J.A. Jance is an author I've read for years. She writes many series and I'm hard pressed to pick a favourite. Duel to the Death is the latest in the Ali Reynolds series.
From the publisher:
"After taking down the man responsible for his best friend’s death, Stuart Ramey thinks the case is finally closed. That is, until Stu finds himself left with a multimillion dollar fortune in Bitcoin in a desperate bid by Frigg, a rogue A.I. program created by the killer, to keep itself from being fully deactivated.
To sort out his situation and take Frigg down for good, Stu enlists the help of Ali Reynolds and the rest of his cyber security colleagues at High Noon Enterprises. But they are not the only ones who know about Frigg’s existence.
Graciella Miramar, an unassuming accountant to all appearances, is actually the right-hand woman to El Pescado, the leader of a dangerous drug cartel. She’ll do anything to get her hands on that program. With Frigg’s help, Graciella hopes to take over her father’s criminal underworld and become wealthy beyond her wildest dreams. But Stu—and El Pescado and his henchmen—may not be so easily defeated."
Now, I hadn't read the plot summary before I started listening. I did find it a bit odd - an AI and a cartel connection in the first two chapters. I kept listening, waiting for Ali and her team to make an appearance. It's these recurring characters that keep me revisiting Jance's works. And I was happy to reconnect....but...
Listening provides a different experience and outlook on a novel than reading does. And here's where Duel to the Death fell down for me. The amount of detail and minutiae become overwhelming. Now, this is also what makes Jance's novels feel like visiting old friends. But in this case it became distracting, boring and wandered away too often from the main plot. And I lost interest. I tried a second time but just couldn't get past the rambling or interested again in the book. Sadly, Duel to the Death is a DNF for me.
The reader was Karen Ziemba. She's a narrator I've listen to before. She's got a nice, crisp voice that is pleasant to listen to. She enunciates well and each word is clear and clean. Her voice has movement and gives animation to the words. Listen to an excerpt of Duel to the Death.
Here's some reviews from Goodreads from others who did enjoy this latest.