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Dead to Rights (Joanna Brady Series #4)

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Joanna Brady — devoted mother and the first female Sheriff of Cochise County, Arizona — knows what it's like to lose one you love, and her heart still aches over the murder of her policeman husband. But her sympathy for a tragically widowed ex-cop has placed Joanna's future in jeopardy — and her face-to-face with death in the high, lonely desert.

On their nineteenth wedding anniversary, Hal Morgan's wife was fatally struck down by a drunk driver — and the courts punished her ...

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Dead to Rights (Joanna Brady Series #4)

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Overview

Joanna Brady — devoted mother and the first female Sheriff of Cochise County, Arizona — knows what it's like to lose one you love, and her heart still aches over the murder of her policeman husband. But her sympathy for a tragically widowed ex-cop has placed Joanna's future in jeopardy — and her face-to-face with death in the high, lonely desert.

On their nineteenth wedding anniversary, Hal Morgan's wife was fatally struck down by a drunk driver — and the courts punished her killer with only a wrist-slap. A year to the day later the irresponsible motorist is murdered and all fingers are pointing to Morgan as the perpetrator — except Sheriff Brady's. But Joanna's gut instinct is leading her into a maelstrom of danger and deception, as she trails the truth from a ghostly mining camp to the rocky spires of the Chiricahua National Monument. Because now an assassin is turning his sights on her.

Author Biography: J.A. Jance is the American Mystery Award-winning author of the popular J.P. Beaumont mystery series as well as eight mysteries featuring Joanna Brady. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington.

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Editorial Reviews

Chattanooga Times
A Joy ... Startling and unexpected...Another winner, Just what we've come to expect from this excellent writer.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Cochise County, Ariz., sheriff Joanna Brady (Shoot/Don't Shoot) has her newly elected hands full in this fourth adventure. 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 doubts his guilt because she understands his grief, her own husband having been murdered not so long ago. Besides, the widow Buckwalter is strangely stoic, even getting a makeover and playing golf on the day after her husband's death. While Joanna locks horns with experienced detectives on the case, she must cope with her rebellious nine-year-old daughter, Jenny, a bossy mother, budget-cutting county supervisors and her aching loneliness. The unlikely sheriff (her husband had run for the office, and she entered the campaign only after his death) is an engaging heroine, vulnerable but determined to meet the challenges in her personal and public life. Jance skillfully ties the mystery to the southeastern Arizona landscape, its historic mining towns and their modern problems. 75,000 first printing; author tour. (Oct.)
Library Journal
The up-and-coming Jance's last mystery, Tombstone Courage (Morrow, 1994), nudged its way onto the national best sellers lists. Here, she continues the adventures of Arizona sheriff Joanna Brady.
Kirkus Reviews
A fourth outing for Joanna Brady (Shoot, Don't Shoot, 1995, etc.), who's not only the sheriff of Arizona's Cochise County—and that means administrator, investigator, crisis manager, grief counselor, and on-call patroller—but also a full-time mother, daughter, and daughter-in-law. Joanna's biggest case this time is the torching of unloved veterinarian Amos Buckwalter's barn with him inside. Everything points to Hal Morgan, whose wife was the victim of Bucky's lethal binge of drunk driving a year ago, as the killer. But Joanna's impressed by Morgan's claims of innocence and appalled by the Widow Buckwalter's unseemly lack of mourning (a round of golf and a makeover the following day), which contrasts so vividly with Joanna's continued grieving for her own husband. Besides Bucky's murder, there are other cases—the death of ancient Reed Carruthers, a smuggler's fatal car crash—but more important are the endless domestic intrigues of Joanna's circle. What's holding up her friend Marianne Maculyea's adoption of a Chinese orphan? How can Joanna prevent her daughter from bullying her into buying Bucky's horse? What can Joanna say to the wife of a deputy who's leaving her husband over Joanna? And why does Joanna's long-lost adult brother get along so much better with their difficult mother than Joanna does?

Jance's portrait of Sheriff Supermom and her world is painted in broad, soapy strokes—perfect entertainment for anybody who wonders how J.J. Marric's George Gideon would've made out as a southwestern American female.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380724321
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/1997
  • Series: Joanna Brady Series , #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

J. A. Jance

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 four 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.

Biography

Considering J. A. Jance's now impressive career -- which includes two massively popular mystery series and status as a New York Times bestseller -- it may be difficult to believe that she was initially strongly discouraged from literary pursuits. A chauvinistic creative writing professor advised her to seek out a more "ladylike" job, such as nurse or schoolteacher. Moreover, her alcoholic husband (a failed Faulkner wannabe) assured her there was room in the family for only one writer, and he was it. Determined to make her doomed marriage work, Jance put her writing on the back burner. But while her husband slept, she penned the visceral poems that would eventually be collected in After the Fire.

Jance next chose to use her hard times in a more unlikely manner. Encouraged by an editor to try writing fiction after a failed attempt at a true-crime book, she created J. P. Beaumont, a homicide detective with a taste for booze. Beaumont's drinking problem was clearly linked to Jance's dreadful experiences with her first husband; but, as she explains it: "Beaumont was smart enough to sober up, once the problem was brought to his attention. My husband, on the other hand, died of chronic alcoholism at age 42." So, from misfortune grew one of the most popular characters in modern mystery fiction. Beaumont debuted in 1985's Until Proven Guilty -- and, after years of postponing her writing career, Jance was on her way.

As a sort of light flipside to the dark Beaumont, Jance created her second series in 1991. Inspired by the writer's happier role as a mom, plucky small-town sheriff Joanna Brady was introduced in Desert Heat and struck an immediate chord with readers. In 2005, Jance added a third story sequence to her repertoire with Edge of Evil, featuring Ali Reynolds, a former TV reporter-turned-professional blogger.

And so, the adventures continue! A career such as Jance's would be extraordinary under any circumstances, but considering the obstacles she overcame to become a bestselling, critically acclaimed novelist, her tale is all the more compelling. As she explains it: "One of the wonderful things about being a writer is that everything -- even the bad stuff -- is usable."

Good To Know

Geographically speaking, Jance is equal parts J. P. Beaumont and Joanna Brady. She splits her time between Beaumont's big-city home of Seattle and Brady's desert residence of Arizona.

Before her writing career become truly lucrative, Jance made little more than "fun money" off her books, and on her web site, she wryly recalls "the Improbable Cause trip to Walt Disney World; the Minor in Possession memorial powder room; the Payment in Kind memorial hot tub."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Judith Ann Jance
    2. Hometown:
      Bellevue, Washington
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 27, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Watertown, South Dakota
    1. Education:
      B. A., University of Arizona, 1966; M. Ed. in Library Science, University of Arizona, 1970
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"Mom", Jenny Brady shouted, pounding on the bathroom door. "Come quick."

Joanna Brady, half-dressed in her slip, bra, and panty hose, stood in front of the steamy bathroom mirror.A mascara brush was poised in her hand.Jenny's frantic pounding startled her enough that she left a smudge of mascara under her green eyes as she hurried to throw open the door. " What is it?"

"Tigger did it again."

"Did what?"

"Got into another porcupine.Look," Jenny said, kneeling next to the panting dog. "He's got quills all over his face, even in his tongue this time."Joanna knelt beside her nine-year-old daughter to examine the injured dog. Tigger's mixed bloodlines, half golden retriever/half pit bull-had left him looking more comical than fierce. He had the blunt nose and the white eye patch of a pit bull combined with a lush, flowing golden retriever coat. Now he stood there, patient and dejected, letting Joanna study him. His head resembled a pincushion, only the pins in question were three-to-four inches long and a quarter of an inch wide. Threads of bloody drool dangled from his mouth and dripped onto the tile floor,

"What about Sadie?" Joanna asked, referring to their other dog, a female bluetick hound.

"Sadie's fine." Jenny struggled to hold back her tears. "She's eating and Tigger can't, so I brought him inside."Joanna Brady, sheriff of Cochise County in the farsoutheastern comer of the state of Arizona, glanced at her watch and then back into her daughter's blue eyes. There wasn't much time. The last thing she needed was some new crisis on the home front as she set off to fight her department's budget wars. still, theseriousness of the quills embedded in Tigger's nose precluded any delay.

"That was good thinking," Joanna said, touching Jenny's shoulder and trying to reassure her troubled child that she had done the right thing. "If we hurry, I'll have time to drop him off at Doc Buckwalter's on my way to the board of supervisors meeting. Do you think you can load him into the Blazer while I finish getting dressed?"

Jenny nodded wordlessly and started toward the kitchen, with the dog trailing obediently at her heels. "And, Jenny?"

Jenny stopped and turned back to her mother. The tears were flowing now, sliding down her cheeks, dripping onto her blouse. It wounded Joanna, made her heart hurt, that Jenny had tried so hard to keep her tears from showing.

"What?" Jenny asked.

"Make a bed for him in the backseat with some Of those old clean blankets from the laundry room," Joanna cautioned. "Otherwise he's likely to drip all over the carpet."

Nodding again, Jenny set off.

The new Blazer Joanna drove was, after all, a county owned vehicle. She wasn't eager to explain to the guys in Motor Pool how bloodstains found in the back of her vehicle came from a dog so terminally dumb as to go after a porcupine-most likely the same one-for the third time in as many months. Back in the bathroom Joanna repaired the mascara damage and ran a brush through her red hair. It was getting too long, she noticed. She'd have to have it cut soon, although she had delayed going back to the beauty shop because she was still irked about Jenny's awful and unauthorized permanent.While Joanna had been off in Phoenix attending a police officer training school, her mother, Eleanor Lathrop, had engineered a trip to Helene's Salon of Hair and Beauty for her granddaughter as a "surprise" for Joanna with disastrous results. Jenny's fine blond hair had been chemically fried to a crisp in the process. Two months later, she still looked as though she had put her finger in an electrical socket. And although Joanna held her mother primarily responsible, she was still peeved at Helen Barco, the beautician, as well.

Hurrying into the bedroom, Joanna grabbed clothes from the closet.Since most of the day would be taken up with meetings with the Cochise County Board of Supervisors, she was tempted to leave her body armor at home. Supervisor meetings were held in an overheated conference room and the soft body armor always made the heat that much worse. But Joanna was a sheriff who was determined to lead by example.Since she was trying to convince her officers of the advisability of wearing bullet-resistant vests whenever they were on duty, she put hers on as well. Besides, considering the fact that the new sheriff's honeymoon period with the board was already over, maybe wearing body armor to the meeting wasn't all that bad an idea.

Jenny came back into the bedroom and dropped onto the bed. Her eyes were stiff red, but she was no longer crying. "Can I go with you to drop Tigger off?" she asked.

Joanna shook her head. "I don't think so, sweetie. Look at the time.If I take you by the clinic and then to school, we'll both end up being late. If you want to, though, you can ride with me as far as the bus stop."

Joanna thought her reply was perfectly reasonable. Jenny's response was not. "I hate school!" she lashed out with an unexpected vehemence that took Joanna by surprise.,"And I hate meetings, too! You always have to go to meetings. You're always in a hurry!"

With that, Jenny turned and stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind her. Joanna hurried after her. "Jenny"..."I don't want to ride with you!" Jenny yelled angrily from the laundry-room door. "I'll ride my bike to the bus stop, and I don't care if you take Tigger to the vet or not.Just leave him here if you want to. That way you won't be late."

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 24 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    Enjoyable read.

    I enjoyed reading Dead to Rights by J.A. Jance. By now I really am liking the primary characters. This story had a good twist and had an interesting plot. I plan on reading all of the Joanna Brady series books by Jance.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2008

    another good one

    I really snese that the series is building and hasn't even gotten to the best part. We are still in the introduction to Joanna's life as a mom/sheriff. She blossoms in this book, along with many other characters. The writing is seemingly a lot better. It feels like Jance has finally settled into the series and is comfortable, and more compeelling in her style. Although the murder mystery in this book wasn't toally there for me, and was a bit slow, I enjoyed the book immenselly for the reasons I just explained. I will definetly read the rest of the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2014

    Beware: You Might Fall in Love with Joanna Brady

    Good mysteries with an oh so human protagonist who grows with each volume. Highly recommended series best read in chronological order.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Spell binding

    One of those I hate to put it down books!

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