Collateral Damage by J.A. Jance
320 pages, ebook
Publication March 14, 2023
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Taken from Goodreads: Ali Reynolds and High Noon Enterprises face the dangerous consequences of one man’s desperate search for revenge in this unputdownable thriller from J.A. Jance, the New York Times bestselling author who “has been delivering must-read books for a long time” (The Real Book Spy).
After spending twenty years behind bars, Frank Muñoz, a disgraced former cop, is out on parole and focused on just one thing: revenge. The wife who abandoned him after his arrest, the mistress who ratted him out for abetting a money-laundering scheme, the detectives who presided over his case all those years ago—they all have targets on their backs.
For Ali Reynolds, the first Christmas without her father is riddled with grief and uncertainty. And with her husband and founding partner of High Noon Enterprises, B. Simpson, preoccupied by an upcoming New Year’s trip to London, she is ready for a break. But when Stu Ramey barges into her home with grave news about a serious—and suspicious—accident on the highway to Phoenix involving B.’s car, things reach a breaking point.
At the hospital, a groggy, post-op B. insists that Ali take his place at a ransomware conference in London, as troubles brimming around High Noon come to light. But questions remain: Who would go to such lengths to cut the tech company from the picture? And what if Ali and the rest of the team are also in danger?
My Thoughts: I was desperate for a book that I would lose myself in. J.A. Jance wrote that book. Collateral Damage is a mystery thriller that had me hooked from the first chapter and kept me turning pages until I turned the last one. Even with the last page turn, I was left wanting more.
This book tells of a suspicious car accident that Ali’s husband, B., was in. Ali cannot let it rest in the police’s hand. She does her own investigating with the help of the people at High Noon and starts to put it all together. I enjoyed watching her work to solve the mystery but also how much she takes care of B. while he works to heal.
I have read a few of the other books in the Ali Reynolds series but not them all. I really like that this series can be read as a standalone. Each book has its own mystery but is solved by the end. I am excited to find more books in this series and continue reading more of Ali Reynolds and her skills at solving mysteries.
Thank you Gallery Books for the copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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Meet J.A. Jance (Taken from Goodreads): As a second-grader in Mrs. Spangler’s Greenway School class, I was introduced to Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz series. I read the first one and was hooked and knew, from that moment on, that I wanted to be a writer.
The third child in a large family, I was four years younger than my next older sister and four years older than the next younger sibling. Being both too young and too old left me alone in a crowd and helped turn me into an introspective reader and a top student. When I graduated from Bisbee High School in 1962, I received an academic scholarship that made me the first person in my family to attend a four year college. I graduated in 1966 with a degree in English and Secondary Education. In 1970 I received my M. Ed. in Library Science. ﾠI taught high school English at Tucson’s Pueblo High School for two years and was a K-12 librarian at Indian Oasis School District in Sells, Arizona for five years.
My ambitions to become a writer were frustrated in college and later, first because the professor who taught creative writing at the University of Arizona in those days thought girls "ought to be teachers or nurses" rather than writers. After he refused me admission to the program, I did the next best thing: I married a man who was allowed in the program that was closed to me. My first husband imitated Faulkner and Hemingway primarily by drinking too much and writing too little. Despite the fact that he was allowed in the creative writing program, he never had anything published either prior to or after his death from chronic alcoholism at age forty-two. That didn’t keep him from telling me, however, that there would be only one writer in our family, and he was it.
My husband made that statement in 1968 after I had received a favorable letter from an editor in New York who was interested in publishing a children’s story I had written. Because I was a newly wed wife who was interested in staying married, I put my writing ambitions on hold. Other than writing poetry in the dark of night when my husband was asleep (see After the Fire), I did nothing more about writing fiction until eleven years later when I was a single, divorced mother with two children and no child support as well as a full time job selling life insurance. My first three books were written between four a.m. and seven a.m. At seven, I would wake my children and send them off to school. ﾠ After that, I would get myself ready to go sell life insurance.
I started writing in the middle of March of 1982. The first book I wrote, a slightly fictionalized version of a series of murders that happened in Tucson in 1970, was never published. For one thing, it was twelve hundred pages long. Since I was never allowed in the creative writing classes, no one had ever told me there were some things I needed to leave out. For another, the editors who turned it down said that the parts that were real were totally unbelievable, and the parts that were fiction were fine. ﾠMy agent finally sat me down and told me that she thought I was a better writer of fiction than I was of non-fiction. Why, she suggested, didn’t I try my hand at a novel?
The result of that conversation was the first Detective Beaumont book, Until Proven Guilty. Since 1985 when that was published, there have been 24 more Beau books. My work also includes 19 Joanna Brady books set in southeastern Arizona where I grew up, 115 Ali Reynolds books, set in Sedona, AZ, and five novellas.ﾠ In addition there are five thrillers, starting with Hour of the Hunter and Kiss of the Bees, that reflect what I learned during the years when I was teaching on the Tohono O'Odham reservation west of Tucson, Arizona.
The week before Until Proven Guilty was published, I did a poetry reading of After the Fire at a widowed retreat sponsored by a group called WICS (Widowed Information Consultation Services) of King County. By June of 1985, it was five years after my divorce in 1980 and two years after my former husband’s death. ﾠI went to the retreat feeling as though I hadn’t quite had my ticket punched and didn’t deserve to be there. After all, the other people there were all still married when their spouses died. I was divorced. At the retreat I met a man whose wife had died of breast cancer two years to the day and within a matter of minutes of the time my husband died. We struck up a conversation based on that coincidence. Six months later, to the dismay of our five children, we told the kids they weren’t the Brady Bunch, but they'd do, and we got married. We now have four new in-laws as well as six grandchildren.
When my second husband and I first married, he supported all of us–his kids and mine as well as the two of us. It was a long time before my income from writing was anything more than fun money–the Improbable Cause trip to Walt Disney World; the Minor in Possession memorial powder room; the Payment in Kind memorial hot tub. Eventually, however, the worm turned. My husband was able to retire at age 54 and took up golf and oil painting.
One of the wonderful things about being a writer is that everything–even the bad stuff–is usable. The eighteen years I spent while married to an alcoholic have helped shape the experience and character of Detective J. P. Beaumont. My experiences as a single parent have gone into the background for Joanna Brady–including her first tentative steps toward a new life after the devastation of losing her husband in Desert Heat. ﾠ And then there’s the evil creative writing professor in Hour of the Hunter and Kiss of the Bees, but that’s another story.
Another wonderful part of being a writer is hearing from fans. I learned on the reservation that the ancient, sacred charge of the storyteller is to beguile the time. I’m thrilled when I hear that someone has used my books to get through some particularly difficult illness either as a patient or as they sit on the sidelines while someone they love is terribly ill. It gratifies me to know that by immersing themselves in my stories, people are able to set their own lives aside and live and walk in someone else’s shoes. It tells me I’m doing a good job at the best job in the world.