by Theodore Feit
J.A. Jance will be signing copies of Cold Betrayal at Mysterious Galaxy, 5943 Balboa Avenue, Suite #100, San Diego, California on March 18 at 7:30 p.m. At the end of this post is a link to purchase a copy of the book from Mysterious Galaxy if you can’t be at the signing. If you order before the event you can ask for a signed copy. There are also instructions at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Cold Betrayal. And we have an interesting interview with J.A. Jance here after our review.
This is a numbered event – numbers for the signing line are free with the purchase of Cold Betrayal from Mysterious Galaxy, available March 10. If you are planning to attend the event, please do not place your order through the website as all such orders are processed after the event. Instead, please come by or call the store and purchase the book on or after the on-sale date.
Cold Betrayal By J.A Jance
Review by Theodore Feit
This series is one of three that J.A. Jance writes and it is interesting to see how Ali Reynolds has evolved as a character along the way, from TV anchor, sheriff’s deputy and a questionable marriage to the newlywed wife of B. Simpson, and who gets deeply involved in contemporary situations. In this latest novel, two subjects, if not three, arise: polygamous cults, elderly persons being taken advantage of and perhaps, the mistreatment of women. How’s that for a mouthful?
It all starts a dozen years ago when a teen-age mother takes her baby and runs away from a group called The Family in Colorado Springs, AZ, only to end up in the hospital barely alive. Sister Anselm is called to serve as her advocate, but both patients die from the apparent beatings they had endured. Then history seems to repeat itself, as a lone pregnant woman is hit by a car on a remote country road near Flagstaff and the Sister is again called to serve. As a result, Sister Anselm and Ali, who has been asked to help, are drawn into a situation that leads to a much more frightening scenario.
Meanwhile, Ali becomes involved with the plight of her daughter-in-law’s grandmother, whose competency is being questioned. Apparently, one night the grandmother is awakened by her dog’s barking to discover all the gas jets open and her home filled with gas. The police find no evidence of a break-in and conclude that she left them open. Consequently her son and his wife arrange for her to be examined by a doctor. Using the resources of B’s high-tech security firm, Ali arranges for the house to be wired for secret surveillance and to audit the woman’s bank accounts, from which about $60,000 has been fraudulently withdrawn.
The two plots are then used to take a look into cults and the abuse of women and the elderly. These are topics that lend themselves to an exciting p
age-turner and the author certainly knows how to weave them into an electrifying finale.
Interview with J.A. Jance:
KRL: How long have you been writing?
JAJ: I sat down to write my first novel in the middle of March of 1982. That one, by the way, was never published.
KRL: When did your first novel come out? What was it called? Can you tell us a little about it?
JAJ: Until Proven Guilty, the first J.P. Beaumont book, was published in June of 1985. It was an original paperback. There are now 22 books in that series.
KRL: Have you always written mysteries/suspense? If not what else have you written?
JAJ: I wrote three children’s books in a Child’s Personal Safety series. One of those, It’s Not Your Fault, is still in print. I also wrote a volume of poetry, After the Fire. It, too, is still in print.
KRL: What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series? Please tell us a little about the setting and main character for your most recent book.
JAJ: The book that’s coming out now is Cold Betrayal. It’s number 10 in the Ali Reynolds series. Ali is a former newscaster who lost her job and her husband in the first book, Web of Evil. She came into existence because I was perturbed when a local TV station let a long-time female newscaster go because the new news director thought she was “too old” at age 53. The books take place in Sedona, Arizona, where Ali grew up and where she goes to regain her sea legs. She’s now well established in her new life.
KRL: Do you write to entertain, or is there something more you want the readers to take away from your work?
JAJ: I write to entertain, although there are some things I know my readers take away with them. The ancient sacred job of the storyteller is to beguile the time. That’s what I do.
KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing, or just write whenever you can?
JAJ: I write every day.
KRL: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it?
JAJ: I do not outline. I have to get inside the story and stay there.
KRL: If you had your ideal, what time of day would you prefer to write?
JAJ: I usually write in the mid-morning.
KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?
JAJ: My first written novel was never published by anyone. Based on that, it’s impossible to get published. The second novel was bought by the second editor who saw it. Based on that, getting published is easy. And I’ve always had the same agent. The agent who didn’t sell my first novel has sold all the rest—more than fifty and counting.
KRL: Do you have a great rejection/critique or acceptance story you’d like to share?
JAJ: My sole NY Times review—done while I was still publishing in original paperbacks—said: “J.A. Jance has created a nice little cottage industry for herself writing her funny little books.” I would like to invite the critic to drop by and visit either one of my “nice little cottages!”
KRL: Wow lol. Most interesting book-signing story in a bookstore or other venue?
JAJ: The guy who came up to me at a grocery store grand reopening. He was waving one of the advertising brochures that had been left on the windshields of cars in the parking lot. “Are you the lady who writes murder mysteries?” “Yes,” I told him. “I’ve just been acquitted of murdering seven people. Do you want to write my book?” How do you spell n-o?!
KRL: Future writing goals?
JAJ: Finish the book I’m writing right now.
KRL: Writing heroes?
JAJ: Frank Baum, who wrote The Wizard of Oz books; Harold Bell Wright; and C. Day-Lewis.
KRL: What do you read?
JAJ: Mysteries, mostly.
KRL: Favorite TV or movies?
JAJ: New Tricks from BBC America
KRL: Any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?
JAJ: Don’t give up on your dream.
KRL: How do you feel about the growing popularity of e-books?
JAJ: E-books have been a blessing for me because when I encounter new readers, it’s easy for them to go back and find all the backlist titles. On the other hand, I try to be supportive of brick and mortar bookstores and what I call my DTRs (Dead Tree Readers). Those are the people who gave me my start.
KRL: Do you read e-books yourself?
JAJ: Yes, I do. When I went to Europe this summer I took along 17 books—and they all fit neatly into my iPad without increasing the weight of my luggage.
KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
JAJ: I’m over six feet tall, something that surprises people because, as they tell me, I don’t look tall on my book covers.
KRL: Website? Twitter? Facebook?
KRL: How do you compete in an overcrowded market?
JAJ: I keep working. I write two books a year and I do two book tours.
Don’t miss J.A.’s booksigning at Mysterious Galaxy on March 18-details above.
To enter to win a copy of Cold Betrayal, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Cold,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 21, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.
Use this link to purchase this book and a portion goes to help support KRL, and indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy: