Monday, October 8, 2007

Hand of Evil-J.A. Jance

Hand of Evil
J.A. Jance
Touchstone, Dec 2007, $25.95
ISBN: 9781416537533

Arabella Ashcroft was partially responsible for Ali Reynolds receiving a scholarship that allowed her to go to college. Arabella summons Ali to her home; she tells her that the nephew Billy she never met wants money or he will have her committed. She is afraid having been confined in a facility before. She gives a diary to Ali that states Billy’s father sexually assaulted her. With Ali’s help her plan is to blackmail the blackmailer into leaving her alone.

If that is not enough to disturb Ali’s equilibrium, her friend Dave Holman has a daughter Crystal, a sexually abused teen, who runs away from her mother’s home to be with her father. Ali has to take care of her since her father, a police officer, is working a case. Crystal lies at every opportunity and runs way in between fabrications. Crystal saw someone beaten almost to death and Ari finds and followed f the criminal but lost him. He tracks Ali down at the hospital where he plans to finish his victim off. Ali is taken hostage by this insane person who holds a gun on her. Help comes from people she barely knows risking their lives though the outcome remains in doubt. Later on Ali is taken hostage by someone she trusts.

Fans of the taut suspense of Mary Higgins Clark and P.J. Tracey will want to read HANDS OF EVIL, a tale that keeps the tension in the stratosphere. The story line never takes a respite as action occurs in every chapter. What the heroine goes through would put many people in an institution suffering from battle fatigue syndrome; yet Ali displays courage and tenacity as she handles a series of devastating mental blows while maintaining her sanity.

Harriet Klausner
Harriet Klausner