Marcia Berg Haskell's Reviews > Cruel Intent

Cruel Intent by J.A. Jance
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Jan 29, 11

bookshelves: mystery, want-to-keep
Read in January, 2011

"From New York Times bestselling author J.A. Jance comes a chilling tale of suspense, where romance turns deadly at the hands of a man whose heart is filled with... CRUEL INTENT On a dating site, singleatheart.com, bored housewives can find romance with married men looking for sex without strings. But these "married singles" are flirting with more than just their vows. At the heart of this seemingly innocent service, a vengeful computer hacker is playing games with people's lives...and deaths. Ex-television journalist Ali Reynolds just wants a break from excitement. In the midst of a remodel, the last thing she expects is a murder investigation that will stop the construction on her home. But when the savagely murdered body of stay-at-home mom Morgan Forester is found, Ali's contractor Bryan is the prime suspect. Bryan swears he has nothing to do with his wife's murder -- but as the investigation progresses Ali seems to be the only resident of Sedona who believes him. Determined to prove Bryan's innocence, Ali unknowingly lands herself directly in the path of a calculating killer. In a world filled with encrypted computer traps and life-threatening lies, will Ali be able to decode the actions of a ruthless man determined to destroy women -- before he uses his wicked website to find her?"

I enjoyed this book and got caught in the twists and turns of the plot. While the last turn - having the killer turn up at Ali's under-construction house - and having neither Ali nor Leland recognize the possibility - seemed implausible.
However what fascinated me about this book was J.A. Jance's ability to capture the secondary characters, their personalities, traits, and situation in a few paragraphs and bring them to life. I have tried to analyze how she does it - reviewing the language and writing style. After that I decided she embeds the feelings into our subconscious by magic - that's the only possibility. When I wake up think "I'm so glad those twins have their grandfather in their lives" Something supernatural is going on. Her ability to handle secondary plots makes this book one of the best pieces of writing I've read in a while.
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