Ali Reynolds's life is filled with lawyers. When she turned 40, she
was fired from her newscasting job at a major network, so she hired
an attorney to defend her in an age discrimination suit. Then, when
her network executive husband, Paul Grayson, threw her over for a
young, extremely pregnant younger woman, a messy divorce --- and
another bank of lawyers --- soon followed. As WEB OF EVIL opens,
Ali has agreed to come to Los Angeles from her new home in Sedona,
Arizona, to sign the divorce papers.
As she races through the night to make the 10:00 a.m. court
appearance (which would allow her husband to get married in the
afternoon), she notices lights flashing and oncoming emergency
vehicles heading for an accident scene near a railroad crossing in
the remote Mohave Desert.
Ali won't find out until later the next day that the victim of the
car/train incident is her husband. He wasn't driving, but was bound
and gagged in the trunk of the car, and left abandoned on the
railroad tracks. Before the day is out, she'll be hiring yet
another attorney --- this time it's the best defense lawyer money
can buy --- as she becomes the prime suspect in her husband's
In the eyes of the LA police, Ali had plenty of motive and --- when
they find out that she was in the vicinity of the car wreck ---
opportunity. His will, worth millions of dollars, wasn't scheduled
to be changed in favor of his bride until after the wedding
ceremony. What follows is a complicated high-stakes trail tracing
the producers of a new reality show, money laundering schemes and a
gold-digging mother of the bride who seems intent on making certain
that Ali is charged with Paul's murder.
Ali writes a popular Internet blog, called Cutloose.com, where she
chronicles the trials and tribulations of a young woman set free by
circumstances. She makes it clear that she's more than happy to be
rid of Paul, or Fang as she refers to him, and fans read and
respond to her entries with increasing support and concern. She
tries to keep up with her blog, which only adds fuel to the fire as
she inadvertently makes incriminating statements before she or
anyone else knows that Paul is dead. Once she becomes a suspect,
she is cautioned to take a break from blogging. But frightening
entries and threats begin to appear.
When the bride's mother turns up dead, the net tightens around Ali
as the suspect in another suspicious death.
Ali's mom, who runs a diner in Sedona, shows up to help, and an old
school chum who is a cop comes out to LA to assist her in finding
the real killer.
WEB OF EVIL is the second in a newly developing series for J. A.
Jance. The first, EDGE OF EVIL, introduced readers to Ali. Other
well-known and favorite characters in prior series are the famous
J.P. Beaumont, the now-aging Seattle cop who made Jance a household
name among mystery readers, and Joanna Brady, the Cochise County
sheriff in the Arizona series.
Reviewed by Roz Shea on January 24, 2011