Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by J.A. Jance

Pub Date: March 14th, 2023
ISBN: 978-1-982189-15-0
Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Cybersecurity expert Ali Reynolds has to stand aside for an army of other sleuths across several states to thwart the murderous plans of a recently paroled criminal out for revenge.

Even if you don’t count his abusive treatment of Danielle Lomax-Reardon, his lover, former Pasadena cop Frank Muñoz began his crime spree even before being released from the Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex, where he'd been confined since he confessed to tipping off the powers behind a money-laundering club that they were about to be raided. Funded by the shadowy figures who’d promised him $500,000 if he did his time without naming names, and working with well-connected Lompoc lifer Salvatore Moroni, he’d arranged hits on Danielle and Jack Littleton, one of two fellow Pasadena cops who’d agreed to testify against him. Once he’s out, he relocates to Las Vegas with plans to hire lowlifes to kill Hal Holden, the other cop, who’s now retired and running a shuttle service, and Sylvia Rogers, the wife who’d divorced Frank, remarried, and moved outside Portland to be with her more loving second husband. When the men hired to kill Holden crash into his car, he’s carrying B. Simpson, Ali’s husband and partner in High Noon Enterprises, leaving both men critically injured but not dead and drawing Ali into a case that eventually attracts official scrutiny from Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Minnesota, leading to “a jurisdictional free-for-all.” As Jance multiplies subplots and characters, introducing new backstories as late as Chapter 65, her reliance on High Noon’s all-but-sensate AI helper, Frigg, seems to edge her ever closer to the futuristic world of J.D. Robb.

Teems with as many details as the phone book and not much more engaging. Less breadth, more depth, please.