Cruel Intent (Ali Reynolds Series #4)

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Overview

From New York Times bestselling author J.A. Jance comes a chilling tale of suspense, where romance turns deadly at the hands of a man whose heart is filled with...

CRUEL INTENT

On a dating site, singleatheart.com, bored housewives can find romance with married men looking for sex without strings. But these "married singles" are flirting with more than just their vows. At the heart of this seemingly innocent ...

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Cruel Intent (Ali Reynolds Series #4)

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Overview

From New York Times bestselling author J.A. Jance comes a chilling tale of suspense, where romance turns deadly at the hands of a man whose heart is filled with...

CRUEL INTENT

On a dating site, singleatheart.com, bored housewives can find romance with married men looking for sex without strings. But these "married singles" are flirting with more than just their vows. At the heart of this seemingly innocent service, a vengeful computer hacker is playing games with people's lives...and deaths.

Ex-television journalist Ali Reynolds just wants a break from excitement. In the midst of a remodel, the last thing she expects is a murder investigation that will stop the construction on her home. But when the savagely murdered body of stay-at-home mom Morgan Forester is found, Ali's contractor Bryan is the prime suspect. Bryan swears he has nothing to do with his wife's murder — but as the investigation progresses Ali seems to be the only resident of Sedona who believes him.

Determined to prove Bryan's innocence, Ali unknowingly lands herself directly in the path of a calculating killer. In a world filled with encrypted computer traps and life-threatening lies, will Ali be able to decode the actions of a ruthless man determined to destroy women — before he uses his wicked website to find her?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Ex-TV journalist Ali Reynolds is trying to get her house remodeled in time for her son's wedding. But her contractor has been framed for his wife's murder by a serial killer who runs an Internet dating service for the unhappily married (thus providing him with adulterous victims). What's a homeowner to do but join forces with a hacker to find the killer? This dubious plot line isn't helped by several unconvincing elements (e.g., a car rental employee spots a tiny bloodstain on the carpet of a returned vehicle; Ali's elderly mom has just bought a taser). Broadway musical comedy star Karen Ziemba adds an upbeat vitality to her narration that underlines Jance's long suits-her smoothly flowing style and smart pacing-while breezing past the book's less than stellar sections. She most effectively catches the mood of the novel's most thrilling moments when, inevitably, Ali becomes a captive of the madman. A Touchstone hardcover (Reviews, Sept. 29). (Dec.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From the Publisher
"Jance, whose books are read by millions, is on to something." — Kathleen Daley for The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743574877
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Publication date: 12/2/2008
  • Series: Ali Reynolds Series , #4
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Abridged, 5 CDs, 6 hours
  • Pages: 5
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 5.74 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

J.A. Jance is the New York Times bestselling author of the Ali Reynolds series, the J.P. Beaumont series, the Joanna Brady series, as well as four interrelated Southwestern thrillers featuring the Walker family. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Brisbee, Arizona, Jance and her husband live in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona. Visit her online at JAJance.com.

Biography

Considering J. A. Jance's now impressive career -- which includes two massively popular mystery series and status as a New York Times bestseller -- it may be difficult to believe that she was initially strongly discouraged from literary pursuits. A chauvinistic creative writing professor advised her to seek out a more "ladylike" job, such as nurse or schoolteacher. Moreover, her alcoholic husband (a failed Faulkner wannabe) assured her there was room in the family for only one writer, and he was it. Determined to make her doomed marriage work, Jance put her writing on the back burner. But while her husband slept, she penned the visceral poems that would eventually be collected in After the Fire.

Jance next chose to use her hard times in a more unlikely manner. Encouraged by an editor to try writing fiction after a failed attempt at a true-crime book, she created J. P. Beaumont, a homicide detective with a taste for booze. Beaumont's drinking problem was clearly linked to Jance's dreadful experiences with her first husband; but, as she explains it: "Beaumont was smart enough to sober up, once the problem was brought to his attention. My husband, on the other hand, died of chronic alcoholism at age 42." So, from misfortune grew one of the most popular characters in modern mystery fiction. Beaumont debuted in 1985's Until Proven Guilty -- and, after years of postponing her writing career, Jance was on her way.

As a sort of light flipside to the dark Beaumont, Jance created her second series in 1991. Inspired by the writer's happier role as a mom, plucky small-town sheriff Joanna Brady was introduced in Desert Heat and struck an immediate chord with readers. In 2005, Jance added a third story sequence to her repertoire with Edge of Evil, featuring Ali Reynolds, a former TV reporter-turned-professional blogger.

And so, the adventures continue! A career such as Jance's would be extraordinary under any circumstances, but considering the obstacles she overcame to become a bestselling, critically acclaimed novelist, her tale is all the more compelling. As she explains it: "One of the wonderful things about being a writer is that everything -- even the bad stuff -- is usable."

Good To Know

Geographically speaking, Jance is equal parts J. P. Beaumont and Joanna Brady. She splits her time between Beaumont's big-city home of Seattle and Brady's desert residence of Arizona.

Before her writing career become truly lucrative, Jance made little more than "fun money" off her books, and on her web site, she wryly recalls "the Improbable Cause trip to Walt Disney World; the Minor in Possession memorial powder room; the Payment in Kind memorial hot tub."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Judith Ann Jance
    2. Hometown:
      Bellevue, Washington
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 27, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Watertown, South Dakota
    1. Education:
      B. A., University of Arizona, 1966; M. Ed. in Library Science, University of Arizona, 1970
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Cruel Intent

For the hundredth time that day, Ali Reynolds asked herself why she’d ever let her agent, Jacky Jackson, talk her into being a part of MCMR, short for Mid-Century-Modern Renovations, a program aimed at the Home & Garden TV viewer, documenting restoration projects designed to bring back venerable old twentieth-century American houses that otherwise would have fallen victim to the wrecking ball.

Months earlier Ali had come into possession of one of those precious fixer-uppers when she had purchased Arabella Ashcroft’s crumbling hilltop mansion at the top of Sedona’s Manzanita Hills Road. She had been intrigued when Jacky contacted her about filming the entire project. According to Jacky, MCMR would be the next great thing. Mid-Century-Modern Renovations was due to air on Home & Garden TV sometime in the not too distant future, but there was always a chance it would follow the lead of some of the Food Network’s cooking shows and make the jump over to one of the major networks.

Jacky had begged and pleaded until Ali finally agreed. At first her contractor had been thrilled at the prospect, and his crew had enjoyed mugging for the two cameramen, Raymond and Robert. Now, though, with construction seriously behind schedule, the workers were becoming surly at having the cameras forever in the way, and so was Ali. It was bad enough when things were going well. But then there were days like today, when Bryan Forester, her general contractor, had gone ballistic after Yvonne Kirkpatrick, the city of Sedona’s queen-bee building inspector, had decreed that the placement of some of Bryan’s electrical outlets in both the bathrooms and the kitchen were out of compliance.

The cameras had been there filming the entire epic battle as Bryan and the fiery-haired Yvonne had gone at it nose-to-nose over the issue. Later, they had been missing in action when Yvonne, who had returned to her office to check the rules and regs, had called back with the embarrassing admission that Bryan had been right and she had been wrong. From her days as a television newscaster, Ali Reynolds knew the drill. After all, confrontations make for great TV. Reconciliations don’t. Compared to war, peace is B-O-R-I-N-G. And even though Yvonne had admitted her mistake, she had yet to come back and sign off on the permit. The drywall guys couldn’t start hanging wallboard until she did.

Ali had hoped to have the place ready for a grand Thanksgiving dinner unveiling for friends and family. Right now her house had no running water or electricity, and the interior walls were nothing but bare studs. This latest delay made a turkey-day gathering in her remodeled home even more unlikely. Disheartened, she had retreated to the wisteria-lined flagstone patio where they had erected a canvas canopy over the worn redwood picnic table that served as a lunchroom for workers and film crew alike. Before Ali could summon a really serious funk, though, Leland Brooks appeared, bearing a silver tray set for tea.

“Tea?” he asked. “You look as though you could use a cuppa.”

“Yes, please,” Ali said gratefully, shivering in the late-afternoon chill. “That would be wonderful.”

Ali had taken on restoring Arabella Ashcroft’s dilapidated home as her personal rehabilitation project, and Brooks, Arabella’s former butler, had made fixing Ali Reynolds his. Months earlier and already dealing with the end of both her newscasting career and the end of her marriage, Ali had abandoned California and returned to her roots in Sedona, Arizona, looking for respite and a little peace and quiet. That hadn’t worked very well. Instead of achieving idyllic serenity, she had been propelled into life-and-death struggles with not one but two murderous nutcases.

Afterward Ali had been drifting aimlessly into a sea of depression when Leland Brooks came to her rescue, determined to find a way to help her help herself. Refusing to take no for an answer, he had set before her the daunting challenge of buying and re-creating Arabella Ashcroft’s mother’s house. In the ensuing months, every time the resulting complications had threatened to overwhelm Ali, Leland had been at her side. He still referred to himself as her butler, but she saw him as her property manager and also as her trusted aide-de-camp. He had taken up residence in a fifth-wheel trailer set up in the driveway, where he could make sure tools and supplies stayed put when the workmen left the site.

Ali waited while Leland dosed her tea with two cubes of sugar and a wedge of lemon.

“I see that building inspector was here again,” he said.

“Yes,” Ali returned. “She rode in on her broom, out on same, and fouled up the wallboard guys for at least another day. I’m pretty sure Thanksgiving is a lost cause.”

Leland handed over a cup and saucer. “Mr. Forester is a good man,” he said thoughtfully. “Surely he’ll be able to find a way to carry us over the finish line.”

Ali took a sip of her tea. It was perfect. “Mr. Brooks,” she said, “has anyone ever told you that you’re an incurable optimist?”

Leland frowned. “I don’t suppose that’s a compliment, is it?” he returned.

Ali laughed aloud. No matter how bad things got, Leland always seemed to cheer her up. Just then a car came winding up the driveway, threading its way between lines of workers’ vehicles. As it parked behind Ali’s Porsche Cayenne SUV, she recognized Detective Dave Holman’s sheriff’s department sedan.

Dave, a fellow graduate of Cottonwood’s Mingus Union High, was a longtime friend and recently a sometime beau. Several months earlier, he had been granted primary custody of his two daughters, nine-year-old Cassie and thirteen-year-old Crystal. Since then Dave had thrown himself wholeheartedly into his unexpected second chance at fatherhood. His newly assumed parenting responsibilities combined with a realization that both Dave and Ali were in full rebound mode had led to a mutual decision to back off for a while. As a result, he and Ali had been spending far less time together of late. On this occasion, though, Ali was delighted to see him—until she caught sight of the grim set of his jaw. Clearly, this was some other kind of visit.

At another time in her life, Ali Reynolds might not have thought the worst, but after months of dealing with one disaster after another, her heart went to her throat. Had the brakes failed in her father’s doddering antique Bronco, or had her mother’s Alero been T-boned making a left-hand turn across traffic into the Sugarloaf Café’s parking lot? Or was it Christopher? Had something happened to her son? Holding her breath, she gestured Dave onto the patio.

“Hey, Dave,” she croaked. It was a lame attempt at pretending she wasn’t terrified. “Good to see you. Care for some tea?”

Dave shook his head. “No, thanks.” He glanced toward the house. “I’m looking for Bryan Forester. Is he here?”

Relieved, Ali let out her breath. “In the far bathroom,” she answered. “Would you go find him, please?” she said to Leland.

Leland nodded. “Certainly,” he said and marched away.

“Is something wrong?” Ali asked.

“I’m afraid so,” Dave answered. “Morgan Forester’s been murdered. Their two girls came home from school a little while ago and found their mother dead in the front yard. Has Bryan been here all day?”

Even though all of Bryan’s worker bees had shown up on time, Bryan himself hadn’t appeared until later in the morning. Given that he had several different jobs going, his late arrival wasn’t so unusual. Ali had noticed, however, that the generally even-tempered Bryan had seemed out of sorts. Even before his confrontation with the building inspector, Bryan had been barking at his people and growling at the guys wielding their cameras.

“He wasn’t here all day,” she said. “But he was here most of it. Why?”

Before Dave could ask anything more, Leland returned, bringing Bryan Forester with him. “What’s up?” Bryan asked, looking questioningly from Ali to Dave.

Ali knew from personal experience what it meant to be given that kind of devastating news. Not wanting to witness Bryan Forester’s heartbreak, Ali thought of taking Brooks and disappearing into the house. Before she could rise from the bench, however, Dave cut off that avenue of retreat by speaking immediately.

“It’s about your wife,” he said. “I’m afraid I have some very bad news.”

“Bad news about Morgan?” Bryan asked. “What about her? What kind of bad news. Has she been in a wreck or something?”

“I’m sorry to have to tell you this. Your wife has been murdered,” Dave said. “Your daughters found her this afternoon when they came home from school.”

Ali felt a momentary flash of anger at Dave Holman. Couldn’t he have found a gentler way of delivering such awful news? Couldn’t he have couched it in less blunt terms?

Bryan’s face contorted in grief and astonishment as the brutal blow landed. He staggered over to the picnic table and sank down onto the redwood bench across the table from Ali. “No,” he said, shaking his head from side to side in absolute denial. “That can’t be. It’s impossible. Morgan was fine when I left for work. This is wrong. You must be mistaken.”

“I’m afraid there’s no mistake,” Dave replied. “If you don’t mind, Mr. Forester, I’ll need you to come with me. Once the body has been transported, we’ll need you to identify...”

At first Ali thought he had softened slightly, but then she noticed the odd shift from “Bryan” to “Mr. Forester.” Ali was a year younger than Dave, and Bryan Forester was over ten years younger than Ali. Dave’s turn to formality struck her as ominous.

Bryan, on the other hand, seemed oblivious. He surged to his feet. “No,” he interrupted. “Where are Lindsey and Lacy? What have you done with my daughters? I’ve got to see them, be with them.”

“The girls are fine,” Dave said reassuringly. “I called in Deputy Meecham, the DARE officer from their school. She knows your kids, and they know her. I asked her to take them to the sheriff’s office. The girls are probably already there.”

“Let’s go, then,” Bryan said impatiently, changing his mind about going to the house. “Why are we standing around here jawing?” He took two long strides toward Dave’s car, then stopped and turned back to Ali. “Tell the guys for me, please,” he said. “They should probably plan on taking the rest of the week off. Until I—” He broke off, unable to continue.

“Of course,” Ali said reassuringly. “I’m so sorry about this, Bryan. You do what you need to do. We’ll be fine.”

She watched as Dave took Bryan Forester by the arm and escorted him to the waiting patrol car. Dave opened the door—the door to the backseat, Ali noted, to let Bryan inside. Ali had to concede that was probably necessary, since there would likely be weapons and equipment in the front seat, but still, was it really necessary for Bryan to be locked in the back of the vehicle like a common criminal—like he was under arrest or something? But then Ali remembered that when her almost–ex husband, Paul Grayson, had been run over by a speeding freight in southern California, the investigating officers had driven her to Riverside in the back of a patrol car as well. Perhaps this was the same protocol and it meant nothing. Maybe Ali was simply reading too much into it.

“If you’d like me to, madam,” Leland Brooks said quietly, “I’d be happy to track down the work crew and relay the bad news.”

Ali knew that in the past, Leland had dealt with Arabella Ashcroft’s periodic flights from sanity by retreating into that very proper butler made. Dave’s uncharacteristic detour into formality had disturbed her, but as Leland switched gears, Ali felt herself comforted.

“Thank you,” Ali said. “That would be greatly appreciated.”

Ali sat staring into the depths of her teacup and thought about two little girls coming home to the shock of finding their mother murdered. It appalled Ali to think about them being thrust into this awful turmoil and then being carted off to the sheriff’s office by some stranger to await the arrival of their father.

Ali’s cell phone rang. Glad to be jolted out of her grim contemplations, she hurried to answer, but it didn’t do her much good.

“Have you heard about Morgan Forester?” Edie Larson asked. “It’s positively dreadful! I still can’t believe it.”

Ali Reynolds had always marveled at her mother’s uncanny ability to know everything that was going on in Sedona, Arizona, before almost anyone else did. Since Edie’s sources were quick and nearly always accurate, Ali didn’t bother questioning them now. Obviously, whoever had delivered the news knew what was going on.

“Just did,” Ali admitted. “Dave was here a few minutes ago and told Bryan what had happened.”

“Those poor sweet little girls,” Edie went on. “Can you imagine coming home from school and finding something like that? The one is already such an odd little duck, I doubt she’ll ever recover.”

“Odd?” Ali asked.

“They’re twins, you know,” Edie said. “They’ve come to the Sugarloaf on occasion, usually with their daddy.” The Sugarloaf Café was the family-owned diner Ali’s parents had run for years.

“The two of them are the cutest little things. They look just alike, but the one—I don’t know which is which—talks nonstop. She chatters on and on like a little magpie, while the other one never says a word. The one eats everything in sight and cleans her plate without the least bit of fuss. The other one has to have everything on a separate plate—one plate for the eggs, another for the hash browns, another for the bacon, and still another for her toast or sweet roll. God forbid if one crumb of food should touch another. It’s always a problem when they come in, because there’s not enough room on our four-tops for one person to use four separate plates.” Edie paused and then added, “I guess you’ve never waited on them.”

Periodically, Ali pitched in as a substitute waitress. She knew of several adult customers with similar phobias, but she didn’t remember ever waiting on Bryan Forester’s little girls. “I guess not,” she agreed.

“I’m baking one of my tuna casseroles right now. Your dad will deliver it to their house a little later. I understand Bryan’s folks moved down to Sun City a few years ago. His dad has arthritis, and the winters up here were too cold, but I’m sure they’re on their way. I don’t know about Morgan’s folks. It seems to me they’re not from around here.”

Ali didn’t know anything about Morgan Forester’s family. Wherever her parents lived, once they learned the news, their hearts, too, would be broken, but Ali suspected that no one from either side of the family would be very interested in Edie Larson’s excellent tuna casserole.

“If the house is a crime scene, it’ll be empty,” Ali said quietly. “No one will be allowed to be there.”

“You’re right, of course,” Edie said after a pause. “Well, then, I’ll talk to one of the neighbors and find out where your father should deliver the food once I have it ready. Now, what about Thanksgiving?”

Her seamless segue from tuna casserole to turkey and dressing left Ali momentarily confounded.

“I know you had your heart set on having everyone over to your new place,” Edie continued. “But we have to be realistic. That just isn’t going to happen. We need a new plan.”

If Edie Larson had a sentimental bone in her body, her daughter had never seen it. After spending her entire lifetime either working in or running a restaurant and being in the day-to-day business of food, Edie looked at life’s ups and downs through a framework of what needed to be cooked, where, and when. Yes, Morgan Forester’s murder was a terrible thing, but after taking care of that required tuna casserole, Edie was ready to move on to the next piece of critical culinary business—Thanksgiving dinner. Meanwhile, Ali had been so shocked by what had happened that she had yet to consider how the terrible disruptions in Bryan Forester’s life might also impact her own situation.

“Don’t worry about it, Mom,” Ali said. “I’m sure we’ll be fine.”

Ali was hanging up when Leland emerged from the house and began gathering up the tea things. She passed him her cup, cold now but still half full.

“You told them?” she asked.

Leland nodded somberly. “I talked to Billy, Mr. Forester’s second in command. He said that if it’s all the same to you, they’d like to come on the job tomorrow anyway. If he can get the building inspector to come out and sign off on the permits, he said they’ll be able to go ahead with the wallboarding with or without Mr. Forester. But only if you don’t mind.”

The fact that Bryan’s crew was ready and willing to move forward without him seemed commendable. “It’s fine with me,” Ali said.

Leland nodded. “Very good, madam,” he said. “I told them I’d let them know if you had any objections.”

As if on cue, the workmen emerged from the building. Carrying tool belts, tool cases, and lunch boxes, they headed first to the Mini-Mobile, the metal storage unit where they stowed tools and supplies. Leland locked it each evening after the workmen left the job site and opened it every morning before they arrived. Minutes after the workmen left, the camera crew decamped as well, but they took their load of expensive equipment along with them. Leland picked up the tray, but before he could head back to his cozy fifth wheel, Ali stopped him.

“Detective Holman asked me if Mr. Forester had been here all day,” she said casually.

Dave had come to notify Bryan Forester of his wife’s death, but Ali had no doubt the man had been in Dave’s sights as a possible perpetrator from the moment Morgan’s homicide had been reported, and Dave had already started the process of tracing Bryan’s movements.

Leland returned the heavy tray to the table. “I seem to recall he did arrive a little later than usual,” he said thoughtfully. “Most of the time he’s here early enough to park at the top of the driveway. Today I noticed that his truck was down near the bottom of the hill.”

Ali nodded. “Did he seem upset to you?” she asked.

Leland frowned. “Now that you mention it,” he said, “I believe Mr. Forester did appear to be slightly out of sorts. He spent a good part of the day talking on his phone.”

“Did he happen to mention any kind of difficulty at home?” Ali asked.

Leland gave her a wry smile. “That’s not the kind of thing one would mention to the hired help,” he said quietly. “It’s just not done. It’s getting quite cool out here,” he added. “Would you like me to light the heater?”

They had stationed a propane-fueled outdoor heater near the picnic table so the guys could have their morning coffee without freezing their butts off.

“That’s all right,” Ali said. “I think I’ll head home.”

“By the way,” he reminded her, “it is Monday. Your evening to cook, I believe. Would you like me to come by and throw something together for you?”

Ali looked at this remarkably caring man.

“Thanks for keeping me on track,” Ali said. “You’ve done more than enough for today. I’ll handle dinner.”

“Very well,” Leland said. “Will we see you in the morning?”

“If the work crew is coming, I’m coming,” Ali told him.

But as Ali pulled out of the driveway, she wasn’t thinking about getting her job done. She was thinking about two little girls, Morgan Forester’s daughters, who would have to grow up without their mother.

Poor babies, Ali said to herself. Those poor babies.

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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

1. Ali doesn't know Bryan Forester very well, and yet she's convinced he's innocent of his wife's murder. What makes her believe in him? Why does the rest of the community, people who have known Bryan his whole life, assume he's guilty?

2. When discussing her second husband, Ali always uses his full name: Paul Grayson. Why does she do this? Considering their history, is this a defense mechanism?

3. "I always tried to raise him to be independent, Ali thought ruefully. I may have succeeded too well" (pg. 88). How would you describe the various parent-child relationships in Cruel Intent? Consider Ali and Chris, Ali and her parents, Bryan and his daughters, Leland's friend Prescott and his children, amongst others. Which emotions are driving factors in these relationships?

4. In her video on Singleatheart.com, Morgan Forester says she doesn't want to go to her grave wondering about the Peggy Lee song "Is That All There Is." Does the video provide honest insight into Morgan's life, or is it another one of her manipulations? Which other characters might wonder is that all there is?

5. Describe Ali's relationship with Dave Holman. Is he jealous when she defends Bryan? If so, is that one of the reasons he's convinced of Bryan's guilt?

6. Why does Ali turn down work offers from her agent, Jacky? What does she want to do with her life?

7. What drives the killer and how does he choose his victims?

8. "The truth was, Ali wanted to go, too. Bryan Forester was part of her life; so were his girls. If there was anything she personally could do to help them, she would" (pg. 195). There are many other people Ali is quick to help. Is this simply her nature, or has she learned to relate to those in need of help? When should she volunteer, and when should she allow people to protect themselves?

9. What do Ali and Leland mean to each other? Why does he keep his feelings about her somewhat secret from Ali?

10. In the end, is the killer more upset that he was caught, or that he was caught by a woman?

Enhance Your Book Club:

Ali Reynolds is not the only one who keeps a blog. To learn more about J.A. Jance, visit her blog at: http://www.jajance.com/jajance.com/Blog/Blog.html

The Sugar Loaf Café is the hub of activity in Cruel Intent. Hold your book club meeting at a local, old-fashioned café or diner. Or better yet — try J.A. Jance's Sugar Loaf Sweet Role recipe available at: http://www.jajance.com/jajance.com/Sugar_Loaf_Cafe/Sugar_Loaf_Cafe.html

Morgan Forester claims Peggy Lee's "Is That All There Is" inspired her to seek something more out of life. Find a recording of the song and play it before your meeting. Which songs might inspire other characters?

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 60 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Confusing... main storyline gets lost

    Author confuses the reader with too much of a sub storyline and not enough of the primary storyline. The pace is slowed due to the secondary story and the reader is lost in the middle of the book, making it a chore to finish the book. The story would have been better if the author laid out the story line better. I hope the next Ali Reynolds book focus is better and the story is not diluted.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2008

    An exciting fast-paced thriller

    In Sedona, Arizona former TV news reporter Ali Reynolds is renovating a house when the wife of her contractor is found brutally murdered in their home. Police Detective Dave Holman suspects the husband Bryan Forrester killed his stay at home wife and mom Morgan as the violence implies someone passionately involved with the victim. Ali believes Bryan¿s proclamation of innocence, but no one else does.------------- Feeling obligated and also needing her home ready for the Thanksgiving invasion, Ali investigates, which leads her to singleatheart.com, a website where ¿married singles¿ can harmlessly flirt. As she digs deeper, she realizes a serial killer is hacking into homes with Morgan being number five. With all that info, she remains ignorant to the fact that the culprit is watching her.------------- The fourth Reynolds investigative tale (see HAND OF EVIL) is an exciting fast-paced thriller that starts at hyperspeed and accelerates from there. Although a couple of key late spins subtract from the plausibility, fans of J.A. Jance will enjoy her latest whodunit especially when the heroine finds family members wanting to help her but for the most part hinder her except for one key late intrusion.-------------- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2014

    Really good.

    Really like all the J A Jance books. But i am trying to figure out how she will end up explaining all this crime happening in a small town.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2014

    Fantastic as always with JA Jance Books

    I've been an avid JA Jance fan for years, reading the Joanna Brady and JP Beaumont series...as I have gotten closer to catching up with her in each series I panicked...I hate having to wait for new books in series I love...it's like waiting to visit with friends you love! So I decide to try the Ali Reynolds series...I can't put them down. I love Ali and her cast of characters as much if not more than Joanna and my much loved JP. Anyone who enjoys mystery and series must read these books...find #1 and dive in...you won't be sorry.

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  • Posted May 23, 2014

    Very good story if you like sequels, which I do.

    JA Jance is a favorite author. I enjoy the Ali Reynolds series. Good characters suspenseful stories. Good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2014

    Recommended if you enjoy mysteries that are not bloody.

    I have read all of the Ali Reynolds mysteries and have enjoyed every one of them. I enjoy mysteries but not those that get into blood and guts.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2012

    The Best One Yet

    A fun read knowing "who did it" & then watching the events play out. I've read almost all of her books and this is the best!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2012

    Too many distractions from the Mystery

    I am truly baffled at the four star review for this book. This story is told with the idea of "why use thee words when twelve will do".

    The mystery itself is classic an interesting. A hardworking father that we can feel for when he loses is wife and then is framed for the murder. The problem is that the mystery get's lost in the shuffle of far too many subplots (home renovation, wedding planning, scholarship winners, Thanksgiving Dinner, family conflict, etc.). The killer was interesting if not cliche; though at times he did things far below his supposed intelligent level.

    Let's be clear, this book is trying to be a "thriller". In that genre the reader knows who the villain is and the suspense comes from wondering when the "hero" will intersect them. Of course, there is nothing thrilling about this as it moves so slow. There are so many spectacular mysteries and thrillers out there, I cannot possibly recommend this one. Unfortunately as this is my first book by JA Jance, it will also probably be my last.

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  • Posted March 19, 2012

    good read

    good book, but then all her books are good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2012

    Highly recommended

    As with all the Ali Reynolds books, a very good and riveting story!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2011

    Another Jance character to grab you.

    I have been a fan of J.A. for some years. I love her characters...Brady and Beaumont...and the inidividual stories she has done. Now we have another character...Ali Reynolds. I love them all because they are so different but good reads.Now I have to finish what I am currently reading so I can read #5.

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  • Posted November 2, 2010

    Have anybody read this book?

    ????

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  • Posted May 17, 2010

    J A Jance and Ali Reynolds at their best

    Great story with lots of twists and turns will keep you guessing and rooting for Ali 'til the very end. Definitely worth the read.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Another Winner from JA Jance

    This is one of my favorite authors, and as always she has produced a great story. Allison Reynolds is her third series, and I highly recommend her J.P. Beaumont and Joanna Brady series, too. She's a fantastic writer, and I've enjoyed all of her books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Ali Reynolds

    I enjoy and read all the Ali Reynolds series. I look for J.A. Jance books.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great story

    This book kept you on the edge of your seat. You knew he was going to go after Ali but you couldn't have imagined the violence he used on her. He was a depirate man

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    NOT WHAT I EXPECTED

    I did not care for this book. I expected it to be more interesting. Too much was written about other things that did not have anything to do with the plot of the book.

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  • Posted March 8, 2009

    J. A. JANCE KEEPS SUSPSENSE HIGH

    JAN 1, 2009 In CRUEL INTENT J. A. Jance delivers another dead on thriller chock full of suspense and intrigue with bodies aplenty. Ali Reynolds has returned to Arizona and becomes embroiled in a nasty case of accumulating dead bodies who became that way at the hands of a monomaniacal serial killer.After resigning her job as an investigative television reporter and becoming a widow while in the process of divorcing her husband, Ali Reynolds has returned to her roots in Sedona, Arizona. When her odious agent heard she purchased the old Arrabella Ashcroft's, mother's desperately in need of repair Victorian manse, he talks her into using the project as the theme for a "reality show." He pressures Ali into agreeing to do the show by promising that her house would be the first whole house makeover for the pilot episode. But he didn't fool Ali who had been his client "forever," she thought he probably was going to find an insignificant role for her and boost the career of a new face as host . a male face.Nevertheless she agrees and the film crew shadows the renovation crewf with a camera and they seems to have their own agenda. They hope to find some "hot item" they can sell for their own reasons. And of course, a battle erupts every so often when the cameras are in the way or the builders are not quite worrying about the next close-up. But overall production moves along its slow paced path. And though they are slightly behind schedule Ali hasn't pressed the panic button as CRUEL INTENT by J. A. Jance opens.Just painting a room in one's house can be stressful, but a complete overhaul is more than stressful it's like taking a ride on an out-of-control roller coaster while you are riding upside down. But Ali is an optimistic and pragmatic person who is willing to put up with the chaos because she is eager for the house to become a home as soon as possible . she wants to have Thanksgiving in her new digs. And to her good fortune, when she purchased the house she inherited Leland Brooks, the Ashcroft butler who sees Ali as bird with a broken wing who he is determined to heal. She lives with her son, a teacher in a nearby high school, who just became engaged to a colleague and the two young people add a breath of fresh life to a narrative that soon becomes very strange. Ali's parents are alive, well and happy as their restaurant that is the central meeting place for all of the townspeople.The action picks up when Detective Dave Holman, the Sheriff's deputy, tears into the middle of the parked vehicles that sit like abandoned settlements beside the construction site. When Ali stands to greet him she is shocked by the expression on his face.He rudely asks for whereabouts of Bryan Forrester the general contractor on the job. When he appears the Deputy is brutal in delivering the news that his wife is dead-brutally murdered on the lawn outside their house--and his little twin girls found her when they got home from school. Forrester immediately asks about his children and is informed they are at the police station he can see them there. Ali can barely take the words in and doesn't understand why the sheriff is being so harsh and cruel as he pushes the stricken man into the back seat of the police cruiser. From where she stands Ali thinks he looks very much like a guilty man on his way to police headquarters.Twists and turns keep the action going. REVIEWER BARBARA LIPKIEN GERSHENBAUM

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  • Posted March 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Internet Stalking and Murder

    Ali Reynolds is in the process of having her house renovated in Sedona, AZ, by contractor Bryan Forester. That is until Forester is arrested for the brutal murder of his wife Morgan. Ali doesn't believe he's guilty and sets out to look into Morgan's life.

    She finds Morgan had been dating men through singleheard.com, a site set up for married people to find others willing to have an affair. So Ali joins to see if there could be any correlation with why she was murdered.

    Leland Brooks, her inherited butler and personal assistant, continues to coordinate the renovations when Forester's men decide to stay on the job. What a great help he is!

    Once Bryan is out on bail, he notifies Ali that the money she gave him for her new kitchen cupboards is missing. His wife had always done the books. He has discovered she was embezzling money from him. Ali, believing in Bryan, pays the cupboard contractor directly as she wants to have the upcoming Thanksgiving dinner in her newly renovated house.

    Yavapai Co. Sheriff's Detective Dave Holman believes Bryan to be guilty and isn't too happy with Ali for supporting him. Ali and Dave have had an on again off again relationship. This just strains it further.

    To complicate things further, Chris, Ali's son, has recently become engaged to a coworker. Edie, Ali's mom, unknowingly puts a strain on this new relationship when she "helps" them with their engagement party.

    Plus Edie has just purchased a pink taser. Ali's father fear she will get herself into big trouble with it.

    As the holiday looms closer, Ali finds herself deeper and deeper in internet stalking and danger.

    I love this series. Ali is such a wonderful character. I think the addition of Leland Brooks to the series was terrific. Ali's family always provides a lot of material for the series as well.

    I think the internet stalking is such a timely subject and was handled so well in this book. It really helps people to think before putting information out there and believing everything people say.

    This fast-paced mystery thriller will keep you turning the pages. I highly recommend this book and the complete series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

    my favorite author

    I enjoy reading her books have read everyone of hers. Enjoy her joana brady series very well.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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