From Publishers Weekly
The solid 12th entry in bestseller Jance's lively crime series (Exit Wounds
, etc.) to feature Joanna Brady, sheriff of Cochise County, Ariz., finds Joanna newly reelected and about to have her second child. When the cops learn that a murdered man with a sordid personal history has links to one of Arizona's most prominent judges, Joanna's investigation turns up a connection to an early case of her late father's, an honored sheriff. Next, the brutal beating of Jeannine Phillips, an Animal Control officer, leads the sheriff's department, its staff already stretched thin, to a confrontation with a notorious ranching family and suspected illegal immigrants. Then Joanna's obnoxious in-laws arrive for the imminent birth. In a heart-stopping climax, Joanna shoots a suspect as he tries to kidnap two children. Subplots dealing with social issues such as alcoholism and dysfunctional family relationships lend moral weight. As usual, Jance deftly brings the desert, people and towns of southeastern Arizona to life. Author tour. (One-day laydown July 25)
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Sheriff Joanna Brady has a full plate. Not only is she investigating the murder of an ex-con and trying to find out who beat one of her animal-control officers nearly to death, she is also spectacularly pregnant. The question isn't whether she will solve these two crimes, but whether she will do it before or after she gives birth to her second child. While most of the police force is focused on the case of the animal-control officer, it's the ex-con's death that occupies Joanna's mind because--in addition to the tantalizingly bizarre fact that all of the victim's fingers are missing--the murder provides a link to one of her father's old cases. Jance deftly combines personal and professional stories in this twelfth Brady mystery. Readers familiar with the movie Fargo
(which also features a very pregnant, very likable small-town sheriff and combines on-the-job with at-home elements) may note some similarities to this novel, but rather than seeming derivative, Jance's story offers an entertaining embellishment on a still-fresh theme. A solid entry in this popular series. David PittCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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