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Moving Target by J.A. Jance

Moving Target” is the 9th in Jance’s Ali Reynolds Mysteries series and is one of the most satisfying in the Reynolds saga.  With this book the major characters have reached pretty complete development.  Ali knows what she wants in her life and is going for it.  Her butler-companion, Leland also becomes a focus of the “Moving Target” storyline and we learn a lot more about him and where he comes from.  Sister Anselm is back and helps to shape the story of a young fire victim and amputee who’s life is in danger because he won’t give up a computer program he wrote to hack into computers without being discovered.  As usual, Jance has two or three major themes all going at one time and several murders and kidnappings to keep the suspense constantly at a high level.

Ali and Leland go to England to visit Leland’s nephew and possibly reconcile with his sisters-in-law and other relatives.  Ali decides it is a good opportunity to shop for a wedding dress for her Christmastime wedding to B. Simpson, the computer security consultant.  At the same time, a young man who B.’s company helped to put into prison for breaking into his high school’s computer system is injured in a fire and a fall from a ladder while he is decorating a Christmas tree in the prison’s recreation center.  B. gets involved because the fire seems suspicious and B. believes the boy got a raw deal by being given the maximum sentence for doing something lots of kids try. Besides, the young man has created a computer program that B. would very much like to buy.  It seems that other computer companies would just like to steal the program from the young man.  As the story unfolds it appears that people who try to help the young man, Lance, are threatened or kidnapped, and the police are slow to respond to the threat.  B. makes sure Sister Anselm is put in place as a patient advocate to keep Lance safe while he is hospitalized with his injuries.

Meanwhile, back in England, Leland finds out that his father was murdered 30 years before and apparently was willing to accept the fact that Leland is gay.  For all those years Leland had believed that his father disowned him because of his sexual orientation.  Ali helps to investigate who was really involved in killing Leland’s father and disparaging Leland’s name within the family ranks.

Moving Target” displays J.A. Jance’s usual complex plots and twists and turns in the storyline to keep the reader thoroughly engrossed.

Liz Nichols


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