|J. A. Jance: Paradise Lost|
(Paperback), ISBN 0-380-80469-7
A word of warning concerning this review: I am an avid J. A. Jance fan, so please take that into consideration. Paradise Lost proves to me that my love for her writing is not misplaced. Here Jance delivers a great, fast read starring Joanna Brady, my favorite female sheriff. What more could I want to make me a happy reader?
Although the books stand alone, I suggest that you search through
your local library or used bookstores and try to read the series from
the beginning. The books provide a total delight for a mystery fan who
likes well-rounded characters, plots both plausible and touching, and
murders most foul -- not to mention the setting in the desolate Southwest.
Joanna and her very new husband attend a sheriff's conference in Page, Ariz. -- a long way from their home at the High Lonesome Ranch. Joanna's daughter (from a previous marriage) goes camping with her Girl Scout troop in the drought-ridden desert and sneaks off to smoke a cigarette with her tent-mate. They discover the body of a smelly dead woman. And then the trouble really begins. The trouble comes in many sizes -- some sheriff-related, some personal -- but they intertwine, tangle, roil together until the reader (me in this case) reads faster and faster, wanting to know if Jance can tie it up in a neat package or not.
Of course I refuse to tell you that and deprive you of an evening spent in high suspense, decisions to be made, jealousy, mothers with their own agenda, pregnant teens, and way too many bodies (mostly dead).
Note: Jance also writes a series starring J. P. Beaumont, a male protagonist who lives in Seattle that will also keep you reading.
Patricia Lucas White
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