Paradise Lost Mass Market Paperback – Jul 11 2002
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Joanna Brady returns in J.A. Jance's ninth adventure featuring the Arizona sheriff. Joanna and Butch, her new husband, are trying to build their dream house, adjust to their marriage, and cope with the preteen mood swings of Joanna's 12-year-old daughter, Jenny. During a Girl Scout camping trip to Cochise County, Jenny and another girl sneak out of their tents after lights out to have a cigarette and stumble on the body of a murder victim. Joanna is initially more concerned about her daughter's misbehavior than the murder at Apache Pass--after all, smoking can kill you--but then Dora Matthews, Jenny's coconspirator, is killed. Joanna's fear that her daughter might be in the killer's sights adds an extra dose of adrenaline to her efforts to find the man who left the body for Jenny and Dora to find. Add that worry to the sheriff's suspicion that Butch may be having an affair with a former girlfriend and you have the makings of a typical Joanna Brady novel: long on intelligence, empathy, and humanity and short on shootouts and suspense. Jance's other series, featuring Seattle cop J.P. Beaumont, features more intricate plotting and louder firepower. Brady's not as complex as Beaumont or as fully developed a character, but she leads with her heart, and her struggles to balance her personal and professional life bring interest. The Southwest landscape comes to life in the author's capable hands, and while the narrative's pacing is a little pokey, there's lots of lovingly evoked scenery to make it a pleasant trip. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In Cochise County (Ariz.) sheriff Joanna Brady's ninth outing, bestseller Jance verges on soap opera, but avoids the worst excesses of the type. Mother-daughter relationships get a real workout, as Joanna's brittle connection with her mother is always testy and the emotional fulcrum between Joanna and her 12-year-old daughter, Jenny, is always shifting. But plenty of other combinations of blood and bonding get a workout, too. Jenny and a camping partner discover the body of a naked woman while Joanna and new husband Butch Dixon are out of town to attend a sheriffs' convention and a wedding. Joanna's personal and professional lives collide heavily as concerns for her daughter, her department, her husband and her future intertwine. With a mix of old and modern police work (interviews, crime-scene analysis, sophisticated forensics) and intense personal problems (Jenny may be targeted by the killer, Butch may have cheated on Joanna, Joanna's mother's meddling may have gotten a girl killed), Jance keeps things roiling from start to finish. With more than two dozen mysteries to her credit, the author has learned a great deal about pacing and it's evident in this page-turner, which nicely builds suspense and throws in some nifty surprises as well. Jance's sense of place remains strong, whether here in the beautifully rendered rural Arizona setting or in the rainy Seattle of her J.P. Beaumont mysteries. (Aug. 7)Forecast: With a one-day laydown and strong marketing backing, including a 12-city tour and radio and print advertising, this book will hit the lists fast.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Read in this fashion there are nuggets of interesting plotting. The main plot of three murders in sleepy Cochise County, how they are linked, police procedure, and their eventual resolution holds together surprisingly well and is at least as convincing as usual for mysteries. For at least one aspect you actually do have the crucial clue somewhat in advance of the solution, but mostly there's little of the 'whodunit' to the book -- we have to wait along with the protagonists for the crucial information from lab or database, at which point the next step is obvious. But some of the numerous subplots seem rather overheated and certainly unnecessary. The book isn't "intricately plotted" so much as it just goes off in several scattered directions at once. But unlike, say, Joseph Hansen's "Job's Year", this conflation of one awful event after another in the life of Sherrif Brady, her family and department, does not seem to be a theme for the book -- merely,as the Publishers Weekly review indicated, a dip toward soap opera.
But the writing, oh the writing. Whenever I slowed down enough to notice, it was all I could do not to run for a blue pencil (I do plan to sell this book .. definitely not a keeper). Not only is the prose inflated, bordering on bloviation, but we are constantly told what to think about something rather than simply presenting an observation: "... the woman who stepped out wore a bright yellow sundress and matching hat.Read more ›
The technical writing skills of the writer are very nice and fluent, in fact it is the only thing that keeps you reading. There are certain things in the plot that are absurd. For example, when Joanna's 12 year old girl sees the dead body...she isn't shocked about the dead body, but she is worried about the fact her mother will find out she was trying a smoke (the girl found the dead body while sneaking out to smoke). The author could have at least made the 12 year old girl worried about getting scolded by her mother, but also a bit shocked about finding a dead body! I don't know about you, but finding a dead body would leave me shocked.
There is also something that i found very disappointing. The entire story is about Joanna going in the car from place to place and doing everything by phone! 98% of the novel is about Joanna on the phone! Don't believe me? Loan it from the library!
I wouldn't suggest this book. Tony Hillerman ("Thief of Time") is a much better book if you like 'desert' style settings for investigative books.
Joanna's daughter and tent mate discover a brutally murdered woman while at a Girl Scout camp out. The girls snuck away after to lights out to smoke cigarettes and encountered a body instead. For a while there, I didn't know which caused more consternation; the discovery of the body or sneaking smokes. But when the daughter's tent mate is found dead in suspicious circumstances, things heat up. Joanna's understaffed department is confronted with a possible serial killer, a car jacker, and the daughter's safety. While the serial killer plot is fairly transparent, the death of the 13-year old tent mate is not. Ms. Jance does an excellent job of unfolding clues and motives perfectly paced and well placed.
The author's strength is in her story telling abilities and her obvious love of the desert locale. Her weaknesses are dialogue and male characters with as many dimensions as volleyball. The husband is a marvel of patience and understanding, her chief deputy is robotically perfect at following orders and her former father-in-law is a lovable old geezer. Too much of the book takes place in a car. Apparently Sheriff Brady does not believe in phones (though she is forever on her cell phone), faxes or even inquiring as to whether someone is at home before sending half her staff whizzing across state while she takes off in the other direction. But even with these shortcomings, the story moves along and keeps the reader engaged. I think "Paradise Lost" would be a good Young Adult selection.
Jance is a serviceable, if not brilliant author. Her writing style is pretty good, though her ear for dialog is only so-so. Where she's strongest is characters and plots. This book is no exception. The main character, Joanna Brady, is the housewife-turned-sherriff who works to run her department and solve crimes.
In this installment, Joanna's daughter and a classmate sneak off from a camp-out to smoke a cigarette and find a dead body. The victim is a middle-aged former spinster who's lost her fortune to a fortune-hunting husband, who's now apparently lured her to her death, or at least that's what everyone thinks. Joanna works her way through the mystery, interviewing witnesses and suspects, and listening to reports from detectives and so forth who do more of the same.
This is not the strongest of the Brady books. For one thing, the series was better when she was a younger sherriff, and the men in the department were somewhat suspicious of her. She has to prove herself. Now she's done that, and so things are somewhat more tepid. Instead, she has ups and downs with a new husband, a daughter who's growing up, and so forth. They don't add to the story as much as they might.
That being said, this is still a good book, and a worthy addition to the series. The plot's not entirely predictable, and the story takes some twists and turns that are fun, to say the least.
Most recent customer reviews
Another well-written and exciting story by Jance in which Joanna must decide whether to run for re-election while solving the murder of a young girl, the murder of an unhappily... Read morePublished 24 months ago by Jenifer Mohammed, Author of Resurrecting Cybele
I found this book to be poorly written and repetitive. Needed some more peer/editorial reviews before going to market. Could not even get past the first 3 chapters.Published on Aug. 15 2004 by Jason Koulouras
I bought this book expecting to immerse myself in an epic struggle of Good vs. Evil. I got a facile tale of the Southwest. Buyers beware! Read morePublished on Feb. 5 2004 by Eric Praline
If you love the Brady series, then get ready for the best of the bunch. Joanna Brady is juggling her new marriage and sheriff responsibilities in this well written tale involving... Read morePublished on Nov. 12 2002 by Paul Skinner
This was my 1st book by this author and will most likely be the last. The characters were likeable enough but the story was just so-so. Read morePublished on Nov. 2 2002
Terrible book. Sub plots on a road to nowhere. What was up with the sister and the husbands ex-girlfriend? A waste of time and poorly written.Published on Oct. 4 2002
JA. Jance delivers her 9th.suspenseful romp through Cochise County with Arizona Sheriff Joanna Brady-- in this thrilling novel, murder hits close to home when Joanna's daughter... Read morePublished on Dec 23 2001 by Victoria Taylor Murray
This one of my all-time favorite series. One of the reasons that I appreciate this series is that I have read the first book in the series, DESERT HEAT, first. Read morePublished on Dec 15 2001 by Amazon Customer