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Desert Heat (Joanna Brady Series #1)
     

Desert Heat (Joanna Brady Series #1)

4.0 67
by J. A. Jance, Ellen Travolta (Read by)
 

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Life is good for Joanna Brady in the small desert community of Bisbee. She has Jenny, her adored nine-year-old daughter, and solid, honest, and loving husband, Andy, a local lawman who's running for Sheriff of Cochise County. But her good life explodes when a bullet destroys Andy Brady's future and leaves him dying beneath the blistering Arizona sun.

The police

Overview

Life is good for Joanna Brady in the small desert community of Bisbee. She has Jenny, her adored nine-year-old daughter, and solid, honest, and loving husband, Andy, a local lawman who's running for Sheriff of Cochise County. But her good life explodes when a bullet destroys Andy Brady's future and leaves him dying beneath the blistering Arizona sun.

The police brass claim that Andy was dirty--up to his neck in drugs and smuggling--and that the shooting was a suicide attempt. Joanna knows a cover-up when she hears one...and murder when she sees it. But her determined effort to track down an assassin and clear her husband's name are placing herself and her Jenny in serious jeopardy. Because, in the desert, the truth can be far more lethal than a rattler's bite.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Jance ( Hour of the Hunter ) has created a taut and poignant mystery. Joanna Brady finds her husband, Andy, shot in the Arizona desert on the night of their tenth wedding anniversary. But this, and Andy's subsequent suspicious death in the hospital, is only the beginning of the destruction of the comfortable world of Joanna and her nine-year-old daughter, Jenny. The police decide that Andy, a sheriff's deputy, tried to commit suicide. He is further implicated as the hit man in a mob rub-out and fingered as a crooked cop with drug-cartel connections. Even his personal life is dragged through the mud, as allegations of an extramarital affair surface. Neither mother nor daughter is spared from the brutality of the accusations: the DEA comes after Joanna, while schoolmates taunt Jenny. All the while, Jance cross-cuts to the contract killer who shot Andy. The conclusion features a classic confrontation, but the post-showdown ending seems trite. Until that moment, however, Jance's tale crackles with tension. Joanna's struggle and pain are affecting; Jance writes with an understanding that character is destiny. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Castle's disturbing 1984 novel is told mostly through the eyes of Michael Louden, one of The Strangers, a separate breed waiting to murder the rest of humankind. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781556866371
Publisher:
Books in Motion
Publication date:
06/01/1998
Series:
Joanna Brady Series , #1
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
4.86(w) x 8.46(h) x 1.34(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Joanna Brady stepped to the doorway of the screened back porch and stared out into the night. The moonlit sky was a pale gray above the jagged black contours of the Mule Mountains ten miles away. September's daytime heat had peeled away from the high Sonoran Desert of southeastern Arizona, and Joanna shivered as she stood still, listening to yipping coyotes and watching for traffic on the highway a mile and a half away. Beside her, Sadie, Joanna's gangly blue-tick hound, listened as well, her tail thumping happily on the worn, wooden floor of the porch.

"Where is he, girl?" Joanna asked. "Where's Andy?" Happy to have someone speaking to her, the dog once more thumped her long tail.

Up on the highway, a pair of headlights rounded the long curve and emerged from the mountain pass. Speeding tires keened down the blacktop, passing the Double Adobe turnoff without even slowing down. That one wasn't him, either. Disappointed, Joanna sighed and went back inside, taking the dog with her.

In the living room she could hear the drone of her mother's favorite television game show while Jennifer, her daughter, was eating dinner in the kitchen.

"Is Daddy coming now?" Jennifer asked.

Joanna shook her head. "Not yet," she answered, trying to conceal the hurt and anger in her voice. She kicked off her heels, poured herself another cup of coffee, and settled into the breakfast nook opposite her blonde, blue-eyed daughter. At nine, Jenny was a female mirror image of her father.

Despite Joanna's soothing words to thecontrary, Jennifer assessed her mother's mood with uncanny accuracy. "Are you mad at him?" she asked.

"A little," Joanna admitted reluctantly. A lot was more like it, she thought. It was a hell of a thing to be stood up like this on your own damn wedding anniversary, especially when Andy himself had insisted on the date and had madeall the arrangements. He was the one who had first suggested, and then insisted, that they get a room at the hotel and spend the night, reliving their comic opera wedding night from ten years before.

At the time Andy had suggested it, Joanna had asked him if he was sure. For one thing, staying in the hotel would cost a chunk of money, an added expense they could ill afford. For another, there was time. Not only was Andy a full-time deputy for the Cochise County Sheriff's department, he was also running for sheriff against his longtime boss, Walter McFadden.

The election was now less than six weeks away. Joanna had been through enough campaigns with her father to know that conserving both energy and focus was vital that close to election day. In the meantime, Joanna had her own job to worry about. Milo Davis, the owner of the insuranceagency where she worked as office manager, had offered her a partnership. To that end he had started sending her out on more and more sales calls, letting her earn commission over and above her office-duty pay. But it meant that she, too, was essentially holding down two full-time jobs.

Joanna was the first to admit that between the two of them, she and Andy had precious little time to spend together, but staying in the hotel overnight seemed to be overdoing it. Andy, however, had laughed aside all Joanna's objections and told her to be ready at six when he'd come by to pick her up.

Well, six had long since come and gone and he still wasn't home. Eleanor Lathrop, Joanna's mother, had been at the house watching television since five-thirty. Since six sharp, Joanna's small packed suitcase had sat forlornly by the back door, joined now by her discarded shoes, but at seven forty-five, Andrew Roy Brady was still nowhere to be found.

"Maybe he had car trouble," Jennifer suggested, snagging a piece of green chili from her plate and stuffing it back inside her grilled cheese sandwich from which she had carefully removed all the crusts. Joanna bit back the urge to tell Jenny to stop being silly, to shape up and eat her discarded bread crusts, and to stop casting herself in the role of family peacemaker, but Joanna Brady had embarked on a conscious struggle to be less like her own mother. She let it pass. After all, there was no sense in turning Jennifer into any more of a family Ping-Pong ball than she already was.

"You're right," Joanna agreed finally. "That's probably what happened. He'll be here any minute."

"Are you going to tell Grandma to go on home?" Jenny asked.

Joanna shook her head. "Not yet. We'll wait a little longer."

Jenny finished her sandwich, pushed her plate aside, and started in on the dish of sliced peaches. Eva Lou Brady, Joanna's mother-in-law, had canned them herself with fruit from the carefully nurtured freestone peach trees planted just outside the kitchen door. Joanna got up and dished out a helping of peaches of her own. Two hours past their usual dinner hour, it was a long time since lunch, and she was starving.

"Was I premature?" Jennifer asked suddenly.

The jolting question came from clear out in left field. A slice of peach slid down sideways and caught momentarily in Joanna's throat. She coughed desperately to dislodge it.

"Premature?" Joanna choked weakly when she was finally able to speak.

Joanna Brady had always known that eventually she'd have to face up to the discrepancy between the timing of her wedding anniversary and Jenny's birthday six short months later. But she had expected the question to come much later, when Jennifer was thirteen or fourteen. Not now when she was nine, not when Joanna hadn't had time to prepare a suitable answer.

"What makes you ask that?" she asked, stalling...

Desert Heat. 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

Hometown:
Bellevue, Washington
Date of Birth:
October 27, 1944
Place of Birth:
Watertown, South Dakota
Education:
B. A., University of Arizona, 1966; M. Ed. in Library Science, University of Arizona, 1970
Website:
http://www.jajance.com/

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Desert Heat (Joanna Brady Series #1) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 67 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is such a great start to a great series. I found it n my Aunt's motorhome. I didn't think it was going to be anything specail, but it was great! Having grown up in Tucson and Sierra Vista, it gave me a whole new apprecitaion for the series. The story is amazing. It is just one of those rare books that you can't wait to get back to because you're mind is just so wrapped up in it, it feels like you are still insie of it even after you are done reading for the day. The rest of the books just get better. When I get a new book of hers, I don't know what to do with myself. Anyway, read it. You'll know what I mean.
MTJAXX More than 1 year ago
This is the first book of J.A. Jance's that I have read. Being the first of the series, it does a great job of setting up the characters for the rest of the series while getting you hooked on the general storyline. I think that you will like this book if you are ready for some crime solving and a tough woman with a soft heart.
COOPSTER More than 1 year ago
If you like a bit of a romantic mystery, this series fits the bill. My suggestion is to read them in order it kind of makes the series flow one book to another keeping the story line in line. I like this series because it is about a woman sheriff that has taken charge of her life after a traumatic experience (the death of her husband) The series has lots of great charecters and action. I am on the fourth in the series and I can't wait to move on to the next. one.
AZShooter3431 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book and have started reading the second book in the series. I especially enjoy these books since I live in Cochise County and was a Deputy Sheriff for over 6 years back in the late 70's and early 80's. The writing is easy to read and the book flows smoothly. The only thing that slowed progress was Jance spent a lot of time on the personal lives of the characters. I would have liked more of the police related investigation stuff. That being said, I recommend the book to everyone who enjoys a good drama and "who done it" book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoyed Desert Heat by J.A. Jance, the first in the Joanna Brady series. It has likeable characters and a great plot and ending. It sets up Joanna Brady as an established plot character, readying her for the second in the series, Tomb of Courage, which I am reading now.
Ronrt1986 More than 1 year ago
I am SUCH a picky reader. I get really annoyed with myself, because sometimes it's really difficult to find a book that I'd like to read. I was looking for a new, established author who had lots of published books to read to keep me occupied for a good while. I found her. I did NOT want your typical homicide detective/courtroom/medical examiner novel that is ubiquitous now a days. This is the best book I've read in a long time and I plan to read all the Brady novels. I also am really impressed with the J.P. novels. I have yet to read the other series. Her books are ORIGINAL which is so refreshing...they have REAL suspense, and an actual PLOT. I highly recommend this if you're looking for a truly well written page turner!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a good mystery with a spunky female as the main charcter. This is the first book in the Joanna Brady series. It has a plot that keeps you guessing and also has interesting characters.
lilygeorge More than 1 year ago
This is like a good USTV soap set in small Town Arizona, bit like the Waltons but the Heroine is a cop. Thats not meant to be a criticism, its just comfortable where the good guys and bad guys are obvious and telegraphed. Its a good lazy read and I will get the others in the Series, buying them in date order so as not to get ahead of the Brady Family's development. Got me hooked!
SJG-SD More than 1 year ago
Needed a new author and thought I would try J A Jance. Loved the book. Kept me wanting to read more. Will be reading all the books in the series.
gstorey More than 1 year ago
Desert Heat is the first book in the Joanna Brady Series. J.A. Jance has wonderful characters that are well rounded and immediately likeable. There are conflicts the main character must over come and crimes to solve. There are relationships in the book that provide insight into the Joanna Brady Character. Once you start reading you can't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the well writtrn plot
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Real characters in real situations tense and plausable. A very good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Moving on to the next
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books i read in awhile. I am looking foward to reading the rest of the books in this series
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fast read. Good read.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked it. I have read books re:sheriff joanna before and never come away disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A new to me series in the independent woman genre. Joanna Brady's husband is shot and left for dead. He was a deputy sheriff and running for sheriff in Bisbee, AZ. Suddenly, it seems everyone believes he was on the take, but Joanna and a few supporters do not believe this of him and set out to prove that he was murdered. A couple of convenient plot lines, but I was interested in the main character and will give the author another chance to see how this story develops.
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