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Desert Heat Mm [Mass Market Paperback]

Ja Jance
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 12 1993 Joanna Brady Mysteries

Life is good for Joanna Brady in the small desert community of Bisbee. She has Jenny, her adored nine-year-old daughter, and solid, honest, and loving husband, Andy, a local lawman who's running for Sheriff of Cochise County. But her good life explodes when a bullet destroys Andy Brady's future and leaves him dying beneath the blistering Arizona sun.

The police brass claim that Andy was dirty -- up to his neck in drugs and smuggling -- and that the shooting was a suicide attempt. Joanna knows a cover-up when she hears one...and murder when she sees it. But her determined efforts to track down an assassin and clear her husband's name are placing herself and her Jenny in serious jeopardy. Because, in the desert, the truth can be far more lethal than a rattler's bite.

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From Publishers Weekly

Jance ( Hour of the Hunter ) has created a taut and poignant mystery. Joanna Brady finds her husband, Andy, shot in the Arizona desert on the night of their tenth wedding anniversary. But this, and Andy's subsequent suspicious death in the hospital, is only the beginning of the destruction of the comfortable world of Joanna and her nine-year-old daughter, Jenny. The police decide that Andy, a sheriff's deputy, tried to commit suicide. He is further implicated as the hit man in a mob rub-out and fingered as a crooked cop with drug-cartel connections. Even his personal life is dragged through the mud, as allegations of an extramarital affair surface. Neither mother nor daughter is spared from the brutality of the accusations: the DEA comes after Joanna, while schoolmates taunt Jenny. All the while, Jance cross-cuts to the contract killer who shot Andy. The conclusion features a classic confrontation, but the post-showdown ending seems trite. Until that moment, however, Jance's tale crackles with tension. Joanna's struggle and pain are affecting; Jance writes with an understanding that character is destiny.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

J.A. Jance is the New York Times bestselling author of the Joanna Brady series, the J.P. Beaumont series, and the interrelated novels Day of the Dead, Hour of the Hunter, and Kiss of the Bees. She was born in South Dakota, brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, and now lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.

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JOANNA BRADY stepped to the doorway of the screened back porch and stared out into the night. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Hope for better Aug. 7 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first in the long Sheriff Joanna Brady of Cochise County series. It shows the sad family events that initially pushed Joanna, as the wife of a deputy sheriff, into law enforcement. Joanna is a determined, able, and frank talking woman who must deal with an allegedly suicidal, drug-dealing, and cheating husband. It's not really a "suspense" novel, as personal threats are few and Joanna sorta backs into solving the crime. The story is set up well with empathetic family situations and loyalties, but towards the end the plot goes ratty, a couple of glaring holes in the plot conveniently appearing as Jance races to wrap up the story. I think Jance also severely underplays local Arizona color and ambiance: this novel could be happen anywhere, quite unlike the great specificity and plot drivers of Hillerman or McGarrity's novels that could only be set in New Mexico. I hope Jance gets better in later novels, for this one doesn't generate much heat. For some reason this Avon pb is printed in rather large print, which may contribute to why it's a nicely fast and easy read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars It's Not a Dry Heat Sept. 26 2001
By Todd
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In Desert Heat, J.A. Jance introduces us to Joanna Brady, a happily married young woman who sells life insurance in the town of Bisbee, Arizona. Together with her husband, Andy, who is a Cochise County sheriff's deputy, and their bright 9-year old daughter, Joanna leads a comfortable and happy small-town life - comfortable and happy, that is, until the night of her tenth wedding anniversary when she finds her husband lying shot and near death in a desert ravine not far from home.
Almost before he is transported to the hospital, rumors begin to circulate that Andy is a good cop turned bad and that he tried to commit suicide rather than to risk having his shady dealings with drug smugglers exposed. Of course, Joanna doesn't believe any of the rumors and sets out on a mission to find the true story and to find Andy's attacker.
This series debut manages to successfully combine a cast of very believable and well-developed characters with an intriguing mystery and a unique setting. The "whodunit" is solved early on, but the reader is left trying to understand the "why" until nearly the end. The story unfolds at a steady pace and there is little fever-pitch action or edge-of-your-seat suspense; however, that's actually an advantage as it makes the story quite believable and is consistent with life in a small town like Bisbee. Despite the deliberate pace, plenty of surprises throughout do keep the reader guessing and turning the pages.
Desert Heat is a quick and enjoyable read for those who enjoy a good mystery set in the desert southwest. With such a strong debut, I've definitely become a Joanna Brady (and J.A. Jance) fan and am looking forward to reading the other books in the series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Breezy Read Jan. 27 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In Desert Heat, J.A. Jance manages to do several things very well: she establishes likeable primary and secondary characters ( ... and then there's Maude, er, Eleanor, Joanna Brady's mother, who's well-established and *dis*likeable); she makes a bold departure (both geographically and tonally) from the J.P. Beaumont Seattle series; and sets up a decent mystery (more Lifetime than HBO, though a couple scenes wouldn't be out of place on Cinemax). A few things aren't quite Grade-A, however: the plot itself is lightweight and Joanna has a tendency to ramble in her dialogue.
Although this is the first in the series, if you've read other Joanna Brady books first, go ahead and read this one too. The pace moves quickly and it's always good to read a character's origins firsthand.
While the bar - to a certain degree - is set low, the novel certainly doesn't disappoint. Because there is room for improvement, the other books in the series keep getting better and better
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4.0 out of 5 stars Plucky heroine in a desert setting July 24 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In the first book of this series, we meet the heroine, Joanna Brady, who is waiting for her lawman husband, Andy, to come home for their 10th. anniversary celebration. Her world is shattered when he is found critically injured beside his wrecked vehicle. As she is keeping vigil at the hospital, we are introduced to Angie Kellogg who is kept a virtual prisoner by her gangster boyfriend. After Andy is accused of being involved in a drug ring, Angie becomes a key figure in Joanna's struggle to exonerate him. The two women meet, and the action picks up considerably as they are pursued by Angie's boyfriend plus some other surprising bad guys. For fans of the J.P. Beaumont series, set in Seattle, Joanna's southern Arizona home will be quite a contrast. Author Jance grew up in Arizona and she is as adept at using the desert setting as a background as she is at using Seattle.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not my last Jance Sept. 20 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I liked the Arizona scene-setting - birds and beasts and landscape nicely done. A good, and even useful, description of a family coping with grief. The wife and parents and child (and dog) of the victim come together in moving way to cope with bereavement, and are helped by a minister (although it's quite high on sex and violence). I think the reviewer who complained of exposition has a point. She tends to tell us what to think of a character before showing us. For example Joanna Brady's parents are introduced as "rock-solid, salt-of the earth type people" Not as much humor as I personally like, although a certain amount in the portrait of Joanna's non-supportive mother. No great dialog. No great prose. She gets along with telling the story.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I Like all her books but particularly the Joanna Brady series
Published 1 month ago by H. Wheatley
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice introduction to an interesting series
Desert Heat in a nice introduction to the Joanna Brady series of books. Joanna Brady is a happily married mother of one, when her husband Andy, a local police officer, is shot on... Read more
Published on June 18 2002 by Ladyslott
4.0 out of 5 stars Desert Heat Is A Great Read!
Reading Desert Heat, the first volume in the JoAnna Brady series, is all it takes to make you a J. A. Jance fan. Read more
Published on July 11 2001 by Lori Rutledge
4.0 out of 5 stars You will like Joanna Brady.
Joanna's sheriff husband dies and Joanna decides to track down his killer. She is plucky, tough, warm and fallible - motivated largely by the horror that her husband was possibly... Read more
Published on May 26 2000 by Helen
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent series opener with Joanna Brady an engaging sleuth
Not as gritty as the J.P. Beaumont mysteries, yet recently widowed Joanna Brady is one tough and determined sleuth who juggles crime solving, the new demands of single parenthood,... Read more
Published on May 20 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book!!!!
It's captivating and mysterious.Once i started reading it i could not stop!!!!!!!!!!
Published on April 4 1999
Published on Feb. 26 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars It really pulled me in.
I'm from Tucson and related to the characters and settings. I went out and bought the entire series. She was really able to keep me on the edge of my seat.
Published on Feb. 23 1999
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