Devils Claw Mass Market Paperback – Jul 12 2001
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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 done...you 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.
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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 on July 3 2014 by Carol Walker
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 morePublished on Jan. 8 2003 by apoem
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 morePublished on June 24 2002 by Victor Abud
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 morePublished on Jan. 26 2002
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 morePublished on Jan. 21 2002 by Robert J. Schwarz
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 morePublished on Sept. 11 2001 by N. Sausser
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 morePublished on Aug. 30 2001 by Brad Stonecipher
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 morePublished on Aug. 24 2001 by Paul Skinner