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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful: Sheriff Brady's Bunch, December 6, 2002 Reviewer: sweetmolly from RICHMOND, VA USA This sprawling mystery has a soap opera feel to it. Sheriff Joanna Brady doesn't just solve crimes. She is newly remarried, mother of a sensitive 12-year old daughter, has an irritating mother, and what looks to be a househusband. I felt the walls of resistance rising against slogging through this type of story. But Ms. Jance is an experienced spinner of tales, and I became involved almost in spite of myself. 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. -Sweetmolly-Amazon.com Reviewer