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Collateral Damage: An Ali Reynolds Mystery


Collateral Damage: An Ali Reynolds Mystery

During a March 13th appearance at the Apache Junction Public Library in Arizona, J.A. Jance announced that her September 2023 release, BLESSING OF THE LOST GIRLS, will feature characters from both her Joanna Brady and Walker Family series. Many who showed up well over an hour early were unable to find seats, but they were assured by library personnel that Jance had graciously agreed to address another fully seated group with a second session.

COLLATERAL DAMAGE, her 17th Ali Reynolds mystery, was set to release the next day, so excited attendees enjoyed a hot-off-the-presses book signing.

"COLLATERAL DAMAGE is about a dangerous man’s crusade that will place everyone in his path in peril.... Jance has crafted another stunning cliffhanger, and fans like me are lucky to have a second book of hers to look forward to later this year."

In this latest installment, Ali Reynolds and her husband, B. Simpson, founding partner of High Noon Enterprises, awaits B.’s usual driver. Hal Holden is a retired homicide detective who frequently drives B. to Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport on his many international business trips. B. has been invited to speak at a prestigious conference in London on ransomware. In attendance will be worldwide executives and potential clients. Ali, who runs the business end of High Noon, will stay behind. Her father recently passed away, so she wants to remain close to her grieving mother.

It’s New Years Day, and traffic is light, but Hal notes a Silverado pickup truck tailgating his Lincoln Continental. Suddenly the vehicle pulls out and rams Hal’s car, pushing it over the embankment, tumbling end over end, and finally coming to rest upside down. Emergency vehicles arrive, and B. and Hal are helicoptered to a Phoenix hospital. B. will need surgery for a fractured shoulder, but Hal is in critical condition. The truck is found in flames a few miles off the road, causing a raging brush fire and a major traffic jam.

Because of the holiday, Cami Lee, one of High Noon’s computer gurus, is holding down the fort where the computer room’s CPUs whir endlessly, searching out possible cyberattacks on customer networks around the world. It is only when watchful algorithms discover a possible intrusion that alarms summon human intervention and awakens Frigg, their AI program. A police radio that runs all day in the computer room reports on the overturned car, which Cami recognizes as belonging to Hal.

Ali rushes to the hospital and finds B. conscious but in a lot of pain. Clearly he is in no shape to attend the conference, so he insists that Ali go to London in his place. She barely knows anything about ransomware, so Cami will accompany her. Ali is a proven public speaker but will need help with the details if questions come up.

Frank Muñoz is a disgraced former cop who is out on parole after being released from the Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex, where he learned some valuable lessons. Many of his fellow inmates are guilty of financial transgressions such as fraud, corruption, tax evasion, money laundering and drug dealing. The prison library is stocked with a collection of law books, but when it comes to finding answers, most of these prisoners have no idea where to start. Frank had accepted his conviction without bargaining for reduced sentences, negotiating plea deals or naming names. Given a choice between doing business with a crooked cop who isn’t a snitch and a crooked lawyer who is, Frank becomes the go-to man to answer legal questions from inmates eager to share their experiences. Finding a hit man is a skill he learns from them, and boy does he have some axes to grind.

COLLATERAL DAMAGE is about a dangerous man’s crusade that will place everyone in his path in peril. A vendetta of grudges, cold cases and bitterness leads to unsolved murders dating back to 1997. The question for Ali and B. is: Was the fiery crash an accident, or was one of the men in the car the target? A determined California police captain remains suspicious of Ali. Would she want her husband dead to inherit the company’s fortune? Jance has crafted another stunning cliffhanger, and fans like me are lucky to have a second book of hers to look forward to later this year.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on March 23, 2023

Collateral Damage: An Ali Reynolds Mystery
by J.A. Jance

  • Publication Date: October 24, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • ISBN-10: 1982189169
  • ISBN-13: 9781982189167