In Deadly Stakes, police academy-trained former reporter Ali Reynolds is contacted to investigate the grisly murder of a gold-digging divorcee on behalf of a woman accused of the crime. Lynn Martinson is dating the dead woman’s ex-husband, and she and her boyfriend Chip Ralston have been charged.
Ali is simultaneously drawn to the case of A.J. Sanders, a frightened teen with secrets of his own. He’s the first to find the body in the Camp Verde desert when he goes to retrieve a mysterious buried box hidden by his absent father—a box that turns out to be filled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in poker chips.
When the body of an ex-con is discovered near the first crime scene, Ali struggles to determine if A.J. and Lynn’s cases are related. Though her friends in the police department grow increasingly irritated by her involvement with the cases, Ali must stop a deadly killer from claiming another victim…before she herself is lost in this game of deadly stakes.
J.A. Jance explains her writing routine
Reading Group Guide
When Lynn Martinson and her boyfriend Chip Ralston are arrested for the murders of Chip’s gold-digging ex-wife, Ali Reynolds is contacted to clear two innocent names. As a former reporter with police academy training, Ali is more than equipped to unearth the facts that underpin the increasingly complex case, especially with her connections in and outside of the police force. But danger may be closer than she thinks—and the cost of her involvement with the case could be deadly.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. In Deadly Stakes, Ali has to trust her gut instincts in order to untangle the tangle of lies that surround Gemma Ralston and James Sanders’s murders. For instance, Ali has met Lynn Martinson only once before, but she feels convinced of her innocence. What were your initial impressions of Lynn Martinson? Molly Handraker? A.J. Sanders? How accurate were your first judgments, and how did they change throughout the book?