“The A List” by J A. Jance is book fourteen in the series featuring Ali Reynolds. Regular readers will appreciate the reconnection with Reynolds’ past, and new readers will easily follow along because all the needed information is included in the context of the narrative. The book opens with a chilling prologue; prisoner 74506, sentenced to life without parole, seeks payback. He has a prison tattoo of his “A list,” those he will kill, and Ali Reynolds’ name is the last on the list.
The narrative jumps back and forth in time as complications from Reynolds’ past come screaming to the present. The account fills in the backgrounds of both Reynolds and the key participants in one of the stories from her time as an investigative reporter in Los Angeles, the heart-wrenching tale of young man in need of a kidney transplant. Readers get an inside look as that story evolves into a complicated tale of DNA scandals, cover-ups, nightmare situations for multiple people, and a murder.
“The A List” is not just a book with another case in the long career of an interesting continuing character. Jance created a new experience for readers by building on Reynolds’ past, one that pulls readers into the action. A compelling chronology of events develops the story piece by piece, and yet the umbrella of impending doom that Jance set up in the prologue hangs over every page.
“The A List” is a riveting mixture of dark truths, current events, and collective fears; it is outstanding on every level. Jance is a superb storyteller and expertly weaves people, places, and time throughout the plot to produce a gripping story. I received a review copy of “The A List” from J. A. Jance, Simon & Schuster, and NetGalley. Readers will not put it down until the last page is turned.