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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Big Trouble in Little County
I happened to reread John D. MacDonald's A Purple Place for Dying just before I read J. A. Jance's Outlaw Mountain, and I was impressed by how well Jance's book stacked up against the legendary John D.'s.
Both are set in the Southwest; both evidence a true affection and respect for the natives of the land; both show an equal affection and respect for goodwilled people of all races, sexes, and religions. And both deal with the insidious effects of local politics on the lives of ordinary, hardworking, honest people.
Sheriff Joanna Brady is experiencing several kinds of upheaval in both the professional and personal aspects of her life. The mayor's mother is murdered, Joanna's daughter is in trouble at school, and Joanna's love life has taken a sudden and unexpected turn. And there is a murder mystery that will lead straight to some of the most powerful movers and shakers of Cochise County, Arizona.
Jance shows a deft hand with all aspects of her complicated plot. The murder stuff is great, a real stumper; Joanna's personal life is truly painful, especially to anyone who has ever dealt with a beloved but difficult teenager; and Jance's police procedural stuff is, in its quiet way, as good as it gets. She has a real feel for the politics of a small organization and handles what could well be stuffy organizational back story with gentle and wise humor.
What can I say? Jance keeps on turning out winners, andOutlawMountain is certainly no exception.
Ed Gorman's latest novels include Daughter of Darkness, Harlot's Moon, and Black River Falls, the latter of which "proves Gorman's mastery of the pure suspense novel," says Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. ABC-TV has optioned the novel as a movie. Gorman is also the editor of Mystery Scene magazine, which Stephen King calls "indispensable" for mystery readers.