Years may have passed, but Dr. Edward Gilchrist has not forgotten those responsible for his downfall—certainly not Ali Reynolds, who exposed his dirty deeds to the world. Tattooed on his arm are the initials of those who put him behind bars, and he won’t stop until every person on that Annihilation List is dead.
... a novel with a few minor off-putting attributes: a clunky expository structure that hops around several dates and locales, and the very similar names assigned to two major women characters ('Alex' and 'Ali'). These issues, however, are unlikely to deter Jance fans as the pace heats up, the body count rises, and violent surprises lurk in every chapter.
The author does a great job making one’s skin crawl imagining someone so evil and so weak-souled handling materials so precious to a person’s existence, and Ali makes a fun, strong and compelling heroine ... But The A-List has one pretty big flaw and it’s nearly fatal – we know from the start who’s trying to kill Ali, and who has killed her friends. The only real thrills and suspense we get out of the situation coagulate around the question: how will Ali trap this pervert and his accomplices? ... What really does work is how the book’s best passages take us into Hannah’s sociopathic mind, her self-centered thoughts and motivations; she ultimately becomes a compelling, complicated monstre sacré who steals the spotlight from everyone else ... But even with its compelling villain and heroine, it’s ultimately the very, very slow pace and lack of tension that fails to keep The A-List alive.
Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.