Sunday, January 11, 2009
Book Look Review "Cruel Intent"
An Ali Reynolds Mystery
The fourth installment in the Ali Reynolds murder mysteries by J.A. Jance is a good one. It is an I-know-who-done-it, as opposed to a who-done-it so you guys who read the ending of a book first will love it. I cannot believe people actually turn to the ending to make sure they will like a book! What is the point of reading a mystery if the mystery is solved for you at the very beginning? I don’t get it.
J.A. Jance is a prolific writer with her popular Joanna Brady, J.P. Beaumont and Ali Reynolds series. The Ali Reynolds books have changed location since the now retired newscaster has moved back to her hometown of Sedona Arizona. In the middle of the restoration of her dream home, Ali’s contractor Bryan Forester is accused of the brutal murder of his wife. Of course we know Bryan didn’t do it because the author already told us at the beginning it was the psycho emergency room MD. But Ali knows he is innocent because she is a great judge of character. And she is smarter than the cops. And she has a hunch. So she solves the crime.
The murder victim was targeted by Dr. Death because she signed up on a dating website he set up to lure married women. These married women were looking for an affair to ease the boredom of suburbia but were unaware of the real danger. Unfortunately, a killer was choosing his deserving adulterous victims from the website. The very real danger of internet predators makes the plot even more sinister. Ali discovers that the website is the key to solving the case and she signs up to catch the ruthless murderer. It turns out to be a dangerous decision with near fatal results.
The side characters are sometimes more interesting in this novel than the main characters. I became fond of the butler Leland – I wouldn’t mind having a butler like Leland. He is immediately likeable and becomes more interesting as the plot thickens. And I really like Ali’s mom. She will remind you of people you know that bring you casseroles when you are sick or someone has died. She believes a good tuna casserole can save the day. In fact she turns out to be more than just a good cook and really does serve up a rescue. Oh oops, now you know the ending. Of course if you are the type of reader who prefers it that way you will enjoy this latest J.A. Jance murder but not mystery book.