Agreeing to look into a murder case for an acquaintance becomes a very dangerous game for an Arizona crime expert.
Now that she’s finished managing her mother’s unsuccessful election campaign, former reporter Ali Reynolds (Left for Dead, 2012, etc.) is at loose ends, but not for long. Ali had met Lynn Martinson when they were both doing a television story on a cyberstalker. She’s concerned that Lynn’s bad taste in men may have carried over to her new boyfriend, Chip Ralston, an Alzheimer’s expert who treated her father. When Chip’s gold-digging ex-wife is found stabbed to death in the desert, Lynn and Chip are arrested by an overzealous prosecutor, and Ali agrees to investigate for Lynn’s court-appointed attorney. Going one better than the police, who haven’t found out who reported the crime, Ali learns that it was A.J. Sanders, a frightened teen out in the desert looking for a hidden treasure his ex-convict father wrote him about after turning up on A.J.’s 16th birthday with a car and enough money to pay for gas and insurance. When James Sanders’ body is found near the crime scene, both the police, who are not happy with Ali’s investigation, and Ali herself are determined to establish a connection. With help from her boyfriend’s clever go-to computer expert, Ali finds some things the police have missed—perhaps enough to lead her into a deathtrap.
Prolific Jance melds elements of the thriller and police procedural with a touch of romance to carry readers swiftly to an unexpected conclusion.