A woman is cruelly cut down in a remote corner of Arizona, killed on her nineteenth wedding anniversary by a drunk motorist.? A year later, the driver himself dies badly, and all suspicions point to the slain woman's still-grieving husband as his murderer. But the truth is rarely black and white in the long Southwestern shadows, and one law officer is not rushing to condemn the tragic widower so quickly: Joanna Brady, Sheriff of Cochise County. Brady's convictions, however, are leading her on a twisted trail through inhospitable country—and setting her on a path that will bring her face-to-face with cold, calculating death in the high, lonely desert.
Sometimes it is through necessity that the best experiences are born. Such is the career of author J. A. Jance, who after many years of wanting to become a writer, found her way to that end. However, it took a lot if sacrifice and detours before she finally became the writer she always wanted to be.
Upon being denied admittance into a creative writing class by a professor who thought women belonged at home or in teaching, she gave up and married a young man who aspired to be another Faulkner or Hemingway. The only similarities to those writers was his love for alcohol. He became a severe alcoholic and proclaimed to his wife, whom he knew wanted a writing career, that he would be the only writer in that family. She grew weary of his addiction, and divorced him just two years before he died at a very young age. Jance had been writing when he was away or asleep, but she now had to find a way to support her children as a single mother. She spent her days selling insurance and her nights writing......many times writing all night. After the disappointment of not having her first book published, her agent advised her that she might be best at writing fiction. She followed that advice, and has written 22 Detective Beaumont books, 17 Joanna Brady books, and 10 Ali Reynolds books. There were also four thrillers added to the body of work.
Jance says that one of the best parts of writing is hearing from fans that her books have helped many as they were going through illness, or were sitting with a loved one who was going through difficult times. She says........"it gratified me to know that by immersing themselves in my stories, people are able to set their own lives aside and live and walk in someone else's shoes. Jance feels that she is doing the best job that she can at the best job in the world.
In this the fourth showing of sheriff Joanna Brady she has her hands full locking horns with experienced detectives on the case and budget cutting county supervisors. When veterinarian Amos Buckwalter is murdered by arson, deputies immediately suspect Hal Morgan, whose wife, Bonnie, was recently killed by a drunken Buckwalter in a car accident. Morgan, himself an ex-cop, had been picketing Buckwalter's animal hospital, handing out Mothers Against Drunk Driving literature just before the vet's body was found in a burning barn. Joanna lets her own grief keep her from suspecting him and almost loses sight of the whole cases. Besides, the widow Buckwalter is strangely stoic, even getting a makeover and playing golf on the day after her husband's death. I enjoyed this more than the first three, we are starting to get a good idea of how Joanna is handling being a single mom, she is starting to see her relationship with her mother in adult terms even while being green with envy that her Mother getting on with her life.
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