With his hand trapped in the door of a speeding car, a man struggles to remain upright as he’s dragged along a deserted stretch of San Juan Road in Phoenix’s South Mountain Preserve. It’s the perfect place to drive a man to his grave — literally. Starting with a crime so gruesome even prowling coyotes keep their distance from the remains, a killer begins crisscrossing the Southwest on a spree of grisly murders.A hundred miles away, Ali Reynolds is grieving. The newscasting job she once delighted in is gone and so is the philandering husband she loved and thought she knew. When a member of the family who gave Ali a generous scholarship for her education decades earlier suddenly asks her for a meeting, Ali wonders what it can mean. Before she can satisfy her curiosity, though, Ali receives another startling call: a friend’s teenage daughter has disappeared. Ali offers to help, but in doing so, she unknowingly begins a quest that will reveal a deadly ring of secrets, at the center of which stand two undiscriminating killers…. (goodreads.com)
I liked how it was set where I live. I guess she does that fairly often because Jance lives down in Tucson. But I like being able to really picture where everything is because I’ve actually been there. What I didn’t like was that it felt like there wasn’t enough to really support the main plot so there were all these subplots fracturing out from the main plot that I felt were just distracting.
So you have the dragged dead person plot, the missing girl plot, the pedophilia plot, the rest stop beatings plot, the MC adjusting to her new life plot, the MC meeting her son’s girlfriend plot, and MC taking care of said missing girl plot. There’s just a lot going on here and a lot of it not necessarily connected to each other. There were effectively two separate books in this one title and I felt like they were smashed together because their stories are decent, but there just wasn’t enough for them to stand alone.
On top of all of that there wasn’t a whole lot of action going on. A lot of sitting in a house, writing blog posts, sitting in a hospital waiting room, driving around, meeting people at their houses. It was just stagnant for most of the time. The characters were compelling enough. I didn’t not like any of them. Each individual story in here was interesting and I found myself following it all along. But there wasn’t nearly enough action to balance out all the mundane storytelling going on in order to get the characters from point A to point B. HAND OF EVIL didn’t hold me like a Lisa Gardner novel regularly does.
It was kind of difficult for it to hold my attention because it kept flopping around to a bunch of different plots. If the book had a little more focused maybe I would have liked it better. Again, neat that I could actually picture where the characters were because I live around here. And there’s some good storytelling here. But the plotlines fractured too much, there was too much going on, and not enough actual action to sustain it. I was never bored by the book; I just couldn’t really connect with it at all. I felt like I was reading interconnected short stories as opposed to one cohesive novel.
I’m not about to write Jance off entirely. I’m pretty sure I have more of her books in my pile. But if this is regular plotting for her then I’m not going to be on the train much longer. I can handle a couple subplots, and fully expect them in any book I read. But HAND OF EVIL just felt aimless.