author J.A. Jance has written her 50th novel, Moving Target.
It features the character Ali Reynolds and her supporting
cast: fiancé and computer expert B. Simpson, longtime
gay household assistant, Leland Brooks, and good friend, Taser
carrying nun, Sister Anselm. It also introduces a powerful
character, Lance Tucker, a talented teenage computer hacker.
This book involves two plotlines that take place in Arizona,
Texas, and England. Although the plots are basically unrelated,
Jance is able to weave them together through Ali and B’s
relationship. The first plot explores Leland’s background,
why his parents supposedly disowned him for being gay, and
a cold case that Ali helps to solve involving Leland’s
family. This plot is wrapped up mid-way through the book,
which allows readers to concentrate on the very suspenseful
plot that explores online research. This is where Jance introduces
the character Lance Tucker, an incarcerated juvenile offender
for hacking into the San Leandro School District’s Computer
system. While setting up Christmas decorations in the lockup
rec room he is severely burned. Because B. Simpson’s
testimony helped to find Lance guilty he now feels bad and
is obliged to get to the bottom of what really happened to
Lance. The founder of the high-tech security company High
Noon Enterprises, Simpson, elicits the help of Ali and Sister
Anselm, and is determined to hire Lance for his GHOST program.
It is a revolutionary computer software that allows users
to surf any part of the web completely undetected.
Jance commented about some of her characters, “Although
I made Leland gay he is a person who is gay, not a gay person.
His homosexuality does not define who he is or is not. He
is a wonderful person who has a true blue nature. I made sure
his gayness did not get into people’s faces. It’s
a telling story of one character that happens to be gay.”
Regarding newcomer Tucker, “Lance is a great character
that will be in future books. I cannot have a character like
that show up and then drop him. Basically this was a story
about people where I intentionally compared the two character’s
families. One family was very supportive with unconditional
love while the other family was not very supportive.”
She gave a heads up about her next few books, or as she calls
them “books 51.4.” Due out this July will be a
Johanna Brady book where readers will find out what happened
to her dog Tigger, based on the Winnie the Pooh character.
Jance is currently working on her next Ali Reynolds book.
It takes place in Minnesota during the wintertime, and has
a plot that delves into certain religious cults’ treatment
Jance explained why she always includes some form of discrimination
against women in all of her books. “I was a feminist
that was not allowed into the University of Arizona’s
creative writing program because I was a woman. Although today
in looking back I think the early day feminists lost their
sense of humor and never got it back. I enjoy writing about
things I really care about and what is important to me. In
Moving Target I put that scene in where a character was barred
from being accepted into Oxford by an all-male admissions
board. I had her hiring only women for the lab and loved the
line, ‘Payback is a bitch.”
Moving Target has a fast paced plot with very likeable
and sympathetic characters. Through a riveting plot it explores
the technological world while also allowing readers to get
to know the human side behind the characters.
of other titles in this series
of Evil #1