Wednesday, July 25, 2012


    Wonder if bestselling author Jance had any idea when she wrote her first novel starring Cochise County Sheriff Joanna Brady that she would some day have written a 15th that readers would be standing in line for.  Whatever the case, she’s done it - with Judgment Call. 

    Brady is as fascinating as ever and descriptions Of Bisbee, Arizona as real as a wide-screen video.  And, as is her wont, deft author Jance keeps us guessing until the last page.  Villains seems to become more vicious with each Brady adventure, and the latest tops them all.  He’s completely merciless and cares nothing for the innocent lives he takes as he pursues those he feels have wronged him.

    Jenny, Brady’s 15-year-old daughter,  comes across a dead body while out on an early morning horseback ride.   Her high school principal, Debra Highsmith, has been savaged.  But, why?  True, Highsmith was not the most popular high school faculty member, but murder?  To complicate Brady’s investigation Highsmith was an extremely private person, almost obsessively so and appears to have no next of kin.

    While Brady spends 24/24 trying to discover anything about the mysterious Highsmith another murder occurs.  Outside of the immediacy of this slaying could there be any connection between the two?  Even more perplexing is that what Brady considers police information has been appearing on the internet.

    Brady is wife, mother, sheriff, which at times seems more than she can do especially as she makes discoveries about her own family’s past and the death of her father.   Jance peoples her story with carefully drawn characters, especially a nosy older newspaper woman, Marliss Shackleford, and an arrogant medical examiner.

    You can’t miss a sentence or you may have trouble keeping up with who’s who in relation to the others,  but it’s well worth the trip!

    - Gail Cooke

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