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.
Hand of Evil is Jance at her best; weaving a masterful story of suspense that travels over generations, revealing two very different women with the same horrifying secret. 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?
©2007 J. A. Jance; (P)2007 Simon and Schuster, Inc.
"Jance delivers a devilish page-turner." (People)
"Jance starts her books fast...and keeps things moving with cinematic panache...engaging and entertaining." (Los Angeles Times)
Being a fan of J.A. Jance I was surprised to be very disappointed with this book, and could not wait for it to finish. The main character is facing many crisis but her overriding chore is being saddled with a runaway, annoying teenager. I am not sure if it was the storyline or the narrator or just the entire tone of the novel, but the narrator sounds continually angry and frustrated. Check out one of the more worthy books by this author.
If you think you need ham-handed instruction on the virtues of feminism, the perils of the internet, the dangers of text-messaging, the ravages of divorce, the consequences of bad parenting, the social cost of war, the plight of the homeless, and the tragedy of pedophilia and incest, this is the book for you!
As a big fan of JA Jance, I really wanted to like this book, but I found myself getting more and more irritated with this credibility-stretching soapbox. From the irrelevant details about each character's vehicle to the inclusion of seemingly every Dr. Phil-esqe social ill, the book comes off as a more of an extended sermon than a suspense novel.
I also think Jance would be better served sticking with her historically excellent law enforcement main characters rather than a citizen crime fighter. I'm not in law enforcement, but I cringed at the main character's penchant for investigating suspects and interviewing witnesses and criminals. I kept thinking that in real life, "Ali" (if she weren't killed or arrested first) would be a defense attorney's dream come true.
I also take issue with the dream-world of information made available to the main character simple by having a connection to the internet. Much of the details she finds but simply "surfing the net" in reality would require lots of legwork and legal authority.
Definitely not fast paced. Starts in one place and takes 4 hours to come back to it. And the tie ins are a stretch. I am used to James Patterson, that is fast paced, this was slow motion. Far too much character study and no follow up to the energetic beginning.
By the time you get to the conclusion you have almost forgotten who.
From the very start, this book keeps a rapid pace with not one or two, but several stories, intertwining within each other, right up until the end.
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