Web of Evil by J.A. Jance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I've been listening to the audio versions of a few of J.A. Jance's novels as they become available through our library. As a result I'm going through the Ali Reynolds series out of order. But each book reads well on its own and the author's done a great job of providing sufficient background information to understand the characters.
The book I heard this week was Web of Evil, a mystery in which a former news host, Ali Reynolds, becomes a suspect in a brutal murder. I find it interesting that Ali Reynolds is a blogger, because the books seem more about personal problems of the type that might show up on a blog than about the mysteries. Ali uses her blog to vent and in the process receives advice and support. Because there's a crime investigation taking place while Ali is keeping up her blog, she posts information that made me want to scream at her foolishness. But I kept listening.
While the mystery goes on in Web of Evil there is also a story unfolding of raising children in broken families. Ali Reynolds is a single mother. The father of her son, Chris, died years earlier. Ali remarried and, as this book begins, she's heading to California to sign divorce papers. She has a friend, Dave (a detective), who is also divorced. His ex has custody of their two children and has moved quite a distance away from his home in Sedona, Arizona. His daughter, Chrystal, has some serious problems which have caused her to act out in ways that could affect the rest of her life. And a third dysfunctional family appears in the story because the husband Ali is about to divorce has a fiance he's planned to marry the very next day. This young woman has a terrible relationship with her mother and an unwanted child on the way. J.A. Jance weaves these stories together to explore major issues families can experience. Although these issues are extreme, we live in an imperfect world and most readers can identify with aspects of these problems. This is Jance's greatest strength. The characters are extreme, but feel real.
Steve Lindahl – author of Motherless Soul and White Horse Regressions
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