Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Credible Threat - J.A. Jance

J.A. Jance is a prolific writer, penning numerous books in a number of series - all of which I've enjoyed. Credible Threat is the latest (15th) entry in the Ali Reynolds mysteries.

This time out, we know who the antagonist is right from the beginning. A series of threats have Archbishop Francis Gillespie asking Ali to look into things for him as the police have dismissed his concerns.

The listener comes to know the antagonist, her thoughts and actions even as Ali and her team work to put the pieces together. It is always a question - which is preferable - to know the guilty party ahead of time? Or to be along for the ride as the protagonist seeks answers? I don't really have a preference. It depends on how its presented. And I liked the way Jance unfolded things.

Listening to a J.A. Jance book is like settling in with an old friend. I've come to like and enjoy all of her characters. Jance fills out the personal side of them as well, moving along their lives with every new book. There's lots of detail as well of actions, settings and dialogue. This may have some listeners finding the pace a bit slow. I often listen while I'm doing other things such as cleaning or going for a walk. The leisurely, comfortable pace suited me perfectly with this novel. And the level of detail made the story and interactions more realistic. Character development is just as important as plotting with Jance.

There's been one new 'character' introduced in the last couple of books that I wasn't too sure of. Frigg is an AI. (Artificial Intelligence) Ali's husband B. runs a cyber security firm, so Frigg fits into things via this connection. Her use has been toned down a bit and I find it is more realistic in this book. She's also a credible and easy way to introduce new clues and evidence into the plot.

The scenario at the heart of Credible Threat isn't new, but Jance puts a nice spin on her version.

I chose to listen to Credible Threat. The reader was Karen Ziemba. Ziemba has narrated previous Ali Reynolds books, so the continuity is nice. She has a very pleasant voice, is easy to listen to and understand. She's got a calm, measured way of speaking that suits the character. She provides credible voices for supporting characters as well. She captures the emotions, action and tenor of the plot with her voice. Hear for yourself - listen to an excerpt of Credible Threat.

Another great listen from Jance. I'll be watching for her next book.

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