J.A. Jance's Joanna Brady series whisks us off to a small town in the desert terrain of the Southwest. When Joanna's newly elected husband is killed while serving as sheriff of Cochise County, Arizona, Joanna steps into his position. We watch her grow into the job in Jance's series: she has to cope with the problems of juggling family and personal life while solving crimes. At the same time, we've learned about the benefits and shortcomings of daily life in a desert--how beautiful and dangerous the landscape can be in all seasons.
Jance's seventh book, Outlaw Mountain, begins with the death of an old woman who was injured when she fell on a poisonous cholla cactus. But it isn't the plant that finishes off Alice Rogers; the lively, free-spirited widow is murdered by someone who injects her as she lies writhing in pain. Now Joanna has to find out whether anyone in Alice's large family would have killed her for her land and money. Was it her son Cletus, "a restaurateur with the diplomacy of a mountain goat," who was recently elected mayor of the legendary Arizona town of Tombstone (where Wyatt Earp once reigned)? Or did the murder have something to do with a local political power struggle? As she has done so well before, Jance balances scenes full of action and excitement with more intimate moments. --Dick Adler--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful: A different kind of high noon duel, January 15, 2003 Reviewer: missgowest from Munich, Germany Sheriff Brady is responsible for Cochise County, Arizona. As the sheriff's colleagues of a hundred years ago, the guardian of the law strives to keep the region safe, yet there's one vital difference -- Sheriff Brady is a woman. After her policeman husband's murder, Joanna Brady is determined to bring the killers to justice -- and gets elected sheriff. In "Outlaw Mountain," Joanna has to find the murderer of an elderly lady whose body was found in the Arizona desert. There are quite a few suspects including the woman's children and newly-wed, young husband. Joanna also has to deal with Junior, an abandoned, mentally handicapped man in his fifties as well as with land disputes taking place in her county. But it's not just Joanna's professional life which keeps her busy -- her daughter Jenny and her boyfriend Butch Dixon also demand some of her time. J. A. Jance's main protagonist Joanna is a multidimensional character -- strong, yet also vulnerable -- thus adding to the novel's realistic feel. The interesting plot, intriguing mystery as well as excellent description of the region make "Outlaw Mountain" a recommendable book for every reader interested in outstanding thrillers.