08 April 2007

Just the facts, ma'am. Just the facts.

J. A. Jance has written more than 30 books. Most of them mysteries. There are 17 about a retired detective, J. P. Beaumont, a dozen about Sheriff Joanna Brady, and now two about Ali Reynolds, an LA TV news reader who was unjustly fired for being too old. That means, evidently, that Ali Reynolds is rolling in lawsuit settlement money and has nothing better to do than get involved in murder mysteries.

Mary Ashmore kindly passed to us Web of Evil, the most recent of the Ali Reynolds books.

This is a good story. There are twists and turns here to keep characters hopping and this reader interested.

The story and the characters are not part of real life, because there are murders, a crime family, drug running, an undercover DEA investigation, a friend who happens to be a police detective with friends in high enough places to get inside information, and people with more money than god. But, in spite of all that, the story and the characters are mostly believable. Well, there is a bit of instantaneous high tech that reminded me of the seemingly cost-free DNA tests that are done within hours on the CSI-type TV shows, but things are mostly believable.

Jance is a good story teller. I've liked nearly all of the Joanna Brady books I've read. (I think I've read only one of the J. P. Beaumont books, but I don't remember anything about it just now.)

I was ready to shut the book having finished the narrative when I notice that there were still a whole bunch of pages unread. "What's this?" I asked.

The bonus in this book is that once the main story has been told, Jance adds two-and-a-half post-climax short stories to the book. One of them is very good.

Jance's books aren't as meaty as those of the Scandanavian writers* from Jance's generation that Dan Conrad and I discussed earlier, but Web of Evil was a good book to read while sitting on the deck overlooking the Gulf of Mexico at the end of March.

Thanks, Mary.


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