Thursday, November 19, 2009

Trial by Fire-J. A. Jance

Trial by Fire
J. A. Jance
Touchstone, Dec 1 2009, $25.99
ISBN: 9781416563808

In Sedona, Arizona, former TV reporter Ali Reynolds obtains a media-relations position with the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Department. Ali knows to tread carefully as her predecessor Information Officer Devon Ryan, on administrative leave pending an investigation into illegal activity, got into a physical altercation with Cononimo Courier reporter Oscar Reyes who may sue the department for the black eye he received at a news conference.

Ali handles the press as the cops investigate a suspicious fire that left a Jane Doe barely alive with third degree burns, an ability to communicate by winking only, and amnesia. Also at Saint Gregory’s Hospital is Sister Anselm, known as the "Angel of Death," for her nurturing of unidentified patients; she provides comfort to the latest injured soul. Meanwhile Ali sneaks into the burn unit to obtain more information from the victim while a killer targets the nursing nun, but soon teams up with the Sister.

In her latest case (see Cruel Intentions), readers need to ignore why a public relations specialist would investigate an attempted murder-arson because this is an engaging amateur sleuth tale that fans will enjoy although the action is limited as Ali mostly works her Mojo in the burn unit. Still fans will appreciate the teaming up of the nun and the former reporter as they make an intriguing pairing working together to solve the mystery.

Harriet Klausner