Clawback, by JA Jance*****

clawbackI’m a long time reader of novels by JA Jance, but until I read this new release, I would have told you that her Arizona series are second string efforts compared to the JP Beaumont titles set in Seattle. Not anymore! Thank you to Net Galley and Touchstone Publishers for the DRC, which I read in exchange for an honest review. The book will be available to the public March 8.

Ali Reynolds is our protagonist. Her parents have retired, investing their lifelong savings with a company that turns out to be involved in a Ponzi scheme. Ali’s father goes to see his investment agent, who has also been a close friend for decades, and finds him dying. In attempting to revive him and another person, Dad gets the victims’ blood all over himself, and so he is suspected of murder when he calls 911. In an effort to help clear her father, Ali, along with her parents and those with whom she works at High Noon, unravels one layer after another of deception and danger.

Those that read my reviews know that I am always sensitive to the subtext. In addition to telling a well woven, technically savvy tale of suspense, Jance is brilliant here in the way she crafts her female characters. She takes apart almost every conceivable stereotype without pausing the story’s pace or becoming preachy or conspicuous. As the mother of a half-Asian daughter, I particularly appreciated the development of Cami. But even for those that don’t care much about social issues as reflected in text, it’s a tightly wound tale that will leave any reader leaning forward in their easy chair, straining to get to that last page and the denouement.

Besides enjoying the mystery, I also learned some things. I had never heard of a “clawback”, a terrible law that has to do with penalties that are assessed victims of Ponzi schemes, and I had also never heard of a “Silver alert”. I read a lot of nonfiction, but Jance’s new book is a great reminder that we can learn things from fiction too, and it’s often more fun that way.

Highly recommended to everyone.

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