Because Ideas Matter...
The faculty and staff of Butler University's College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences presents
by J. A. Jance, Touchstone, 2012
Reviewed by Larry Riggs
I must revise what I said in my review of
Jance's previous book: she is both a good writer and an excellent
storyteller. Jance's smooth handling of the complications in the
new Ali Reynolds novel synthesizes plotting and writing. The
seemingly unrelated, but ultimately convergent, stories, each
beginning with a character being left for dead, evoke the horrific,
the ordinary, and the psychological spaces where the two meet.
Characters familiar to Jance readers from earlier entries in the
Ali Reynolds series meet at a hospital in Tucson, where Ali has
gone to give support to the family of a police academy classmate
who has been shot and left in the desert. At the hospital, she
encounters Sister Anselm, a nun and patient advocate, who is
watching over an unidentified young woman who has been raped,
horribly beaten and, like the police officer, left for dead in the
desert. This young woman turns out to be a missing teenager whose
family has been agonizing over her disappearance for three years.
The officer's distraught wife, who was involved in a brutal battle
with her former mother-in-law for custody of her children by an
earlier marriage, must have an emergency Caesarean section
delivery. The officer and his wife have been set up to look like
drug dealers, and the young woman is implicated in a murder. Again,
this is a very complicated but expertly handled plot.
- Larry Riggs is Professor of French at Butler University.