When an old friend is accused of murdering a cyber-sociopath who courted women over the Internet only to steal all of their money, Ali Reynolds steps in to investigate—Jance’s newest mystery is another New York Times bestseller!
Ali Reynolds begins the summer thinking her most difficult challenge will be surviving a six-week-long course as the lone forty-something female at the Arizona Police Academy—not to mention taking over the 6 a.m. shift at her family’s restaurant while her parents enjoy a long overdue Caribbean cruise. However, when Brenda Riley, a colleague from Ali’s old news broadcasting days in California, shows up in town with an alcohol problem and an unlikely story about a missing fiancé, Ali reluctantly agrees to help.
The man posing as Brenda’s fiancé is revealed to be Richard Lowensdale, a cyber-sociopath who has left a trail of broken hearts in his virtual wake. When he is viciously murdered, the women he once victimized are considered suspects. The police soon focus their investigation on Brenda, who is already known to have broken into Richard’s home and computer before vanishing without a trace. Attempting to clear her friend’s name, Ali is quickly drawn into a web of online intrigue that may lead to a real-world fatal error.
Near the start of Jance's entertaining sixth Ali Reynolds thriller (after Trial by Fire), ex-TV anchor Ali agrees to meet Brenda Riley, a former news colleague, at a Peoria, Ariz., bar. Drunk and out of control, Brenda complains to Ali that she can't reach her fianc , Richard Lattimer, whom she met online but has never met in person. Brenda hasn't even seen his photograph. The shadowy fianc turns out to be Richard Lowensdale, a cyber stalker who starts intense relationships online, proposes marriage, then blocks the women's e-mails. When Richard is murdered five months later at his Grass Valley, Calif., home, Brenda, who uncovered his hobby and was exposing him to other victims, becomes the likely suspect. Jance keeps firm control of a believable yet complex plot that spins on contemporary issues of cyber stalking and the economic downturn. Spread over several months, the plot never stalls and leads to a logical and exciting finale.