Trial by Fire

A Novel of Suspense

Read by: Karen Ziemba
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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.
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  • Simon & Schuster Audio | 
  • 9 disks | 
  • ISBN 9780743597425 | 
  • December 2009
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Read an Excerpt

PROLOGUE

She awakened to the sound of roaring flames and to searing heat and lung-choking smoke. Maybe she was already dead and this was hell, but why would she go to hell? What had she done to deserve that? Just then a scorched beam fell across her leg, and she felt the horrifying pain of burning flesh—her burning flesh. That’s when she knew wasn’t dead. She was still alive. And on fire.

She tried to shake the burning two-by-four off her leg but it was too heavy. It wouldn’t budge. She tried shoving it away and managed to move it a little, but in the process her hand caught fire as well. She... see more
CHAPTER 1

On a gorgeous mid-May morning with temperatures still in the seventies, all was right with Ali Reynolds’s world. The cobalt blue sky overhead was unblemished by even a single cloud, and Sedona’s towering red rocks gleamed in brilliant sunlight.

The seemingly endless remodeling project on Ali’s recently purchased Manzanita Hills Road house had finally come to an end. The workers were gone, along with their trucks and their constant noise. Now, seated on her newly refurbished flagstone patio and surrounded by an ancient wisteria in full and glorious bloom, she was enjoying the peace and quiet, as... see more

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Trial by Fire includes discussion questions and a Q&A with author J. A. Jance. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.



Questions for Discussion

1. How does the advice that Ali Reynolds offers in her speeches at the high schools come into play in her own life? Do you believe she is being honest in the advice that she gives to graduates?

2. Ali admits that she does not really need any more money, yet she accepts the job with the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Department. Why do you think she does this?

3. Ali initially states that she and B. Simpson could never be together due to their age difference. What makes her change her mind?

4. Discuss the character of Sister Anselm. What were you initial thoughts about her and her “Angel of Death” moniker? Does she really live up to it? Why do you think she is so quick to trust Ali? Can she?

5. There is an underlying theme of allegiance throughout the novel –allegiance to people, to institutions and to beliefs. Discuss this in the scope of the following characters: Ali, Sister Anselm and Sheriff Maxwell.

6. The waiting room in the burn unit provides the perfect backdrop for many of the conflicts in the see more

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