Edge of Evil (Ali Reynolds Series #1)

Edge of Evil (Ali Reynolds Series #1)

3.7 93
by J. A. Jance

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With a divorce from her cheating husband of ten years pending and her high-profile broadcasting career abruptly ended by TV executives who wanted a "younger face," Alison Reynolds feels there's nothing keeping her in LA any longer. Summoned back home to Sedona, Arizona, by the death of a childhood friend, she seeks solace in the comforting rhythms of her parents'


With a divorce from her cheating husband of ten years pending and her high-profile broadcasting career abruptly ended by TV executives who wanted a "younger face," Alison Reynolds feels there's nothing keeping her in LA any longer. Summoned back home to Sedona, Arizona, by the death of a childhood friend, she seeks solace in the comforting rhythms of her parents' diner, the Sugarloaf Café, and launches an on-line blog as therapy for others who have been similarly cut loose.

But when threatening posts begin appearing, Ali finds out that running a blog is far more up-close and personal—and far more dangerous—than sitting behind a news desk. Suddenly something dark and deadly is swirling around her life. And now Ali is a target...and marked for death.

Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
“Taut . . . entertaining.”
Dallas Morning News
“Suspenseful, action-packed.”
Orlando Sentinel
“Credible and entertaining.”
“Jance delivers a devilish page-turner.”
Washington Times
“J.A. Jance does not disappoint her fans.”
San Diego Union-Tribune
“An intriguing plot, colorful characters.”
Tucson Citizen
“Jance proves once again she is the undisputed mistress of the mystery novel.”
Publishers Weekly
At the start of this disappointing thriller from bestseller Jance (Long Time Gone), Alison Reynolds, a 45-year-old Los Angeles television news anchor, loses her job, realizes her marriage is a sham and learns that her childhood friend Reenie Bernard has disappeared after being diagnosed with ALS. Alison efficiently handles the first two problems, hiring attorneys specializing in discrimination and divorce. With her supportive college student son, Chris, she heads for Sedona, Ariz., her hometown, to visit her sympathetic parents and await news of Reenie. When Chris sets up a blog for her, Alison, usually tense and judgmental, begins revealing herself to strangers, a practice that leads to a personal threat. After Reenie's body is found, the police pronounce her a suicide; Alison disagrees and begins to investigate her friend's life. The reader learns much about age and sex discrimination, spousal abuse, the effects of catastrophic illness on families and anonymous Internet communication. The result, though, is a polemical novel with poorly developed characters and predictable situations uncharacteristic of this talented author. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In Jance's latest, protagonist Ali Reynolds is a top Los Angeles TV journalist who suddenly feels the bottom fall out when she is abruptly dismissed from her job, because, at 45, she is said to be too old to attract younger viewers. Immediately afterward, she discovers her husband's infidelities with several younger women. Then Ali receives word that her best friend has been found dead, an apparent suicide. To nurse her wounds, Ali returns to her hometown of Sedona, AZ, where she immediately becomes involved in "investigating" her friend's death. During the course of her investigation, Ali begins blogging, chronicling her every move on her web site cutlooseblog.com. Her enormously personal, detailed, and undisguised entries predictably bring Ali a great deal of heartache. The entire blogging subplot is trite, unnecessary, and doesn't fit with the character. Edge of Evil is supposed to be a thriller, but it delves into so many other issues (infidelity, age discrimination, computer technology, terminal illness, etc.), it is hard to figure out the real subject of the book. Despite the disappointing plot and average writing, the audio production is -really quite good. Kris Faulkner gives a fine and engaging performance and handles the multiple characterizations very well. Not an essential purchase; best suited for mystery collections in large public libraries.-Nicole A. Cooke, Montclair State Univ. Lib., NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
People Magazine
"Jance delivers a devilish page-turner."

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Ali Reynolds Series , #1
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Edge of Evil

By J. Jance

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 J. Jance
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060828412

Chapter One

When Alison Reynolds left the studio after the eleven o'clock news, she was amazed to find Cliff Baker, the news director, waiting out in the hall. He was usually gone for the day by then, or else he was out in the parking lot toking up.

"Talk to you a minute, Ali?" he said in that clipped almost rude tone of his, one that made his smallest requests come across as issued orders.

Ali was whipped. She had started that morning as the featured speaker for a YWCA fund-raising breakfast. At noon she had MC-ed an American Cancer Society-sponsored charity event. In the process she had driven from one end of LA to the other. She had also co-anchored two evening live news broadcasts-one at six and the other at eleven. She was ready to go home, kick off her high heels, and put her feet up. Looking at Cliff's uncompromising face, she knew he wouldn't take no for an answer.

She summoned a tired but necessary smile. "Sure, Cliff. What's up?"

That's when she noticed Eduardo Duarte, a uniformed security guard, standing off to one side and hovering awkwardly in the background. Ali knew Eddie and his wife Rosa. They had met in a hospital room on a juvenile cancer ward where she had gone to cheer them up while the Duarte's three-year-old son, Alonso, had been undergoing treatment-successful treatment it turned out-for leukemia. Ali Reynolds was, after all, the station's unofficial but very committed one-woman cancer research and treatment spokesperson.

This status had been a natural aftermath of her first husband's death from an inoperable brain tumor at age twenty-four, twenty-two years earlier. His death had left Ali a widow at age twenty-three-widowed and seven months pregnant. Christopher had been born two full months after his father's death. Since then, Ali had been a tireless crusader for cancer research. She walked in Relays for Life, participated in Races for the Cure, and did countless cancer-related public appearances whenever possible. And private appearances as well.

For most of the on-air folks at the station, Eduardo Duarte was just another nameless, faceless security guard who checked IDs as employees came and went through the front lobby. For Ali, Eddie was far more than that. She had been with the Duartes in the hospital waiting room and had held their hands during the dark time when no one had known for sure whether or not their child would survive.

"Hey, Eddie," she said. "How's my man, 'Lonso?"

"He's okay, I guess, Ms. Reynolds," Eddie answered, but he kept his eyes averted. That's when Ali tumbled to the fact that Cliff Baker's hallway ambush meant trouble.

"What's going on, Cliff?" she asked.

Six months earlier Clifford Baker had been brought on board to "fix" things. At least that was the way the story was told to the news team at the staff meeting when Cliff was introduced. But what had been bad then was still bad now. It was hard to win the ratings game when there were too many people out in the parking lot smoking joints before and after their shifts; when there were too many people hiding out in their offices with too many lines of coke going up their noses. And Ali Reynolds long suspected that one of those problem noses belonged to Cliff Baker.

"The ratings still suck," he said.

Ali didn't say anything. She was over forty in a world in which thirty-five meant on-air womenfolk were nearing the end of their sell-by date. Standing there in the hallway, breathing the sweet perfume of marijuana smoke wafting off Cliff's rumpled sports jacket, Ali knew exactly what was coming. There was a certain inevitability to the whole process, and Ali wasn't about to say something that would make Cliff's job any easier. If he was there to fire her, he would have to come right out and say so.

"We've decided to take the news team in a different direction," he said at last.

Presumably without me, Ali thought, but she kept her mouth shut.

"I know this is going to be difficult for you," Cliff continued.

Ali had known from the moment she met the man that he was a cold-blooded bastard. The supposed reluctance he was exhibiting now was all an act-a classic study in self-serving, cover-your-ass camouflage.

"And I'm sure this is going to seem hard-hearted," he went on, shaking his head reluctantly, "but we have to let you go. We'll pay you until the end of your contract, of course, and then I'm sure there'll be some severance pay, but after that . . ." He shrugged.

With the news broadcast ended, there were other people coming and going in the hallway. Ali noticed that they all gave the three people standing outside the newsroom door a wide berth. Ali wondered, How many of you knew this was coming?

She had noticed a few sidelong glances of late-quiet conversations that would die away as soon as she came into the room and resume once she left-but in the cutthroat world of television, she hadn't thought them anything out of the ordinary. Now she knew better, but she couldn't afford to think about her spineless co-workers just then. Instead, she remained focused on Cliff.

"Why?" Ali asked. "Why do you have to let me go?"

This was a good journalistic gambit. Go for the Ws-who, what, why, where, when, and sometimes how. She was never quite sure how the word how had been added to the mix of Ws, or why it was considered to be one, but when taking journalism classes from stodgy professors whose grading meant everything, it's a good idea to avoid questioning the conventional wisdom.

"For the good of the team," Cliff answered at once.

Ali Reynolds came from good Scandinavian stock. She was a natural blonde who could, on occasion, summon a suitably dumb-blonde persona. It was a gambit that had suckered more than one unsuspecting male interviewee into saying more than he intended. Cliff, dyed-in-the-wool male chauvinist that he was, took the bait.


Excerpted from Edge of Evil by J. Jance Copyright © 2005 by J. Jance. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

J. A. Jance is the New York Times bestselling author of the J. P. Beaumont series, the Joanna Brady series, the Ali Reynolds series, and five interrelated thrillers about the Walker family, as well as a volume of poetry. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.

Brief Biography

Bellevue, Washington
Date of Birth:
October 27, 1944
Place of Birth:
Watertown, South Dakota
B. A., University of Arizona, 1966; M. Ed. in Library Science, University of Arizona, 1970

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Edge of Evil (Ali Reynolds Series #1) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 93 reviews.
pkpurs More than 1 year ago
I have recommended this book to my friends! J A Jance is one of the best writers I have read! I have read every one of her books about J P Beaumont and Joanna Brady series! I am now reading the Ali Reynolds series. I love the series books because they make you feel like you are part of the book. The same people are in each book. Would definitely recommend all of her books!
GS23 More than 1 year ago
This is a great story about life handing you lemons and you make lemonade. The author makes you feel like you know the characters and they are your friends. And the main character keeps on going even after all of the problems she runs into. The story keeps moving so you never feel that you have to get throught the "boring parts".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did enjoy reading the book. I have purchased the second book in the series and am excited to read. I am thinking this might be a good series to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really did enjoy this book. The last two thirds of the book were very exciting! I plan on reading more by this author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the start of a new series from the author of the Joanna Brady series. As a series starter, this one is pretty good and has all the potential to equal the previous series. Don't expect this to be like the other series, though. Ali Reynolds is an entirely different character than Joanna Brady. She had a much different background and lifestyle. Her motivations are unique to her character as well so she does things a bit differently. I like this series and will look forward to reading the future installments. Stephanie Clanahan
Mamapow More than 1 year ago
Compelling enough to keep me up for the last 100 pages. The author does a good job keeping you wondering and writes in a way that draws you in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read, my first by this author.... i bought 2, 3, & 4!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read all the JP Beaumont series and loved them and htis series seems to be headed in a gret new direction. It's worth the quick read.
Frogbilli More than 1 year ago
IMHO, this is her best book since the Beaumont series. Reynolds is a very likable, believable character. Plot is smooth with just enough steam to add interest. A real page turner and can't wait for the next in the series.
Mamae_red More than 1 year ago
JA Jance did a very good job with this book and the rest in the series. It was an easy read. I couldn't put the book down. Glad to see another great series from Jance. This book will not disappoint. Ali Reynolds is an amazing character.
1-4-2 More than 1 year ago
This book is a great read! The Author weaves her story feeding you just enough pieces to the puzzle to keep you wanting to read more.
Lady1 More than 1 year ago
I always enjoyed JA Jance. I am pretty sure that this was my second reading of this book. I read it years ago. It held my interest as if I had not read it before. That says a lot for a book. The setting in Sedona was so well portrayed. Having been to Sedona several times it was fun to be able to picture the background for the story. This was a mystery that was difficult to put down. Enjoy!!
jen22662 More than 1 year ago
first Jance book I've read. Very good! Loook forward to reading more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book to get you started in the Ali Reynolds series. It was a quick read and immediately got you involved with the characters. I you are looking for a book that is immediately interesting and easy to read this one is for you.
CAC-Seattle More than 1 year ago
After JP Beaumont and Joanna Brady, Ali Reynolds (like the others) has hooked me. JAJ's writing style and plot twists and turns take you into the life of a former LA news anchor and all she encounters. Like the other two series, you really have to read them in order. I did not know about the Ali Reynolds series until I surfed the B&N website. I hadn't read a JAJ book in quite some time and wanted to see what she had out there. This book is the reason why I am currently reading #2 in the series and why I'll continue reading the Ali Reynolds series.
itonilav More than 1 year ago
I read about half way thru the book and then I just couldn't put it down until I read the very last page. I have also purchased the next 4 in this series. Itonilav
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a big JP Beaumont fan, I expected Jance's new character to be a lot more interesting. Unfortunately, she's boring and the plot is just plain unbelievable.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like all Jance series so far.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Didn't want to put it down.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I haven't read a jance book that wasn't a winner!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago