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Devils Claw [Mass Market Paperback]

J A Jance
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 12 2001 A Joanna Brady mystery

In the night-still canyons of the Arizona desert, a girl is on the run. Alone but for her beloved red-tailed hawk, she flees from the dark shadows of her young life, the horror she has witnessed…and the terror that now stalks her.

New York Times bestselling author J.A. Jance returns with her eighth novel in the highly acclaimed Joanna Brady mystery series. Set against the backdrop of the modern west, this gripping tale finds Sheriff Brady juggling a precarious overload in both her personal and professional lives. About to be married, Joanna's facing a daughter turning twelve and going on twenty, a meddlesome mother micro-managing her wedding, and new in-laws arriving any day. The sudden death of her much-loved neighbor and handyman, Clayton Rhodes, creates further turmoil, leaving Joanna shocked, saddened, and the target of Clayton's irate and irrational daughter, who accuses the Sheriff's Department of covering up a possible murder.

But amidst the uproar, the report of a homicide at Cochise Stronghold in the Dragoon Mountains quickly captures Joanna's full attention. An Indian woman has been found shot to death--a woman recently released from prision after serving time for the manslaughter killing of her husband. She is the mother of a missing fifteen-year-old, Lucy Ridder.

The death at first appears to be a case of domestic rage finally exploding'and a troubled teen runaway may be a victim, or a cold-blooded killer. Yet as Joanna deals with the long-standing troubles of Clayton Rhodes' family and digs deeper into the mysterious life of Lucy and her family, she discovers that investigating family hostilities is leading her down a twisted trail of hatred, greed, and far-reaching consequences--and into a dangerous world where violence is the first response and long buried secrets are a reason to kill…or die.

Once again, J.A. Jance delivers a gritty, deftly written thriller that unfolds on a vivid landscape of raw beauty and unrelenting danger. And, as always, Sheriff Joanna Brady brings the setting to life with the sensitivity, spirit, and intense passion for justice that makes Jance novels ring with authenticity.

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From Amazon

A missing teenager and an octogenarian found dead of apparently natural causes are pretty run-of-the-mill cases in Bisbee, Arizona, where Sheriff Joanna Brady is focusing on the last-minute details of her upcoming wedding. In this latest outing in Judith Jance's Brady series, the connection between the two events is a thin one. In the author's capable hands, however, it's enough to drive this well-plotted mystery to a credible conclusion.

Fifteen-year-old Lucy Ridder dreads her mother's release from prison, eight years after she was convicted of killing Lucy's beloved father. Lucy is aware that her mother's priority is not a family reunion but the retrieval of a mysterious diskette entrusted to Lucy by her dad shortly before his death. After inadvertently witnessing her mother's brutal slaying by a stranger who's also hot after the diskette, Lucy vanishes. It takes most of the novel for Joanna to figure out that Lucy's disappearance is tied to her mother's murder, and for good reasons. Besides the distraction of her pending nuptials, the sheriff has been accused of killing her elderly, beloved neighbor for financial gain. Because the reader knows the truth of both situations very early in the game, Joanna's delayed awareness doesn't pack as much wallop as it might. The greater mystery is whether she'll strangle her wedding-obsessed mother before she and her too-good-to-be-true fiancé make it to the altar. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Southwestern mysteries continue to grow in popularity, with Jance's series, set in southern Arizona, one of the strongest entries in the subgenre. The new novel to feature Sheriff Joanna Brady opens at the entrance to a desert canyon called the Cochise Stronghold, where Sandra Ridder, who is part Apache, is trying to retrieve an item she buried eight years ago, before going to prison for killing her husband. The next day hikers find her corpse, while Sandra's 15-year-old daughter, Lucinda, and the girl's pet red-tailed hawk go missing. Could Lucinda, who seems to be a troubled loner, have killed her mother as revenge for her father's murder? Joanna starts to investigate shortly before she's to be married. Then Clayton Rhodes, the neighbor who helps feed Joanna's animals, dies suddenly, and unexpectedly bequeaths his ranch to her. Clayton's estranged daughter feels she should have inherited the property. Unreasonably and viciously, she blames Joanna for exerting undue influence over her father. The tangled threads of Joanna's personal life come close to overwhelming her professional one, and she has to exercise all of her time management skills to keep the murder inquiry on track. Her fianc?, Butch Dixon, comes off as way too perfect to be human, but his parents, in an amusing touch, are seriously dysfunctional. Sometimes the dialogue is stiff, but generally this is a solid installment in a worthy series. The Arizona desert, as usual in Jance's mysteries, plays an unforgettable part in this atmospheric tale. Mystery Guild dual main selection. (July)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Lucy waited until she knew her grandmother was asleep before she left the house and quietly wheeled her bike out of the shed. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Minus, but an A none the less Aug. 30 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
J.A. Jance writes with such a fluid style that I glide right thru her novels. Her books are easy to read and comprehend. I particularly enjoy the Joanna Brady series.
In "Devil's Claw" there are plenty of suspects to go around, a couple of running subplots and an ever growing cast of regulars.
J.A. Jance does a great job of filling in the background of the continuing characters...enough info to set their place and position for first time readers of the series; but not so much that familiar readers are bored or insulted with the data.
It's a pleasure to observe how the characters develop and grow as the series progresses. The scenic setting of Southern Arizona is always well can almost see those great sunsets.
Plotting, character evolvement, red herrings all give the reader plenty of times to solve things along with Sheriff Brady.
J.A. Jance does a great job balancing the whodunit aspect with Sheriff Brady's personal life without detracting from the main plot. The reader also gets a good view of the "unglamorous" aspect of the sheriff's job...meetings, personel problems, budgets, civic speaking engagements and the like.
This is just a wonderful series, and "Devil's Claw" is a welcome addition to the Joanna brady legacy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars You'll Want to Behave in Cochise County Oct. 16 2000
In Bisbee, Arizona (Cochise County) Sheriff Joanna Brady, is an up-to-date female version of Tombstone's Wyatt Earp, with a touch of Marge (the sheriff in Fargo) thrown in. Also a soon to be bride, a single mom, a widow, former Tupperware saleslady, poker player, not to mention a clever crime stopper - the down-to-earth Sheriff Brady wears a great number of different hats in this book and has a level headed approach to everything. In the days prior to her upcoming wedding, with her excessively domineering mother and future husband handling all the details, Sheriff Brady handles a couple of murders and a missing teenager plus the loss of her neighbor and helper. In between all the murder, mayhem, and malicious, mean characters; she works in mama duties, Sunday church, a wedding shower, in-laws (past and future), and deals with sensitive personnel issues. The mothers of the bride and groom are almost scarier than the villains in this fast paced thriller. You'll want to behave in Cochise County or this sheriff could sic her mama on you! Somehow I failed to "get" the significance of the devil's claw, but what the heck, it had an enjoyable read. Characterization is admirable but did get a bit confusing toward the end; I would have gladly swapped a sub-plot or two for a bit more of the setting, maybe even a desert sunrise or sunset? This is a fun and spirited story and this reader is delighted to learn it is part of a series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE THIS SERIES Aug. 29 2000
J. A. Jance's Joanna Brady series is one of my absolute favorites. Probably helps that I got to have lunch (one on one) with J. A. Jance last year.
Joanna Brady is a Sheriff in Arizona. She is also a widow and single mom. I like the way J. A. Jance has developed Joanna's 12 year old daughter. She has gone through a lot but yet isn't an obnoxious child, nor is she a wimp. Joanna has gone through a lot as well. In this book she is to marry Butch. Her neighbor and friend Clayton dies. He used to help her feed her animals after Joanna's husband was killed by drug dealers (in a previous book). She always has a lot to deal with -- running the Sheriff's Dept., taking care of her daughter, keeping peace with her mother (a full-time job), getting to know Butch (in the past books), and trying to solve various murders and crimes.
Lucy has run away because her mother is getting out of prison. Her mother killed her father and Lucy has been living with her grandmother. She doesn't want to see her mother so she and her red-tailed hawk Big Red run away.
I normally don't like books where it isn't told in first person, but this is one series that it works well for.
I really enjoy this series and am always waiting for the next installment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sheriff Joanna Brady at her best! Aug. 9 2000
At the beginning of the book, the eighth installment of the Sheriff Joanna Brady series, Joanna, a card-carrying member of the "women who do too much" club, is balancing her job, motherhood while preparing for her upcoming marriage to Butch Dixon. But she is thrown for a loop when her much loved neighbor and handyman, Clayton, is found dead and an Indian girl is missing and a suspect in the murder of her mother, recently released from prison. Meanwhile Joanna's personal life is in an uproar with a mother who is micromanaging her wedding, new inlaws-to-be who seem more impossible than her mother and her 12 year-old daughter who vacillates between wanting to be treated like an adult and thinking she will be forgotten after the marriage. Clayton's daughter, Reba, arrives for the funeral accusing Joanna of murdering her father after she learns Joanna is to inherit Clayton's ranch. Reba extracts a very personal revenge against Joanna.
Joanna becomes much more human in her reaction to these adversities, abandoning her superwoman mantle. She comes to terms with what is really important for her while providing a very entertaining and engaging story. You care what happens to these characters who are so real it seems you know them. I highly recommend this book and am looking forward to the next installment in what may be my favorite mystery series.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Although it is a great book, I was disappointed to find that I ...
I believe this novel I read of JA Jance. Although it is a great book, I was disappointed to find that I had read it many, many years ago so I discarded it from my Kindle.
Published 2 months ago by Carol Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
This whole series is really a joy to read. The author can take Joanna from introspection to inspection of a crime scene in a few pages with very little problem in the transition. Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2003 by apoem
3.0 out of 5 stars My first J.A. Jance experience
This is the first book I read from J.A. Jance, so I'm not very familiar with her work , so I'll try to read more of her later. Read more
Published on June 24 2002 by Victor Abud
4.0 out of 5 stars "Saint" Joanna Brady?
I think I've read all of the Joanna Brady series published to date, and Devil's Claw is the last one I will read. Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars A great way to start this series
Having just returned from two weeks in Tucson, this mystery hit the spot (and wrecked other weekend plans). The place names added a greater touch of credibility for me. Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2002 by Robert J. Schwarz
3.0 out of 5 stars Likeable Characters
I wasn't particularly interested in reading another story about a missing computer disc, but I stayed with this story because I liked the characters. Read more
Published on Sept. 11 2001 by N. Sausser
2.0 out of 5 stars SORRY JUDITH, YOU DON'T GET MY VOTE!
The bottom line: I really didn't like this book. I found the plot and action to be very slow moving and uninteresting. One thing I did like was Sheriff Brady. Read more
Published on Aug. 30 2001 by Brad Stonecipher
4.0 out of 5 stars A very pleasant book
This book contains three stories involving Joanna Brady, the sheriff of Cochise County, Arizona. First, we have the crime story involving an old murder, a current murder, and a... Read more
Published on Aug. 24 2001 by Paul Skinner
5.0 out of 5 stars Arizona Native
I live in Phoenix and grew up in Peoria, so I really know the area. I have a friend that could be Joanna Brady, she is a civil servent. Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2001 by Donna J. Henderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Devil's Claw
Another great Joanna Brady story. I love feeling like I know the the people and the places in her stories.
Published on Jan. 21 2001
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