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Trial by Fire: A Novel of Suspense (Ali…

Trial by Fire: A Novel of Suspense (Ali Reynolds Series) (original 2009; edition 2010)

by J. A. Jance (Author)

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363929,902 (3.63)5
Title:Trial by Fire: A Novel of Suspense (Ali Reynolds Series)
Authors:J. A. Jance (Author)
Info:Pocket Star (2010), Edition: Reprint, 416 pages
Collections:Your library, Audio books, Awaiting Review
Tags:CD RKD, #9

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Trial by Fire: A Novel of Suspense by J. A. Jance (2009)



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A fire erupts in two houses being built outside the city limits of Casa Verde, Arizona. When the volunteer fire department arrives, they find a woman in one of the two houses.

She is not a squatter, she didn’t set the fire, she is nude and her clothes are missing. ATF is involved because the fires are believed to be set by ELF, an eco-terrorist group.

Sister Anselm, the nursing sister who is been caring for the fire victim, and with the help of Ali Reynolds, police media representative, is trying to identify her and prevent a possible second attack from occurring.

I sat down and read this book in one straight period, I simply could not set it down.
It is a suspenseful mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat all night. This is the 4th book in this series but can be read as a standalone novel. Now, I am going to read all the series. ( )
  Bettesbooks | Oct 8, 2016 |
This wasn't a bad read. The main character seems a bit too insightful and perfect, solving the mystery without a lot of police assistance. The story kept my interest and the pacing was solid. ( )
  kimreadthis | Aug 6, 2012 |
Set in Arizona by an author who knows it pretty well, a lady accepts a temporary job as publicity agent for Yavapai police. It turns into a hair raising and intricate job sorting out the perpetrators of an arson fire in which a woman is almost burned to death. Characterization of the burned woman's thoughts were well done. The knots all get untied eventually in what turns into a competition between agencies and authorities. A nun who ministers to badly burned people is one of the chief characters. ( )
  lopemopay | Mar 26, 2011 |
When I went to the library this week, I just couldn't resist picking up a new-to-me J. A. Jance and this one is as good as, if not better, than all of the others I've read. It's the fourth novel in the Ali Reynolds series.

As usual, Jance grabbed me with the first page which begins, "She awakened to the sound of roaring flames and to searing heat and lung-choking smoke. Maybe she was already dead and this was hell, but why would she go to hell?"

The woman realizes finally that she is alive because she knows her leg is burning. Something, a beam maybe, is holding her leg down and when she tries to move it, her hand catches fire too. This poor woman doesn't know how she got there or why, where "there" is, or even who she is. Then she sees a creature coming through the flames. He's yellow or possibly orange and he picks her up to carry her away. She thinks he's Satan and she is in hell after all, but of course he's a fireman who has entered the burning house under construction and saved her.

She awakens in the hospital in horrible pain which disappears into a cloud only when a kind nun pushes the button to give her a dose of morphine. The nun seems always to be there.

Meanwhile, Ali Reynolds has been recruited to be a temporary media relations consultant for the Yavapai Sheriff's Department in Prescott. She lives in Sedona but won't have to go to Prescott very often. Trouble is, her predecessor has been fired and no one in the department wants her there. She is called out to the fire to handle the media and at the site she notices someone has painted ELF in giant letters on one of the burning houses in this new development. The Environmental Liberation Front is an echo of a real life group that has made headlines in the western states for the last two decades or more so this is drawn right from the headlines.

Ali follows the victim to the hospital in Phoenix where she is asked to stay in the waiting room to see what develops, and incidentally to protect the victim because the person who tried to kill her is still at large and for that matter, unknown. She discovers, as I have many times, that if you sit quietly in a hospital waiting room reading (or in her case typing on a laptop), you sort of disappear into the woodwork as far as other visitors are concerned. She also becomes a confidante of Sister Anselm, the caregiver for the victim.

This wonderful story grabbed me by the collar yesterday, got me through an evening when my husband insisted on watching American Idol (ugh), and wouldn't let me go today until I finished it. The characters are real as life, and although I figured out whodunit before the end, it certainly didn't spoil finding out how Ali solved it or what became of the characters at the end. I do recommend this suspense novel. ( )
  bjmitch | Mar 18, 2011 |
I don't read much in the suspense genre, but when I found out J.A. Jance would be the keynote speaker at a local writers' conference I decided to read her work and get a book signed.

In this fifth book of the Ali Reynolds series, Ali is asked to be a media relations consultant for Yavapai County. After only a day on the job, she's called to handle the media at the scene of a tragic house fire where an older woman was found naked and severely burned. Graffiti at the scene points to the ELF, but the woman's identity remains a mystery. Ali's job takes her to the burn ward in Phoenix where she strikes an unusual friendship with Sister Anselm, a nun known as the "Angel of Death." Anselm is only called to assist unidentified persons who are near death. In this case, the nun may be closer than ever before. The arsonist is still on the loose, and Ali and the nun agree that they will try to finish the job on their Jane Doe.

I struggled to get into the first one hundred pages of the book. It's always hard to jump into the middle of a series. I had too many names thrown at me and had no clue who most of the people were (nor were they relevant to the current story). However, once the mystery woman was identified and her conflicted family came into play, I was hooked. I zoomed through the last few hundred pages. Ali is likeable enough, though I really like how the mystery pieced together. It has a very modern feel, with iPhone apps being used to save the day. That may date the book in the future, but it makes it seem current and (somewhat) realistic for now.

I don't know if I will read on with the series or Jance's other books, but I found this one enjoyable in the end. ( )
  ladycato | Oct 4, 2010 |
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Taking a media relations position with the Yavapai County Police Department, former television journalist Ali Reynolds investigates a subdivision fire and the identity of an injured amnesiac woman, a case that unleashes a family drama and a remorseless killer.… (more)

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