Tombstone Courage (Joanna Brady Series #2)

Tombstone Courage (Joanna Brady Series #2)

4.1 39
by J. A. Jance

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The desert is a good place to bury a body. And under the sun-parched Arizona landscape some chilling secrets are about to unfold as newly elected Sheriff Joanna Brady investigates a most peculiar double homicide. A body, barely cold, is lying in an abandoned mine shaft. Next to it are the decayed remains of a man everyone in Cochise County has long forgotten - a…  See more details below


The desert is a good place to bury a body. And under the sun-parched Arizona landscape some chilling secrets are about to unfold as newly elected Sheriff Joanna Brady investigates a most peculiar double homicide. A body, barely cold, is lying in an abandoned mine shaft. Next to it are the decayed remains of a man everyone in Cochise County has long forgotten - a murder victim who died long before Joanna Brady was born. And the only thing that hasn't evaporated in the Arizona sun are whispered and life-shattering rumors of appalling childhood abuse. As the desert gives up its grisly secrets, Joanna Brady battles to redeem the savaged reputation of one of her personal heroes. Her day-to-day struggle lends new meaning to the term working mother. The incoming sheriff faces an intensely hostile male-dominated police department. She fends off the attentions of her well-meaning mother even as she strives to handle her own difficult and suddenly temperamental daughter. Despite a placid, small-town surface, greed and manipulation are working overtime among Cochise County's movers and shakers. And Joanna earns her newly won badge when she uncovers a suspected killer who has lurked there undetected for two generations. Along with the dismayed, tongue-wagging citizens of Bisbee, Arizona, the reader is seduced into the web of passions and secrets Jance so ably weaves. Fast-paced and shocking, Tombstone Courage is a multilayered mystery that delves into the heart of the New West with a foundation firmly grounded in its storied, gunslinging past.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Newly elected sheriff of an Arizona town, sleuth Joanna Brady must solve the murder of a local cattle rancher while dealing with prejudice in a male-dominated police force. (Apr.)
Library Journal
The up-and-coming Jance won the American Mystery Award last year for Without Due Process ( LJ 11/1/92). Here, a widowed young woman running for sheriff in an Arizona town must deal with hostile cops and a double homicide.
School Library Journal
YA-When Joanna Brady's husband, a leading candidate for sheriff of Cochise County, Arizona, is gunned down by Colombian drug dealers, she decides to run for the office herself. The story of her election, her relationship with her nine-year-old daughter, and two murders (one decades old and one recent) form the basis of this cracker-jack mystery. The book has a strong female protagonist and explores issues such as child abuse and hidden memories. Will Joanna win the post and the respect of her fellow (male) police officers? Will she be able to reassure her frightened daughter? And will she solve the murders? All these questions are answered in Jance's thoroughly satisfying novel.-Susan B. McFaden, Fairfax County Public Library, VA

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Joanna Brady Series, #2
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.74(w) x 10.92(h) x 1.14(d)

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Tombstone Courage

Chapter One

Harold Lamm Patterson squinted through the rain-blurred windshield. Checking for traffic, he pulled his rattletrap International Scout through the gate of the Rocking P Ranch and onto the highway. Pouring rain made it hard to see. Part of the problem was his eyes. Ivy, his daughter, was constantly nagging him about that, and she was probably right. Thank God his ears still worked all right.

At eighty-four, even with his new, thick trifocals, the old peepers weren't nearly as good as they used to be. But Harold figured the real problem was the damn wiper blades. The rubber was old, cracked, and frayed. The blades squawked across the windshield, barely making contact and leaving trails of muddy water on the dusty, bugsplattered glass.

In southern Arizona, it seemed like you never noticed that the wipers weren't working until you needed them, and when you noticed, you were too busy driving blind to remember. The next time he went into A & A Auto Parts to drink coffee and shoot the breeze with the counterman, Gene Radovich, Harold still wouldn't remember, not if it wasn't raining at the time. it reminded him of the words in that old-tune song "Manana." No need to fix a leaky roof on such a sunny day? Same difference.

But that particular day-an unseasonably cold early-November morning-it was raining like bell. A pelting winter storm had rolled into the Sonoran Desert from the Pacific, filling the normally dry creek beds and swathing the Mule Mountains in a dank gray blanket that was almost as chill as the pall around Harold Patterson's stubborn old heart.

His daughter's personal-injury trial was due to start inCochise County Superior Court first thing tomorrow morning -- Wednesday at nine o'clock. Unless he could figure out a way to stop it. Unless he could somehow bluff Holly into agreeing to talk to him. Unless he could work a deal and canvince her to call it off.

He had tried to talk to her about it several times since she arrived in town. That ploy hadn't worked. That darmn hotshot lawyer of hers had insisted that until Harold came to see her with his hat in his hand-to say nothing of a settlementit was a straight-out no go. His own daughter refused to see him, wouldn't even tell him where she was staying.

His own daughter. Just thinking about it caused Harold's gnarled, arthritic hands -- hands that had wrung the necks of countless Sunday-dinner chickens -- to tighten into a similar death grip on the smooth surface of the worn steering wheel. Harold thought about Holly and her damn lawsuit the whole time he guided the wheezing yellow Scout over the rain-swept pavement of Highway 80, up the mountain pass locals called the Divide and then down the winding trail of Tombstone Canyon into Old Bisbee.

Holly had been a Fourth of July baby. He had wanted to call her Linda -- Indy for short in honor of Independence Day, but Emily wouldn't hear of it. She insisted that if she had daughters, they would be named after their grandmother's favorite Christmas carol, "The Holly and the Ivy," regardless of whether or not they arrived any time near December 25. And Holly it was. Would she have been less prickly, Harold sometimes wondered, had she been given a different name?

Holly Patterson had entered the world sandwiched neatly between Bisbee's traditional Independence Day Coaster Races and the annual Fourth of July parade down Tombstone Canyon. She was born in the Old Copper Queen Hospitalthe brick one up in Old Bisbee, not the new apricot-colored one down in Warren. It had been a hot, miserable morning. On that pre-air-conditioning summer day, the nurses had left the deliveryroom windows wide open in hopes of capturing some faint hint of breeze. Emily had screamed her fool head off. For several hours running. To a poor, anxious, prospective father waiting outside, that's how it had seemed.

Harold remembered the whole morning as vividly as if it were yesterday. Left to his own devices in the waiting room, he had been propelled out of the hospital by his wife's agonized cries. But with the windows open, there was no escape from Emily's frantic shrieks. No one else in the downtown area-onlookers watching the races or waiting for the parade-could escape them, either. The relentless screams echoed off nearby hillsides and reverberated up and down the canyons. People lined up on the sidewalks kept asking each other what in the world were they doing to that poor woman, killing her or what?

Pacing up and down in the small patch of grassy park between the hospital and the building that housed the Phelps Dodge General Office, Harold had wondered the same thing himself. What were they doing to her? And when old Doc Winters finally slipped Emily the spinal that shut her up, Harold had despaired completely. As soon as she grew quiet, he was convinced it was over, that his wife was dead.

Of course, that wasn't the case at all. Emily was fine, and so was the baby. Men don't forget that kind of agony. Women do. Had it been up to him, one child was all they would have had. Ever.

Afterward, holding the beautiful baby in her arms, nursing her, Emily had smiled at him and told him Holly was worth it. Harold wasn't so sure. Not then, not ten years later when Ivy was born, and certainly not now.

Things change. The delivery room where both Holly and Ivy had been born now housed a Sunday-school classroom for the Presbyterian church across the street. A law firm-the biggest one in town-now occupied the lower floor space where the old dispensary and pharmacy had been located. In fact, Burton...

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

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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 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.

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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Tombstone Courage 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Kashismom More than 1 year ago
Great read. I am really enjoying J.A. Jance's books. I love the character in this series, Joanna Brady. This is the type of book that is hard to put down. Can't wait to read more!
ap81 More than 1 year ago
Another great book by J.A. Jance. Getting ready to start Shoot Don't Shoot, and see where this one takes me!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm enjoying this series very much. An unlikely scenario, but it works for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the continuing Joanna Brady saga by J.A. Jance, Tombstone Courage doesn't disappoint. I enjoyed this story and following the plot. It has good characters and a good storyline. I will read more of this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A quick moving story
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Spokanian More than 1 year ago
I am now on the path of aquiring all of J.A. Jance's novels. Her writing style just drew me in with complex characters,plot levels,and painting mental images of Bisbee and surrounding areas. The plotlines in 'Tombstone Courage' are laid out in twisting paths. Layers of characters intertwined with the plot. I stayed up too late reading because I just had to find out who had done what. The character of Sheriff Joanna Brady keeps learning her job, deals with the stresses, and faces whatever comes. This sometimes puts the character in danger,but she handles it in a very human fashion. Joanna becomes real because of her very human reactions to situations. J.A. Jance has written characters who live and breathe in your mind as you read along. You find yourself being there in Bisbee, feeling the desert wind, seeing what the characters see. I'm looking forward to finishing all the Sheriff Brady books and moving on to the rest of J.A. Jance's works. Keep up the good work, you've got another loyal reader.
COOPSTER More than 1 year ago
This book flowed very well from the 1st book in this series. I am really getting into this series with this book. It brings you more and more into Joanna Brady's family and job life in a small town setting. If you like mystery crime solving kind of books this is a series to read. Although it comes more from the feminine side of the sheriff of a small town series I think it would appeal to the maculine as well. Happy reading until next time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago