Saturday, May 13, 2017

Review of "Clawback" by J.A. Jance

In this addition to the series, Ali Reynolds' father, Bob Larson, hears an alarming story on the morning news. Ocotillo Fund Management, in which Bob and his wife Edie have invested every penny of their retirement funds, has gone under. Bob can hardly believe his ears. The Larsons' good friend Dan Frazier was a co-owner of the firm, and he wouldn't have steered them wrong.....would he?

Upset and wanting to talk to Dan, Bob drives over to the Fraziers' house in Sedona, Arizona. He finds Dan in the garage and his wife in the house, both dying from stab wounds. Bob calls 911 and does CPR, but it's too late. Afterwards, the cops find the murder weapon in Bob's truck, and he's arrested for murder.

The real killers, who had tossed the knife into Bob's truck, are a couple of ex-cons hired to retrieve a memory card from the Fraziers and then kill them. The jailbirds searched the house but didn't find the card, and the couple who sent them - Dan's larcenous partner and his girlfriend/assistant - are on the verge of panic. The card has information about the millions stolen from Ocotillo as well as other damaging data.

Ali is appalled at her father's arrest and makes it her mission to exonerate him and try to retrieve Ocotillo's money. Ali and her husband B. are partners in High Noon Enterprises, a high-tech computer security firm whose hacker employees - especially Stuart Raney - are wizards at retrieving information. Stuart is strictly a digital guy, though, so Ali's mother and father (out on bail) are hired to go through the voluminous paperwork associated with the case. And High Noon's bright young operative, Cami Lee, goes out in the field....where she runs into drama and danger.

A variety of characters add interest to the story, including: a thick-headed, bullying sheriff who thinks nailing Bob for murder will get him a promotion; a beautiful scoundrel, adept at surveillance, who plans to find the memory card and get Ocotillo's money for herself; a snooty bankruptcy lawyer, too full of himself, who underestimates Ali; an insurance company manager who has vital information; and more.

I enjoyed the book - which has adventure, humor, and a bit of martial arts. There's one plot point that did make me shake my head: Stuart Raney and Ali's parents discover the thieves' passwords and the key to decrypt their files in what seems like five minutes. Would perps who can pull off a sophisticated theft leave clues about their passwords all over the place? I don't think so. LOL

Though the book is part of a series, I read it as a standalone without a problem. I'd recommend the book to thriller fans in the mood for a fast-moving, entertaining story.

Rating: 3 stars

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