ali struggles to determine if A.J. and Lynn’s cases are related. Though her friends in the police department grow increasingly irritated by her involvement with the cases, Ali must stop a deadly killer from claiming another victim…before she herself is lost in this game of deadly stakes.
Sometimes when I'm writing a book, I'll write my way into a wall and won't be able to get around it. That happened in this book. I wrote my way up to a certain point and couldn't move beyond it. I took three separate cracks at it and still couldn't get through. Finally I turned to Bill, the engineer, and asked him for help. Bill is a wise man. He doesn't offer help until he's asked for it. In this instance he said, "Why don't you do it the easy way?" And so I did.
In this high-stakes thriller from New York Times bestselling author J.A. Jance, Ali Reynolds spans continents to solve a cold case murder and to figure out who wants a young juvenile offender dead.
Lance Tucker, an incarcerated juvenile offender and talented hacker in his own right, is set on fire one night and severely burned while hanging Christmas decorations in a lockup rec room. B. Simpson, Ali Reynolds’s fiancé and the man who helped put Lance in jail, feels obliged to get to the bottom of what happened. With Ali off in England to help Leland Brooks at a reunion with his long-estranged family, B. turns to someone else to help out—Ali’s good friend and Taser-carrying nun, Sister Anselm.
Meanwhile, in Bournemouth—Leland’s hometown—Ali begins to investigate the decades-old murder of Leland’s father, which Leland himself was once suspected of committing. With unsolved murders on both sides of the Atlantic, Ali, B., and Sister Anselm are united by their search for answers—and the jeopardy they get into as a result.
Ali Reynolds is finally getting married to her longtime love B. Simpson. They wanted a simple Christmas Eve wedding, but nothing is ever simple with Ali. Even as a motley crew of her friends—Leland Brooks, Sister Anselm, and others—descend on Vegas, the bride-to-be finds herself juggling last-minute wedding plans and a mystery in the form of a stray miniature dachshund. Ali’s grandson rescues the little dog, but Ali’s not in the market for a new pet right before her honeymoon, and leaves no stone unturned in hunting for the dog’s owner. But what she finds is more than just a shaggy dog story…Bella’s elderly owner has vanished, and her son seems to be behind it. So it’s Ali and B. to the rescue—and still making it to the church on time!
In 2010, in the middle of October, a seven pound bundle of joy and trouble came into our lives, and I’m NOT talking about a new grandchild. Our new arrival was an aging and abandoned long-haired miniature Dachshund whom we named Bella. Bella was a complete stranger when she arrived in our midst, and I’m sure she thought we were uncommonly stupid since we weren’t smart enough to even call her by name. She knew her name. We didn’t. In the course of the last four years, we’ve pieced together bits of her history, and it’s that history that’s woven into my Ali Reynolds novella, A Last Goodbye.
Ali Reynolds’s longtime friend and Taser-carrying nun, Sister Anselm, rushes to the bedside of a young pregnant woman hospitalized for severe injuries after she was hit by a car on a deserted Arizona highway. The girl had been running away from The Family, a polygamous cult with no patience for those who try to leave its ranks. Something about her strikes a chord in Sister Anselm, reminding her of a case she worked years before when another young girl wasn’t so lucky.
Meanwhile, married life agrees with Ali. But any hopes that she and her husband, B. Simpson, will finally slow down and relax now that they’ve tied the knot are dashed when Ali’s new daughter-in-law approaches her, desperate for help. The girl’s grandmother, Betsy, is in danger: she’s been receiving anonymous threats, and someone even broke into her home and turned on the gas burners in the middle of the night. But the local police think the elderly woman’s just not as sharp as she used to be.
While Ali struggles to find a way to protect Betsy before it’s too late, Sister Anselm needs her help as well, and the two race the clock to uncover the secrets that The Family has hidden for so long—before someone comes back to bury them forever.
When I was a girl growing up in Bisbee, Arizona, the National Guard’s raid on a group of practicing polygamists in Colorado City was big news. Since then, a whole new group of polygamous sects have gravitated to that remote part of the state, known as the Arizona Strip. Far from effective law enforcement oversight, victimized women and children who want out their situations have few resources to help them. Cold Betrayal focuses on an entirely fictional group. Unfortunately, there are places in this world where real women and children are treated in an all too similar fashion. In the story Ali is forced to choose between the consequences of doing something about this and of not doing something. On a much larger scale, we’re all in that same boat.
Edge of Evil
Web of Evil
Hand of Evil
Trial by Fire
Left for Dead
A Last Goodbye
PUBLISHER J.A. Jance PAGES
SHORT STORIES & INDIE BOOKSTORES