Ali Reynolds Series Book 17
J. A. Jance
March 14th, 2023
Collateral Damage by J. A. Jance blends a very twisted story involving security, battered women, organized crime, murders, corruption, and revenge. It is told from different points of view between High Noon characters, several police forces, and investigators trying to piece together a puzzle that spans many different jurisdictions.
“This book took a whole year to write. In 2022 I was working on it. After writing nine chapters I handed the draft over to my husband, Bill. He handed it back to me and said, ‘I cannot read this. It is a mess.’ He is a very brave man. I reread what I had written, and he was correct, it was a mess. What was wrong, is that the bad guy had not appeared in the first quarter of the book. There was no foundation in the first draft. I did a complete rewrite. Bill, my agent, and my new editor all liked the new story.”
“These days the press has the police as bad, uncaring, and evil. A scene in the story really underscores how much the police characters in the books cared. I had goosebumps when I wrote it. The bad guy from the Arizona Highway Patrol is arrogant and an a-hole. But all the others are good and are lined up against evil. The vast majority are not bad. Part of the purpose of this book is to give their stories, such as Hal.”
Ali and her husband B. Simpson are drawn into the situation when B’s airport shuttle is run off the road, with he and the driver hospitalized. Was B. the target or just collateral damage since the driver was a retired detective?
The added twist is that B. suspects someone might have tried to prevent him from attending a London Conference on cyber security. He insists that Ali take his place at a ransomware conference in London. But she knows she would be an inadequate substitute, so she convinces Cami, an assistant, to make the presentation with Ali as the face of the company.
Jance has an uncanny way of bringing the plots together. Ali and company unravel this complex plot that allows readers some thrilling scenes.
Readers soon learn about Frank Muñoz, a disgraced former cop, out on parole after twenty years. He is focused on revenge for those who helped to put him behind bars: The wife who abandoned him after his arrest, the mistress who ratted him out for abetting a money-laundering scheme, and the detectives who presided over his case all those years ago.