Trial by Fire: A Novel of Suspense

Version: Unabridged (Abridged version available here)
Author: J.A. Jance
Narrator: Karen Ziemba
Genres: Thriller
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published In: December 2009
# of Units: 9 CDs
Length: 10 hours, 30 minutes
Ratings:
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Overview

In the heat of the Arizona desert, a raging fire pushes temperatures to a deadly degree, and one woman is left to burn. Pulled naked and barely breathing from the fire, the victim has no idea who she is, let alone who would do this to her -- or why. In her hospital bed she drifts in and out of consciousness, her only means of communicating a blink of the eye. And then an angel appears. Misguidedly known around town as the "Angel of Death," Sister Anselm has devoted her life to working as an advocate for unidentified patients. To her burn patient, she is a savior. But to this Jane Doe's would-be killer, Sister Anselm's efforts pose a serious threat.

Ali Reynolds is on the scene as the new media relations consultant for the Yavapai County Police Department, keeping reporters at bay and circumventing questions about arson and a link to a domestic terrorist group called Earth Liberation Front. But her job quickly becomes much more. As Ali struggles to help Sister Anselm uncover the helpless woman's identity, they realize that by locating the missing relatives they may be exposing the victim once more to a remorseless killer determined to finish the job. Faced with the possibility of putting all three of their lives in jeopardy, Ali fearlessly pursues justice -- and what she discovers is a secret even darker and more twisted than she ever could have imagined.

With unerring skill, Jance delivers relentless suspense in what is surely her finest novel yet in this riveting and addictive series.

Reviews (2)

Awful !

Written by nikkie from Morton Grove, IL on September 28th, 2011

  • Book Rating: 1/5

Maybe it's because I've just finished listening to fabulously written and read Henning Mankell, but J. A. Jance book is atrociously bad. A high-school / young adult fiction level, very patronizing and in a trying-to-be-cooler-than-ice kind of way. I listened to it for ten minutes (10 !) and gave up. I've never given up on a book this quickly, particularly since it takes me an hour to get to work in the morning. This morning I drove in silence. I'd also taken every book by this author that I had in my queue out.

Standard who done it

Written by Anonymous on April 29th, 2011

  • Book Rating: 5/5

basic who done it type of story. Really enjoyed the heroine main character. Enough action to keep it moving without dragging on too long. Will definitely listen to more of Jance's work.

Author Details

Author Details

Jance, J.A.

Considering J. A. Jance's now impressive career -- which includes two massively popular mystery series and status as a New York Times bestseller -- it may be difficult to believe that she was initially strongly discouraged from literary pursuits. A chauvinistic creative writing professor advised her to seek out a more "ladylike" job, such as nurse or schoolteacher. Moreover, her alcoholic husband (a failed Faulkner wannabe) assured her there was room in the family for only one writer, and he was it. Determined to make her doomed marriage work, Jance put her writing on the back burner. But while her husband slept, she penned the visceral poems that would eventually be collected in After the Fire.

Jance next chose to use her hard times in a more unlikely manner. Encouraged by an editor to try writing fiction after a failed attempt at a true-crime book, she created J. P. Beaumont, a homicide detective with a taste for booze. Beaumont's drinking problem was clearly linked to Jance's dreadful experiences with her first husband; but, as she explains it: "Beaumont was smart enough to sober up, once the problem was brought to his attention. My husband, on the other hand, died of chronic alcoholism at age 42." So, from misfortune grew one of the most popular characters in modern mystery fiction. Beaumont debuted in 1985's Until Proven Guilty -- and, after years of postponing her writing career, Jance was on her way.

As a sort of light flipside to the dark Beaumont, Jance created her second series in 1991. Inspired by the writer's happier role as a mom, plucky small-town sheriff Joanna Brady was introduced in Desert Heat and struck an immediate chord with readers. In 2005, Jance added a third story sequence to her repertoire with Edge of Evil, featuring Ali Reynolds, a former TV reporter-turned-professional blogger.

And so, the adventures continue! A career such as Jance's would be extraordinary under any circumstances, but considering the obstacles she overcame to become a bestselling, critically acclaimed novelist, her tale is all the more compelling. As she explains it: "One of the wonderful things about being a writer is that everything -- even the bad stuff -- is usable."