Trial by Fire is the fifth novel in the Ali Reynolds series by prolific author J. A. Jance. The story finds the former television journalist now living in Sedona, Arizona, relaxing after a major home remodel with her faithful butler, Leland, close at hand.
Before she can become too settled, she is invited to take on the position of media relations specialist for the Yavapai County Police Department.
Just after she joins the police department, Ali is sent to a new subdivision that has gone up in flames. She finds a lone female survivor burned beyond recognition. In her current role for the police department, Ali is relegated to the waiting room of the burn unit to help keep the media at bay.
While there, she meets Sister Anselm who works with unidentified victims on behalf of the hospital. When the two realize the burn victim's life is still in danger, they join together to not only protect the burn victim, but find out who is trying to kill her.
After some time in the burn unit, their Jane Doe comes out of her coma enough to communicate by blinking one eye. Over time, the two women realize their victim is involved in a deadly family feud lasting decades. But, who hates her enough to destroy her life in such a heinous manner?
Trial By Fire is an intriguing story. The reader and Ali spend much time in the waiting room of the burn unit. How Ali comes to realize who wanted Jane Doe dead is the core of the story.
Plot twists keep the action moving forward and several action scenes towards the end of the book further stir the readerís interest. Jance provides a satisfying finish when all is at last explained.
Most disturbing in a voyeuristic kind of way are the scenes where the reader is privy to the thoughts of the burn victim. It is easy to get pulled into the frustration Jane Doe experiences because of her lack of ability to communicate with those around her.
Anyone who is an Ali Reynolds fan will enjoy seeing how she outsmarts the antagonist. If this is your first opportunity to read one of the novels in this series, you will want to check out the previous books to further become acquainted with Ali and her family.
Jance is also the author of the long running J. P. Beaumont mystery series, as well as the Joanna Brady mystery series. She has also written several stand-alone novels.
A special thank you goes to Touchstone Books for providing a complementary copy of Trial by Fire for review. If you are interest in purchasing Trial by Fire, or any other J. A. Jance novel, you can find them at Amazon.com.