Publisher: Simon & Schustee, Feb. 18, 2014
Fellow bloggers, particularly Barbara at Views From the Countryside, have been singing the praises of J.A. Jance. They love her mysteries, especially those in series format. I promised myself I would read one in 2014. Then I learned that Ms. Jance was about to publish her 50th novel. What an amazing accomplishment! When the publisher offered a review copy, I knew I had to read this one.
Moving Target is Book #9 in the author’s Ali Reynolds series. It’s an ambitious novel. There are two fairly complicated mysteries, one in England and one in Texas. Fortunately, there are two strong characters to handle the two mysteries.
Ali Reynolds has traveled with her eighty-plus year old friend/property manager to England. Leland hasn’t seen his family in decades after a fall-out with his father. Now Lance is hesitatingly returning for a family reunion. Ali is along for moral support. Ali also learns that Leland’s father died mysteriously. At one time Leland was suspected of murdering him. Now Leland wants closure and he urges Ali to help him dig into the case.
Meanwhile Ali’s fiancé B. (that’s what he goes by) is looking into the “accident” of a high school-aged young man he had helped put in jail. The young man, Lance, is a genius-level computer hacker. B. had helped track Lance down after he hacked into his school system as a protest.
When Lance is seriously burned and his legs broken, the authorities believe it was a suicide attempt. B. disagreed. He suspects a murder attempt. The question is why. Why would someone want Lance dead? B. feels responsible and personally connected. He wants to figure out what really happened and why.
The characters and the details are what makes the difference in this story. It was so well written and the author did such a great job of juggling both mysteries. While I was reading the first few chapters I thought it was going too slow, but, as I went on, I was glad the author set the stage for me. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t read the previous eight books. Number 9 stood alone on it’s own quite nicely.
Thanks to Barbara and all the bloggers who have recommended J.A. Jance. Now I’ll join their ranks and recommend her to you.