TRIAL BY FIRE
Ali Reynolds is feisty and formidable, with a canny eye for detail and a gut instinct for trouble. Yet she has an underlying vulnerability that makes her appealing. Jance's intricately laid plots (one overlapping the other), peppered with red herrings, and her characters' repartee demands attention readers won't regret giving.
A former TV news journalist, Ali reluctantly takes a media relations job for the Yavapi County Police Department and finds her talent for solving crimes put to the test after a suspicious fire leaves behind an amnesiac and badly burned victim. When the woman's advocate, the mysterious Sister Anselm, asks for her help, Ali is drawn into a family drama of jealousy, pettiness and greed. She realizes that by finding the injured woman's family, she might be setting her up for even more malevolent forces. (TOUCHSTONE, Dec., 357 pp., $25.99)