Juggling a family and a career is never easy and it's becoming a real challenge for Sheriff Joanna Brady. Coping with the impending delivery of her second child as well as a staff shortage, the last things Joanna needs are two serious crimes.
First, the body of an unidentified man is found in the desert, all of his fingers savagely severed. Following the scant clues, Joanna learns that the victim was an ex-con who had served twenty years in prison after confessing to the murder of his pregnant wife. During his last days he was seen following and photographing a young woman.
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July 25, 2006
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Excerpt from Dead Wrong by J.A. Jance
Ken Galloway sauntered up to the lectern and wrenched the neck of the microphone to its full height. Then, smiling, he gazed out at the "Candidate's Night" audience assembled in the spacious meeting room of the Sierra Vista Public Library.
"First off," he said with an engaging grin, "let me say that I'm in favor of motherhood and apple pie. After all, if it weren't for my mother, where would I be?"
The anticipated ripple of polite laughter drifted through the crowd. This was Ken's favorite way of opening his stump speeches. It always served him well in getting things off to a good start. Beginning with a familiar joke was a way of putting his whole political agenda front and center.
Seated off to Ken Galloway's right, Sheriff Joanna Brady steeled herself for what she knew would come next. She folded her hands in her lap, plastered a faint and entirely fake smile on her face, and willed her ears not to turn red. This far into the campaign she should have been used to her opponent's constant references to what he described as her "delicate condition." Joanna should have been accustomed to it, but she wasn't. The subject still rankled her every time Ken Jr. brought it up. She resented his constantly drawing attention to her growing belly and casually discussing her pregnancy again and again as though she were nothing more than an obliging live-action mannequin in some high school sex-ed classroom.
"The point is," Ken continued, "when my brothers and I were little, our mother stayed home and took care of us."
Yes, Joanna thought, because your father took off and left Lillyan Galloway penniless. She ended up living on welfare and raising her kids on Aid to Dependent Children. But Ken Galloway never mentioned that part of his wonderfully idealized family history, and neither did Joanna.
"Call me old-fashioned," Ken went on, "but I think there's a lot to be said for mothers being at home with their kids. Cochise County is a big place. There have been times in the last four years when Sheriff Brady hasn't been as responsive to her duties as she might have been due to the very real conflict of having a child at home. How much more difficult will it be for her to attend to law enforcement needs when she has two children to contend with, including a newborn baby?"
In the back of the room a woman, applauding furiously, rose to her feet. "That's right, Ken! Way to go!" Eleanor Lathrop Winfield shouted. "You tell her."
Joanna's mother's enthusiastic outburst was enough to propel Joanna out of her dream. She awakened panting and sweating, but the dream stayed with her for several long minutes. Although those were likely Eleanor's true feelings, to Joanna's personal knowledge her mother had never made any such statement -- at least not in public -- not during the campaign or after it.