In New York Times best-selling author J. A. Jance's latest thriller, Ali Reynolds faces her most controversial mystery yet: solving the murder of a man whose Ponzi scheme bankrupted hundreds of people and left them seeking justice...or revenge. When Ali's parents lose their life savings to a Ponzi scheme, her father goes to confront his longtime friend and financial advisor only to stumble into the scene of a bloody double homicide. With her father suddenly a prime suspect, Ali and her husband work to clear her father's name while at the same time seeking justice for her parents as well as the scheme's other suddenly impoverished victims, one of who is a stone-cold killer.
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I've loved, loved, loved all the Joanna Brady books. I usually like the Ali Reynolds ones just fine, certainly enough to buy and read them. I don't care for the Beaumont ones at all. But despite my best expectations, this book was a disappointment.
The best news is Karen Ziembra as narrator -- considering how many gazillions of books Miz Jance must sell, she's had a collection of the worst narrators in Audible history. In the Brady books, she must have used six or seven different readers, most of them just dreadful -- which is the reason I now usually prefer to read those books, not listen to them. But Ziembra in this book was a pleasant surprise. Hope they use her again for subsequent books.
But in this one, the story line faltered and turned into a very different type of book. The beginning was good -- very good. And marginally believable, that otherwise reasonable people would turn their entire retirement accounts over to one guy, a "friend", to invest. That's really dumb -- we know that. But I could see it happening when the guy is a friend. So far, so good. I felt the terrible anguish Ali's parents must have felt -- that part was well done.
That said, somewhere about midpoint, the tables start to turn, and the book blossoms into a persistent smiley face that just won't quit. I'm obviously not against people doing "good deeds" and helping others. I greatly admire it, in real life. I like saints. But in reading mysteries, books of "suspense", where you're looking for dreadful things to happen, I really don't want to deal with a crowd of angels. Everybody here is working overtime to outdo everybody else in the "good works" division. It's seriously tiresome.
Ha ha ha -- I'm not a Scrooge. I just thought Jance went overboard in demonstrating saintly character in Ali, certainly -- who, granted, is always pretty much like that -- but also her long-suffering parents, Sister Anselm, who's overly saccharin in this book, the governor of the state (a selfless politician, for crying out loud?) in B. and all the High Noon employees -- even in the formerly (delightfully) nasty detective, who eventually earns his place in heaven too. Good grief. There's just too much happiness going on, all over the place.
If I'm looking for upbeat, inspiring and enriching literature, I'll read Mitch Albom. If I want a scary, tense tale chronicling the really nasty things people do to each other, I guess I'll have to stick to John Sanford. In that category, he never disappoints.
This is book eleven in the Ali Reynolds series, Gee, it seems like only yesterday Jance came out with book one in the new series. Ali’s parents Bob and Edi Larson have retired from the Diner. Bob learns from the T.V. that the SEC has closed the company managing their retirement fund and is charging the owners with operating a Ponzi scheme. Bob drives over to his friend Dan Frazer house. Dan was the person who had advised Bob to put all their retirement money into the Ocotillo Fund. Upon arrival Bob finds Dan and his wife dying of stab wounds. He calls 911 and later is under investigation for murder. In steps Ali, to clear her father of the charges and attempt to get his money back. Stu and the new employee Camie had a larger role in this story and I hope the manager of the insurance agency becomes a regular in the future. She and her grandmother were interesting characters.
The book is well written and has well developed characters. The plot is unpredictable, and intriguing, and the pace is fast. The story has lots of action, suspense and lot and lots of savvy technology. Jance provides information about the workings of the Ponzi scheme as helpful education to the public. I think this might be the best book in the series to date. Karen Ziemba does a good job narrating the series.