Saturday, July 26, 2008

Continuing with Sheriff Joanna Brady

What is one thing an author like J.A Jance does that makes a mystery series good - like the series about Cochise County Sheriff Joanna Brady? Continuity!!!! I just finished reading the next to the last book in the series - "Dead Wrong" - and the continuity is there. This book picks up after Joanna Brady has been re-elected to be Sheriff of Cochise county. In the last book she was in the middle of the campaign for re-election. In this book she is still pregnant - I imagine it is close to eight months later than the previous book. In the previous book, she was dealing with the responsibility of Animal Control and it's personnel being under her department's responsibility. they still are in this book. And while there are a couple of mysteries being dealt with in this book, there are other issues that are dealt with at the same time.

A body is discovered close to the border. The body turns up to be an ex-convict who works as a counselor in the prisons. And to make it more interesting, this convict was arrested years ago by Joanna Brady's father who was a deputy at the time. The man went to jail for 25 years when he confessed to killing his wife and unborn child while he was in a drunken blackout - in spite of the fact the bodies were never found.

It just so happens that Joanna's father kept some private journals and at this stage her mother decides to get rid of a lot of stuff - giving them to Joanna to go through. The journals were supposed to be disposed of but were brought to Joanna as well by her father-in-law. Joanna checks the journals to learn if there is anything about the old case. She learns her father did not feel right about the conviction and felt it was "dead wrong" as the title infers.

To top things off, one of the animal control officers who was introduced in the previous book gets beaten up pretty bad and almost dies. In spite of being pregnant and being short-handed with staff, Joanna must deal with these and other issues that come up.

She and her staff track down leads that explain why the ex-convict was murdered - and lead to the truth about his missing wife and unborn child. They put together the reason her ACO was attacked and during the investigation uncover a puppy mill raising pit bulls for dog fights in her county. The owners of this operation are discovered dead and a problem of what to do with 75 vicious dogs and their puppies surfaces for Joanna to deal with. Some of these dogs have to be put down but a solution for the puppies is proposed by the local vet involving some of the inmates at the county jail. The nightmare of what to do with all these dogs turns into a good public relations event for the county and the department.

Sheriff Brady is working right up to the end when her water breaks and it is time to have her baby. I am sure there is more to continue in the next book. I will definitely be reading it soon.

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