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Damage Control (Joanna Brady Series #13)

Damage Control (Joanna Brady Series #13)

4.1 49
by J. A. Jance

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At first glance, it appears to be an accident . . .

A car carrying an elderly couple goes off the side of a mountain and tumbles into oblivion on a beautiful sunny day in the Coronado National Monument. A note pulled from the twisted wreckage suggests the tragedy may have been a double suicide—but an autopsy later suggests something different. A deadly fire


At first glance, it appears to be an accident . . .

A car carrying an elderly couple goes off the side of a mountain and tumbles into oblivion on a beautiful sunny day in the Coronado National Monument. A note pulled from the twisted wreckage suggests the tragedy may have been a double suicide—but an autopsy later suggests something different. A deadly fire and a fatal home invasion may or may not have some connection to the terrible crash. And miles away in the desert, a savage rain has revealed something grisly and terrifying: two trash bags filled with human remains.

It's just another day in the life of Cochise County sheriff Joanna Brady, who must somehow balance the rigors of police work with a newborn, a teenager, a writer-husband, and a difficult mother. But Joanna will not allow murder to go unpunished in her jurisdiction—even if her path to the truth is twisting and dangerous . . . and leads to shocking revelations about those entrusted with caring for the helpless.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Sheriff Joanna Brady and her staff face a host of challenges while her husband, Butch, tends their infant son in bestseller Jance's solid 13th novel to feature the Cochise County, Ariz., cop (after Dead Wrong). A woman shoots a home intruder, an elderly couple drive their car off a cliff and a mysterious fire kills an older man and leaves three homeless. Were these accidents or something more sinister? When Det. Jaime Carbajal's nephew discovers a body in the desert, the investigation leads to a shady organization that operates halfway houses for troubled and disabled persons. Meanwhile, Joanna must deal with her interfering mother, who exhibits a sudden personality change, and the discovery of family secrets about her late father and late first husband. As usual, Jance beautifully evokes the desert and towns of her belovedsouthwest as well as the strong individuals who live there. 10-city author tour. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
As usual, Sheriff Joanna Brady has a lot on her plate, some of it related to law enforcement. Husbands don't come any better than the one Joanna's brought to the altar. Sensitive, loving, endlessly accepting his status as second banana, Butch Dixon is a stay-at-home treasure. It's Butch's enduring selflessness that enables Joanna to cope with "death, murder, and mayhem" brilliantly enough to keep getting elected in crime-beset Cochise County, Ariz. But now that Butch's first novel is about to hit the stores, and his publisher wants him to help promote it, he wonders what arrangements he can make for four-month-old Baby Dennis while he takes to the road on a book tour. Joanna makes it amply clear that he's not going to make her solely responsible for their son. Not with what might prove a double homicide to solve. Not while the battling Beasley sisters continue to show such potential for violence. Not when her mother has left Joanna the journals of her late father to peruse in order to determine the precise degree to which he'd strayed. Still, Joanna knows that attention must be paid to Saint Butch, lest he too start to compile material for his own journal. Standard Jance (Justice Denied, 2007, etc.): chick-lit dappled with detection.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Joanna Brady Series , #13
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

Damage Control

Chapter One

"Thank You So Much, Mr. Campbell," Claire Newmark said as the disgruntled speaker returned to his seat. As head of the Cochise County Board of Supervisors, Claire was chairing that Friday morning's meeting. "Do you have anything to say in response, Sheriff Brady?"

Joanna snapped awake. One of the things about being a sleep-deprived working mother meant that she could fall asleep anywhere—in front of her computer, at her desk, in church, and definitely in front of the TV set on those rare occasions when she actually tried to watch a show. In this case, she had dozed off during a Board of Supervisors Friday morning meeting.

Randy Campbell was one of Joanna's constituents. A prominent local rancher, Campbell was also one of Joanna's most vociferous critics. He had come to the Board of Supervisors meeting that morning armed with his usual litany of complaints.

Joanna had considerable sympathy for the man. His ranch, located on Border Road just east of Bisbee Junction, was also border-crossing central for illegal immigrants. Campbell's house had been broken into on numerous occasions. His wife and children had been held at gunpoint and threatened by armed robbers who had taken the time to load several television sets and power tools into Randy's pickup truck before driving off in it. His fences had been cut, letting his livestock loose. Once outside the fence, his daughter's prize-winning bull had been hit and killed by a passing Border Patrol vehicle.

So even though Joanna may have allowed herself to doze during the course of Randy Campbell's tirade, she knew what he had said—almostby heart—because she had heard it all before.

"Thank you, Madame Chairman," Joanna said, rising to her feet. "And thank you, too, Mr. Campbell. I appreciate the fact that you're willing to bring your concerns to the attention of this board and also into the public arena. I live in a rural setting myself. Although we haven't had the same number of incidents Mr. Campbell has had, our property, too, has been damaged by illegal crossers.

"The problem is this. We're dealing with something that is well beyond the scope of my department to handle. We've done our best to increase patrols in Mr. Campbell's area. Because of that, we've also managed to decrease our response time. But the truth is, the border-enforcement problem is a national issue. It requires a national solution as opposed to a local one. Our mission is to handle criminal complaints, and we do that to the best of our ability, but that ability is limited by both budgetary and personnel considerations.

"There are eighty miles of international border inside Cochise County. That's a lot of territory to cover. It's also a lot of crime to cover. My department does the best it can, and I'm sure Border Patrol and Homeland Security are doing the best they can to interdict illegal entrants. No one agency caused this, and no one agency can fix it. Thank you."

Randy Campbell was still glowering at her as Joanna resumed her seat. The public-comment part of the meeting had come at the very end of the day's agenda. A few minutes later, as Joanna walked toward her car in the parking lot, Claire Newmark fell into step beside her.

"Sorry to have to let him dump on you like that," Claire said. "But you just stood for reelection. Mine is coming up. If I hadn't given him a forum, he'd come looking for me next. I figured you could handle him, and you did. Very nicely, as a matter of fact. It sounded a little like a stump speech, but not too much. Way to go."

The exchange caught Joanna by surprise. She had gradually come to understand that although the office of sheriff was theoretically nonpartisan, it was definitely not nonpolitical. Everything Joanna did or didn't do was grist for someone's mill, and this was no exception. What she hadn't realized, however, was that somehow the political climate in Cochise County had changed. There was now an established old-girls network capable of wielding its own particular brand of power. To Joanna Brady's astonishment, she was in a position to reap some of the benefits of that unexpected sea change.

"Thanks," she said.

With that, Joanna headed back to her office at the Cochise County Justice Center. She'd had her weekly ordeal by bureaucracy. Now it was time to go do battle with her other daily headache—paperwork. Crime fighting was supposed to be her main focus. Too bad it took so many dead trees to do it.

Alfred Beasley had pretty much of a death grip on the steering wheel of the decrepit old Buick as he nursed it up the steep winding mountain road toward Montezuma Pass. He and Martha had bought the Buick new, fifteen years earlier. At the time they made the purchase, they had also discussed the very real possibility that this would be their last new vehicle—that this final Regal would be their "toes-up" Buick. Back then they hadn't expected it would last nearly as long as it had. Of course, they hadn't really thought they'd make it this far, either. Martha had just turned ninety-one and Alfred himself was eighty-eight. She'd outlived her parents by forty years; Alfred had surpassed his by almost as many.

Throughout their long marriage, they had always loved road trips, and this one was no exception. Martha had insisted that they do Montezuma Pass at the bottom of the Huachuca Mountains "one last time," as she said, and they were doing it, come hell or high water—and not necessarily in that order. The rains had come two days late—on the sixth of July rather than the fourth. Once they were off the paved road and onto gravel, there were places where there were already washouts. In one spot a small boulder had fallen onto the road. Afraid the Buick would high-center if Alfred tried going over it, he carefully steered around it, praying that no one would come barreling downhill toward them when their left rear tire—far more worn than it should have been—was within mere inches of going over the edge. Alfred breathed a heartfelt sigh of relief once they were back on the right-hand side of the narrow road. No matter what else was going on with him, at least he could still drive.

Damage Control. Copyright © by J. Jance. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

J. A. Jance is the New York Times bestselling author of the J. P. Beaumont series, the Joanna Brady series, the Ali Reynolds series, and five interrelated thrillers about the Walker family, as well as a volume of poetry. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.

Brief Biography

Bellevue, Washington
Date of Birth:
October 27, 1944
Place of Birth:
Watertown, South Dakota
B. A., University of Arizona, 1966; M. Ed. in Library Science, University of Arizona, 1970

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Damage Control 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
Whynhema More than 1 year ago
DAMAGE CONTROL is one of those mystery books that defy the usual plot of person killed, lovers unite, killer caught. This book takes you over mountain roads, back roads, from town to country to city in search of an ever elusive killer, especially when all the victims seem to have died either from suicide or accident. J. A. Jance gives an excellent characterization of Joanna Brady, Cochise County sheriff, who has to juggle not just house work and child care with her profession but also encourage her writer husband as he nears the edge of breaking it big with his next book. This story runs smoothly and is easy reading. It's told in a down to earth style and keeps you wondering if perhaps Joanna is mistaken in her theory of mass murders. The book holds your attention to the very end which is believable and satisfactory. I hope to read more books by Ms. Jance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Get comfortable, grab your favorite drink and settle in for a day of good reading. Jance has written another story that is spellbinding and mysterious.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I usually enjoy Ms. Jance's books and this was no exception. I recommend it for anyone looking for an enjoyable read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This new offering by J.A. Jance, Damage Control, is as good as her others in her Joanna Brady series. For those who've not had a taste of Jance, you're in for atreat, esp with this 13 book series. Joanna is the sheriff of Bisbee in Cochise County, Arizona. Her first case happens to be an accident off an overpass, which looks like a suicide pact between an elderly local couple, but when the evidence pops up, some very suspicious characters loom in the picture. Another case, where an intruder breaks into the house of a young terrified and much abused and battered woman, kills the guy, thinking him to be her ex-boyfriend Amidst all this, there is a horrific storm, whichmakes recovering the bodies and car from aravine. Then, a young boy finds parts of a dead body in two large trash bags that had floated miles from where the body was left. Trying to juggle a career, a teenaged daughter, a 4 month old baby son, spelling feedings with her author/writer hubby and trying to understand her difficult mother, makes for a good read. On a beautiful sunny day in the Coronado National Monument, an elderly couple's car goes off the side of a mountain and into oblivion. The terrain is so rocky that a helicopter must be flown in to redtrieve the bodies, and to make matters worse, a thunderstorm is looming onthe horizon. Hours later and miles away, the subsiding rain redveals gruesome evidence: two trash bags containing human remains. This is just a little to whet your appetite for more. I highly recommend this new novel by a great best-selling author. She has her new Ali Reynolds series, J.P. Beaumont series and a 3 book thriller. Forever Friends Rating 4 Stars by Teri Until Later, Happy Reading!!!! Damage Control (Joanna Brady Series #13) by J. A. Jance Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Pub. Date: July 2008 ISBN-13: 9780060746766 374pp Series: Joanna Brady Series, #13 Other Formats: Paperback - Large Prin - Large Print Compact Disc - Unabridged
Guest More than 1 year ago
Joanna Brady is the Cochise County Sheriff. She's also a wife and mother of a teenager and a young baby. Her husband is a writer and usually takes care of the kids and home when Joanna is working. He's under a deadline, so things are a bit strained. Things become even more difficult due to a busy weekend. Alfred and Martha Beasley plunge through a retaining wall off the mountainside in their car after a picnic lunch. Was it a suicide pact? After a storm garbage bags are found with the remains of Wanda Mappin who had disappeared some months ago from a Flannigan Foundation group home. She had complained to her mother not long before disappearing that Wayne was missing. The home listed her missing immediately but waiting two months to report the disappearance. What do they have to hide? When the Beasley daughters arrive in town, things heat up. They haven't spoken for decades. Soon they're in jail after a drunk and disorderly altercation. Later one has a psychotic breakdown and holds her sister hostage. What is happening to everyone? To top it all off, Joanna's mother is acting more strange than normal. Can Joanna assist with the investigations and keep things going at home? This is one of my absolute favorite series. I often site down and read them in one day. Joanna is such a fabulous character, and her family is so believable. I like where the author is taking the series. I can't wait for the next one. Unfortunately the author writes three series, so it will be a while 'til there will be another in this series. Luckily, I like all three series! Joanna is a great sheriff. She's demanding yet fair and understanding. I like seeing the human side of her show up in her official duties. I also like seeing how she has to juggle family and work. That's how it is for most people. The author does a fabulous job of intertwining the various stories without jerking you from one to the other. It's very seamless. I highly recommend this book and all her series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An intruder is murdered. An elderly couple runs their car off a cliff while holding hands. A trailer fire kills a man. Skeletal remains are found in a plastic bag. A quiet weekend in Cochise County, Arizona is a thing of the past. â¿¿Damage Controlâ¿ combines suicide, murder, with revelations concerning Sheriff Joanna Bradyâ¿¿s personal life, in a rousing mystery sure to keep you turning the pages far into the night.
pilotgr More than 1 year ago
kpTX More than 1 year ago
I'm loving reading thru this series of mysteries. characters are enjoyable -except the rotten people and being in middle life with older parents I understand the motivations in the first car over the cliff.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The white wolf smiled and dipped his head. "Yes please! I am Fenrir and the grumpy old wolf is Kira. This little pup is..." he was interrupted byt a bark. And the said little pup shot out from beneath her father and ran to the adult female and ran underneath to sit underneath her below her belly. She smiled and barked. "I am Kai! Daddy is Akira and uncle is Fenrir! Whats your name?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nodded and said, "Okay."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mist licked her pup clean and panted.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fluff looked around camp. "Yes, Martha, you may join. Ask Alph what your rank is when she's on." <p> Snow liked Mist's nose with her small pink tounge
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Will be gone for 2 weeks.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shadow broke away from his sister. Night sighed and layed down, rollkng her eyes up to gaze at the sky.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Meh! There are a little more little baby puppies. Thos shall be a good meal." He runs forward, and knocks Shadow down. Since he is 10 feet long, his sheer strength and speed would be lamost impossible. (Guys, be realistic. It takes at least 3 wolves to ANNOY ME! It takes 5 cats to stop me from harming a cat. It takes 15 to kill me.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This installment in the continuing oanna Brady saga is just as good as the others- a great read and keeps you engaged. The storyline continues to be fast-paced and action-filled with a healthy dose of emotion thrown into the mix. As usual, I highly recommend it to readers of mysteries. Stephanie clanahan
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it will not diapoint
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I, as usual, enjoyed this installment of the Joanny Brady series by J.A. Jance. Good plot and action. Nearly done reading all of them. Highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can't go wrong with J. A. Jance.
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