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Dead Wrong (Joanna Brady Series #12)

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Juggling a family and a career is never easy -- and it's becoming a real challenge for Sheriff Joanna Brady. Coping with the impending delivery of her second child as well as a staff shortage, the last thing Joanna needs are two serious crimes.

First, the body of an unidentified man is found in the desert, all ten of his fingers savagely severed. Following the scant clues, Joanna learns that the victim was an ex-con who had served twenty years...
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Juggling a family and a career is never easy -- and it's becoming a real challenge for Sheriff Joanna Brady. Coping with the impending delivery of her second child as well as a staff shortage, the last thing Joanna needs are two serious crimes.

First, the body of an unidentified man is found in the desert, all ten of his fingers savagely severed. Following the scant clues, Joanna learns that the victim was an ex-con who had served twenty years in prison after confessing to the murder of his pregnant wife. In his last days he was seen following and photographing a young woman.

Then one of Joanna's officers is brutally attacked and left for dead while on an unauthorized stakeout. Because she's one of their own, the department throws its resources into finding the officer's attacker.

But the murder haunts Joanna. Being a sheriff is no longer an empty title she wants to achieve -- somehow it has become what she is. Her job is to avenge man's inhumanity to man, and finding out who the victim was and why he is now dead is what she has been summoned to do with her life. Strapping on a bulletproof vest, she'll risk everything to see that justice is done.

About the Author
J. A. JANCE is the New York Times-bestselling author of the J. P. Beaumont series, the Joanna Brady series, and three interrelated thrillers featuring the Walker family. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Jance's 12th Joanna Brady novel, the sheriff of Cochise County, Arizona, is faced with two major professional cases: the murder of a self-confessed wife killer recently released from jail and the brutal rape and beating of an animal control officer. She's also dealing with new and unproven deputies and trying to finding a home for a python snake and way too many confiscated killer pit bulls. In addition, she is about to give birth to her second child, an event that precipitates the unwanted arrival of her in-laws. Sheriff Brady's problems pose no great difficulty for reader Ericksen. She lets Jance's event-packed plot do most of the heavy lifting while she reads the story simply and effectively. Ericksen prefers to differentiate speakers, be they men, women or children, by attitude and pacing rather than pitch. She can push her vocal interpretation when appropriate, providing several unique, credible south of the border accents, for example, or indulging in a little heavy breathing when the very pregnant Sheriff Brady faces danger while strapped in a confining Kevlar vest. Simultaneous release with the Morrow hardcover (Reviews, May 8). (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In her latest offering, Jance presents another strong female protagonist who endures seemingly impossible circumstances. Joanna Brady is the sheriff of a desert town in Arizona, and she also happens to be nine months pregnant. As she is supposed to be preparing to slow down and begin her maternity leave, she is presented with two major cases that need immediate attention. One of her officers is almost killed investigating a dog-fighting ring, and a man, previously sentenced to prison for killing his pregnant wife, has been found dead. Add to the mix Joanna's teenage daughter, meddling mother, husband, irritating in-laws, and a motley crew of officers, and our sheriff has her hands full. Despite only a slightly above-average plot, the writing is decent, and the production is really quite good. Susan Ericksen gives a fine and engaging performance, handling the multiple characterizations very well. Not an essential purchase, this is best suited for fiction and/or mystery collections in large public libraries.-Nicole A. Cooke, Montclair State Univ. Lib., NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Cochise County, Ariz., sheriff Joanna Brady (Partner in Crime, 2002, etc.), nine months pregnant and almost too big for her Kevlar vest, solves one of her father's old cases. Although his pregnant wife's body was never found, Bradley Evans, who thought he might have killed her in a drunken blackout, confessed to her murder and spent 25 years in prison for it. Released, sober and a lay member of the prison ministries, Evans lasts only two years on the outside before someone kills him and cuts off his fingers. The homicide falls to Joanna, but she's short-staffed-one deputy has prostate cancer, another's in ICU from a near-fatal beating-and sidetracked by the nasty O'Dwyer brothers' dog-fighting ring, the swarms of illegals crossing the Mexican border and her mother and mother-in-law, who brandish words like swords in disapproval of her. When she discovers Evans had been stalking a young woman who was the spitting image of his wife, she exhumes her father's case files and journals. Was Mrs. Evans alive? Did she give birth to a daughter? Was Bradley Evans framed? The resolution will involve DNA testing for Huntington's disease, a close look at several marriages and divorces and a marginally plausible baby swap. Typical Jance fare: lots of plotting, not all of it well-thought-out, and a generous helping of schmaltz. Congrats are in order, however, on the birth of Joanna and Butch's son Dennis.
Entertainment Weekly
“Taut . . . entertaining.”
Orlando Sentinel
“Credible and entertaining.”
Dallas Morning News
“Suspenseful, action-packed.”
Praise for J.A. Jance:“Jance delivers a devilish page-turner.”
Washington Times
“J.A. Jance does not disappoint her fans.”
“Jance deftly combines personal and professional stories in this twelfth Brady mystery.”
Praise for J.A. Jance:“Jance delivers a devilish page-turner.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060540913
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/26/2007
  • Series: Joanna Brady Series , #12
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 155,253
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 1.04 (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.


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

Dead Wrong

A Novel of Suspense
By J. Jance

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 J. Jance
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060540907

Chapter One

Ken Galloway sauntered up to the lectern and wrenched the neck of the microphone to its full height. Then, smiling, he gazed out at the "Candidate's Night" audience assembled in the spacious meeting room of the Sierra Vista Public Library.

"First off," he said with an engaging grin, "let me say that I'm in favor of motherhood and apple pie. After all, if it weren't for my mother, where would I be?"

The anticipated ripple of polite laughter drifted through the crowd. This was Ken's favorite way of opening his stump speeches. It always served him well in getting things off to a good start. Beginning with a familiar joke was a way of putting his whole political agenda front and center.

Seated off to Ken Galloway's right, Sheriff Joanna Brady steeled herself for what she knew would come next. She folded her hands in her lap, plastered a faint and entirely fake smile on her face, and willed her ears not to turn red. This far into the campaign she should have been used to her opponent's constant references to what he described as her "delicate condition." Joanna should have been accustomed to it, but she wasn't. The subject still rankled her every time Ken Jr. brought it up. She resented his constantly drawingattention to her growing belly and casually discussing her pregnancy again and again as though she were nothing more than an obliging live-action mannequin in some high school sex-ed classroom.

"The point is," Ken continued, "when my brothers and I were little, our mother stayed home and took care of us."

Yes, Joanna thought, because your father took off and left Lillyan Galloway penniless. She ended up living on welfare and raising her kids on Aid to Dependent Children. But Ken Galloway never mentioned that part of his wonderfully idealized family history, and neither did Joanna.

"Call me old-fashioned," Ken went on, "but I think there's a lot to be said for mothers being at home with their kids. Cochise County is a big place. There have been times in the last four years when Sheriff Brady hasn't been as responsive to her duties as she might have been due to the very real conflict of having a child at home. How much more difficult will it be for her to attend to law enforcement needs when she has two children to contend with, including a newborn baby?"

In the back of the room a woman, applauding furiously, rose to her feet. "That's right, Ken! Way to go!" Eleanor Lathrop Winfield shouted. "You tell her."

Joanna's mother's enthusiastic outburst was enough to propel Joanna out of her dream. She awakened panting and sweating, but the dream stayed with her for several long minutes. Although those were likely Eleanor's true feelings, to Joanna's personal knowledge her mother had never made any such statement -- at least not in public -- not during the campaign or after it.

The election itself was now a full three months in the past. Joanna had managed to eke out a narrow 587-vote victory, so she should have been over the campaign nightmares, but she wasn't. Night after night, in some variation of that same dream, she was perpetually running for office, and night after night her mother's continuing disapproval was always with her.

She reached out, longing to cuddle up to Butch's comforting presence, but he wasn't there. He had left early the previous afternoon for El Paso and a weekend mystery conference, where he would be on what his editor called the "limbo" panel -- made up of first-time writers whose books were sold but not yet published. Butch's first novel, Serve and Protect, wasn't due out until September, but his editor, Carole Ann Hudson, had engineered his being placed on a panel at the conference so he could "start getting his name out there."

"I'm not going to go running off to El Paso for three days when the baby's due in less than a week," Butch had declared.

"Due dates aren't exactly chiseled in granite," Joanna had responded. "Look at Jenny. She was ten days late, and I was in labor for the better part of eight hours before she was born. Think about it. El Paso is only five hours away, especially the way you drive. If I called you right away, you'd be here in plenty of time. Besides, Carole Ann must have gone to a lot of trouble to make this happen, including having bound galleys available. You need to be there."

But now, with the nightmare still lingering and her back hurting like crazy, Joanna wished she hadn't insisted Butch go. What she would have liked more than anything right then was one of his special back rubs. And although massages helped, Joanna was tired of having a sore back. Tired of not being able to sleep on her stomach. Tired as hell of being pregnant. And, as if to add its own two cents' worth, the baby stirred suddenly inside her and began hammering away at her ribs.

"All right, all right," she grumbled. "Since we're both wide awake, I could just as well get up."

Pulling on a wool robe that no longer connected around her middle, Joanna waddled out into the kitchen and started heating water. The bouts of morning sickness that had plagued the beginning of her pregnancy no longer existed, but her aversion to the taste of coffee lingered. Tea, not coffee, was now her drink of choice.

Joanna stood at the back door while Lady, the loving Australian shepherd she had rescued the previous summer, went outside to investigate the news of the day. In the crisp chill of early morning, Joanna savored the gentle warmth of the heated floor on her bare feet. Radiant heat in the floor was one of the things Butch had built into their rammed-earth house. At the time he suggested it, Joanna had thought it a peculiar thing to be . . .


Excerpted from Dead Wrong by J. Jance Copyright © 2006 by J. Jance. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 38 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2006

    Current Book

    I have 100 pages left to finish this book. I cannot put it down and I hate for it to end. I have read the entire Joanna Brady series and this one, without a doubt, is a grabber. Do yourself a favor and start the series from the first one and you will be inthralled with the characters to say the least.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2014


    I enjoyed this book. Although the story was somewhat improbable, it was entertaining and kept me interested.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2014

    The Best Yet

    In my opinion, this is the best Joanna Brady novel yet. I rarely give a book 5 star, but this one deserves the high rating. The plot has all the characteristic action and finesse we have come to expect from Jance's work, but it has that little something extra in the human side of the story. I recommend it very highly to those interested in female who-done-its, but also to all those animal lovers out there. Stepanie Clanahan

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2013

    Superb storytelling!

    I enjoyed this installment in the Joanna Brady series, by J.A. Jance. I'm reading them all and this one did not disappoint. Highly recommend the whole series. You'll fall in love with Joanna Brady and her grit!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2013

    Enjoyed !

    You won't be disappointed.

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  • Posted May 24, 2013

    Always a good read

    Love Jance--especially Joanna and Beau stories. She offers intriguing situations linked nicely to every day life situations. I read'em all, though her new protagonist hasn't "grabbed" me yet.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    Recommended reading!

    I loved it like most of the books that I have read of J.A.Jance.

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  • Posted June 10, 2012

    Recommend it!

    Love this series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2012

    Great book

    I have been reading and re-reading all of the JA Jance books and love them!

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Book

    Being from Arizona and visiting Southern Arizona frequently, this book is great at being able to picture the area and characters. It keeps you on edge and I found it very hard to put down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2006

    One of Jance's Best!

    Sheriff Joanna Brady, ¿sheriff¿ is a title and job that Joanna Brady worked hard to both win and earn. She won the election. Through her dedication, attention to detail, her excellent deductive reasoning skills, and willingness to do all the job entails, she earned the title. Now, however, the job gets more difficult during her ninth month of pregnancy. Certainly the man found dead and dumped in the desert with all of his fingers cut off wouldn¿t have chosen this fate, but he wouldn¿t have chosen to spend twenty years of his life thinking he had killed his wife and unborn child either. Could this have happened? Joanna makes it a priority to see justice done for Bradley Evans, a man her father felt was innocent. Then, while on an unauthorized stakeout, one of her Animal Control officers was raped, beaten, and left for dead. One week to go with a yard full of nosey in-laws, and a baby out to there, Joanna finds herself embroiled in a 20 year old crime that reaches to the present and continues to affect the participants, 75 abused and dying pit bulls and puppies, a lesbian Animal Control officer fighting for her life, and an jealous lover on the run. Could it get any worse? Well. . . . This is one of Jance¿s best with a chase, shoot-out, and a satisfying end. Jance earned her five stars!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2006


    Boring and predictable.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    Prolific is too weak a word to describe New Times bestselling author J. A. Jance. Her store of scenarios for mysteries is seemingly as vast as the Arizona desert (a state in which she has a home). She has penned the popular Joanna Brady series, the J. P. Beaumont series plus three thrillers with the Walker family as lead characters. Much to her credit each story is fresh and new, with characters bearing little similarity to others she has introduced. With Dead Wrong Joanna Brady takes the spotlight. She has just been re-elected Sheriff of Cochise County, Arizona and is about to have her second child. Impending motherhood has to be set aside when a man is found murdered in the desert. He's one of those nameless unfortunate souls with no identification. The only thing that differentiates him from other unidentified bodies is that all of his fingers have been cut off. As it turns out, he was a pretty despicable character - served prison time for the killing of his pregnant wife. And once released from jail he apparently stalked a young woman. Joanna's persistent digging turns up a connection between this man and one of her late father's cases. However, before she has a chance to pursue that any further Animal Control Officer Jeannine Phillips is beaten near death during a stakeout. Obviously, all hands and energy are poured into discovering who did this to one of their own. Leave it to Jance to craft another can't-put-down mystery and leave it to voice performer Susan Ericksen to deliver a five star narration. She's a stage and television actress whom many may remember for her readings of the J. D. Robb stories. Mysteries seem to be her bailiwick and she narrates them with sureness and an articulation that emphasizes suspense. - Gail Cooke

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A terrific Sheriff Brady police procedural

    Running for reelection while pregnant, Joanna Brady wins another term as sheriff of Cochise County, Arizona, which shows the voters have confidence in her skills. Meanwhile the cops tie a homicide victim, who many believe deserved death due to his disgusting past, to a highly regarded state judge and personal link to Joanna via a connection to her deceased father, a decorated sheriff.--------- The department also handles the vicious beating of Animal Control Officer Jeannine Phillips, which the cops take as a personal affront forcing Brady to keep a tighter reign on her staff than usual. Finally dealing with illegal immigrant trafficking is taking a toll on the overworked staff. However, as difficult as the case load is, the worst thing to happen to Joanna is her insufferable in-laws come en masse to celebrate the soon to born child to tire the weary Sheriff further.----------------- Somewhat with the feel of Fargo (for obvious reasons), DEAD WRONG is a terrific Sheriff Brady police procedural as the department struggles with being understaffed and over-demanded. The cases as always look deeply at current social problems haunting society such as the impact of alcoholism on a family and late pregnancy on the job especially a demanding dangerous occupation. J.A. Jance is at her best with this strong crime drama.----------- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2013

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