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'

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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' 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

San Diego Union-Tribune
“An intriguing plot, colorful characters.”
Washington Times
“J.A. Jance does not disappoint her fans.”
Tucson Citizen
“Jance proves once again she is the undisputed mistress of the mystery novel.”
Dallas Morning News
“Suspenseful, action-packed.”
Entertainment Weekly
“Taut . . . entertaining.”
Orlando Sentinel
“Credible and entertaining.”
“Jance delivers a devilish page-turner.”
People Magazine
"Jance delivers a devilish page-turner."
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.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Ali Reynolds Series, #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 7.50(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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