From Publishers Weekly
In Jance's 12th Joanna Brady novel, the sheriff of Cochise County, Arizona, is faced with two major professional cases: the murder of a self-confessed wife killer recently released from jail and the brutal rape and beating of an animal control officer. She's also dealing with new and unproven deputies and trying to finding a home for a python snake and way too many confiscated killer pit bulls. In addition, she is about to give birth to her second child, an event that precipitates the unwanted arrival of her in-laws. Sheriff Brady's problems pose no great difficulty for reader Ericksen. She lets Jance's event-packed plot do most of the heavy lifting while she reads the story simply and effectively. Ericksen prefers to differentiate speakers, be they men, women or children, by attitude and pacing rather than pitch. She can push her vocal interpretation when appropriate, providing several unique, credible south of the border accents, for example, or indulging in a little heavy breathing when the very pregnant Sheriff Brady faces danger while strapped in a confining Kevlar vest.
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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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