Hand of Evil by J.A. Jance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Like many people I get into routines and stick with them. I mention this trait in my first review of a J.A Jance book because my morning routine is to listen to an audiobook for the first half of my commute then switch to a radio station for the rest of the drive. I couldn't do that with Hand of Evil. Something about Jance's books (I've now listened to a second one) makes them too intriguing to turn off.
I had a problem with Hand of Evil because the story is woven around two crimes which are connected by their nature, but not by anything specific, and a third crime that is only connected through the main character, Ali Reynolds. For that reason there was a lack of focus in the story and a feeling that so many unrelated crimes occurring at once was unbelievable.
So why couldn't I stop listening?
I think J.A. Jance's power comes through the humanity of her characters. Ali Reynolds has issues and problems. To some extent they are related. She's acts without thinking, which is emphasized with her tendency to confront even in dangerous situations. We readers get to know and care about her, so when she puts herself in dangerous situations we care. We curse at her foolishness, but hope for the best as we continue to read or listen.
I've listened to two of the Ali Reynolds series and I plan to listen to another. The order was based on the availability through our library rather than the series order. J.A. Jance does a good job of letting her readers know what's going on in Ali Reynolds' personal life, so the fact that I listened to them out of sequence didn't seem to affect my final enjoyment. Hand of Evil is a fun story for anyone who likes crime novels.
Steve Lindahl – author of Motherless Soul and White Horse Regressions
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