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.
Ali 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.
Ali 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.
Two crime victims, one shot and one savagely beaten, are left to die in the desert wastelands of two separate southern Arizona counties. Summoned to the same hospital by calls for help form two different sources, Ali Reynolds and her patient advocate pal, Sister Anselm, where they join forces to see justice is done for both a wrongly accused Border Patrol officer and to a teenage victim of sex trafficking.
In 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.
A brilliant young hacker, Lance Tucker, ends up in Juvie after getting crosswise of a furious school system in San Leandro, TX. While incarcerated, he’s targeted by a drug cartel wanting to gain access to the game changing technology created by the young man and his computer science teacher. With Lance in danger along with his family, Ali Reynolds and B. Simpson ride to the rescue.
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 2001, my daughter, grandson, and I discovered a starving, long-haired miniature dachshund abandoned on a street in our neighborhood. We took her home. Unable lot locate her owners, we named her Bella. Since she was scared of men, including our male dog-sitter, when it came time to go on a book tour she came along and became Bella, the Book Tour Dog. A Last Goodbye is a fictional treatment of what we suspect was Bella’s real story—that of being forced to leave a loving, elderly owner and ending up in the care of someone who actively disliked her. And yes, in case some of my hardback readers missed this one, here’s where you’ll see B. Simpson and Ali Reynolds tie the knot.
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.
This exclusive enovella that has everything you want in a thriller—page-turning action, breathtaking twists and turns, edge-of-your-seat suspense, and…Legos.
“A semi’s gone over the embankment.” The call wakes Sheriff Joanna Brady in the middle of the night, but what brings her fully alert is the rest of the story. The driver didn’t drift off to sleep and cross the center line—he was shot, multiple times, by someone with serious firepower. And when the truck crashed through the guardrail, its payload wound up scattered all over the road—boxes upon boxes of Legos.
Legos that are being tracked by B. Simpson’s security firm to reduce black market sales—and Ali Reynolds is just the woman to get to the bottom of the crime. She has the tech and the intel to follow the money (or, in this case, the Legos), which makes her a valuable asset to Joanna’s team. Soon these two strong women realize that they’re not just sharing a case, they’re kindred spirits—which is paramount, because the killer they’re up against is anything but child’s play.
A bullet-riddled delivery truck is found wrecked wrecked in a dry riverbed in Joanna Brady’s Cochise County. truckload of pirated Lego sets brings together two long running characters, Ali Reynolds and Joanna Brady. Tasked with finding out who is behind a scheme of distributing pirated upscale Lego sets, Joanna joins forces with fellow investigator Ali Reynolds in a history-making story that brings together not only characters from two separate series but also two separate publishers.
Ali Reynolds faces her most controversial mystery yet, solving the murder of a man whose Ponzi scheme bankrupted hundreds of people, and left them seeking justice…or revenge.
When Ali’s parents lose their life savings to a Ponzi scheme, her father goes to confront his long-time friend and financial advisor, only to stumble into the scene of a bloody double homicide. With her father suddenly a prime suspect, Ali and her husband work to clear her father’s name, while at the same time seeking justice for her parents as well as the scheme’s other suddenly impoverished victims, one of whom is a stone cold killer.
All my books contain little pieces of my life. This one has 500,000. When my husband and I were victimized out of a half-million in our retirement fund by a Seattle area Ponzi scheme, I was shocked to see how the bankruptcy attorneys—the ones who were supposedly protecting the investors’ interests--were willing to off load assets on a fire-sale basis for pennies on the dollar, all the while running up legal bills that were paid LONG before the investors received any of their missing moneys. In fact we have yet to receive one thin dime!
As I tell people at my events, it’s a very bad idea to make a mystery writer mad. Clawback is my fictional way of righting some of those wrongs. Of course, any resemblance to people living or dead is purely coincidental!
Sheriff Joanna Brady has a lot on her plate—she is up for re-election as sheriff, pregnant with her third child, and her eldest is packing up to leave for college. Then Joanna is woken in the middle of the night by a call reporting a motor vehicle accident. Her mother and stepfather’s RV ran off the road at high speed and hit the pillar of an overpass.
Something about the accident seems suspicious, though, and when Joanna gets a call from Ali Reynolds, a journalist turned investigator, she accepts her offer to help. They come up with a plan to find out who was responsible…even if that person is not the villain they’d expected.
One of the first songs I learned in Brownies was that old round:
Make new friends but keep the old
One is silver and the other gold.
In No Honor Joanna Brady made a new friend—Ali Reynolds. In Random Acts, when Joanna’s mother and stepfather are involved in a serious motor vehicle accident near Camp Verde, Joanna looks to Ali for help.
Roger McGeary, a brilliant software engineer, has gifted himself with an upscale cruise in honor of his fortieth birthday. When he falls to his death from the balcony of his stateroom suite, the incident is quickly declared a suicide. Only his maiden aunt, a tough-as-nails woman who runs a race horse refuge refuses to take “case closed” for an answer and turns to Ali Reynolds and Stuart Ramey at High Noon Enterprises to look for the truth.
During Stuart Ramey’s troubled childhood, he had only one real friend. Now that friend has apparently committed suicide by going overboard while on a cruise ship. Stu and his employers at High Noon Enterprises, Ali Reynolds and B. Simpson, are called into play when the victim’s aunt insists he was murdered. They soon find themselves pitted against a computer science wizard named Owen Hansen. Using his own personally-created artificial intelligence, Frigg, as Bonnie to his Clyde, Hansen is on track to becoming a serial killer, taking out each of his intended victims by remote control.
After taking down the man responsible for his best friend’s death, Stuart Ramey thinks the case is finally closed. That is, until Stu finds himself left with a multimillion dollar fortune in Bitcoin in a desperate bid by Frigg, a rogue A.I. program created by the killer, to keep itself from being fully deactivated.
To sort out his situation and take Frigg down for good, Stu enlists the help of Ali Reynolds and the rest of his cyber security colleagues at High Noon Enterprises. But they are not the only ones who know about Frigg’s existence..
Owen Hansen is dead but his creation, and supposedly so is his AI sidekick Frigg. Unfortunately as Hansen became more and more unstable, the wily AI embarked on a path to self-preservation by creating a tangle of financial arrangements that have placed Frigg in the care and keeping of Stuart Ramey. As Stu tries to extricate himself he finds himself at odds with someone else—a very dangerous someone else—who also wants to take possession of Frigg in what can only lead to a duel to the death.
More than ten years after the abrupt end of her high-profile broadcasting career, Ali Reynolds has made a good life for herself in her hometown of Sedona, Arizona. She has a new house, a new husband, and a flourishing cybersecurity company called High Noon Enterprises, where her team of veritable technological wizards hunts down criminals one case at a time.
But the death of an old friend brings Ali back to the last story she ever reported: a feel-good human interest piece about a young man in need of a kidney to save his life, which quickly spiraled into a medical mismanagement scandal that landed a prestigious local doctor in prison for murder.
Years may have passed, but Dr. Edward Gilchrist has not forgotten those responsible for his downfall—certainly not Ali Reynolds, who exposed his dirty deeds to the world. Life without parole won’t stop him from getting his revenge. Tattooed on his arm are the initials of those who put him behind bars, and he won’t stop until every person on that Annihilation List is dead.
Years after making use of a fertility clinic in order to conceive children, several friends, including one of Ali Reynolds’s acquaintances, discovers that the sperm and egg donors they used were not as advertised. The doctor involved along with his wife had donated the material themselves and now as instance of kidney disease appear among these half-siblings, Ali Reynolds comes into play as she finds herself pitted against a determined opponent, a mother seeking revenge against those she feels wronged her son by sending him to prison.
Ali Reynolds and her team at High Noon Enterprises must race against the clock to save an archbishop who faces mysterious death threats in yet another “incredible” (Suspense Magazine) installment of J.A. Jance’s New York Times bestselling series.
Years after her son’s fatal overdose, grieving mother Rachel Higgins learns that his addiction may have grown out of damage suffered at the hands of a pedophile priest while he was in high school. Looking for vengeance, she targets the Catholic Church’s most visible local figure, Archbishop Francis Gillespie. When the archbishop begins receiving anonymous threats, local police dismiss them, saying they’re not credible. So he turns to his friends, Ali Reynolds and her husband, B. Simpson.
With B. out of the country on a cybersecurity emergency, it’s up to Ali to track down the source of the threats. When a shooter assassinates the archbishop’s driver and leaves the priest himself severely injured, Ali forms an uneasy alliance with a Phoenix homicide cop in hopes of preventing another attack. But Ali doesn’t realize that the killer has become not only more unhinged but also more determined to take out his or her target.
Archbishop Francis Gillespie has been receiving handwritten death threats for months. When no one in the Phoenix Police Department is prepared to take them seriously, he turns to someone who will. Here we meet Rachel, and ordinary woman who has lost everything in the aftermath of her son’s suicide by drug overdose. Holding the Catholic Church responsible for what happened to a child, she takes aim at the church’s most visible local target—the archbishop who turns to Ali Reynolds and B. Simpson for help.
Mateo Vega, a one-time employee of Ali Reynold’s husband, B. Simpson, has spent the last sixteen years of his life behind bars. According to the courts, he murdered his girlfriend. But Mateo knows that her real killer is still on the loose, and the first thing he’s going to do when he gets a taste of freedom is track him down.
After being granted parole, a wary Mateo approaches Stu Ramey of High Noon Enterprises for a reference letter for a job application, but to his surprise, Stu gives him one better: He asks him to come on board and work for B. once again. Just as Mateo starts his new job, though, chaos breaks out at High Noon—a deadbeat tenant who is in arrears has just fled, and tech expert Cami Lee has gone missing.
As Ali races to both find a connection between the two disappearances and help Mateo clear his name with the help of PI J.P. Beaumont, tragedy strikes in her personal life with lives hanging in the balance.
I write murder mysteries. When Unfinished Business started out with a brutal, decades old murder committed in the wilds of Montana, I wondered where I was going with that. (No, I don’t do outlines.). The next character I met was a convicted killer named Mateo Vega, in a Washington State correctional facility. I encountered him for the first time on the day before he was to be paroled after serving sixteen years for second degree homicide. Wait a minute. Wasn’t I supposed to be writing an Ali Reynolds book? Aren’t they set in Arizona?
Finally Ali and her pals at High Noon Enterprises showed up. And what do you know? Business is booming, and they’re on a hiring spree. It turns out that paroled guy now living in Seattle worked for B. Simpson, Ali’s husband, when he was running another tech company long before he and Ali met. Although Mateo had confessed to second degree homicide in order to avoid the death penalty, he had maintained his innocence ever since. Finding out for sure called for a cold case investigation into his conviction, and that was when I finally made the connection. I just happen to know of someone in Seattle, a retired homicide cop named J.P. Beaumont, who’s been working with a volunteer cold case squad.
There was a problem, though—a serious problem. I have two publishers. The Beaumont, Brady, and Walker Family books and characters are handled by HarperCollins. Ali Reynolds books belong to Simon and Schuster. It’s the publishing world's equivalent of Romeo and Juliet’s Montagues and Capulets. Eventually I was able to negotiate a peace treaty between them, and Beau shows up in all his first-person glory to make an important contribution to the story.
People new to my books may be shocked when the old guy, a stranger to them, sticks his nose into the story; longtime readers will be surprised and happy to see him. I know I was.
Edge of Evil
Web of Evil
Hand of Evil
Trial by Fire
Left for Dead
A Last Goodbye
No Honor Among Thieves
Duel to the Death
The A List
© 2015 J.A. JANCE