The incomparable J. A. Jance returns with a powerful tale that explores the darkest corners of human nature, revealing the grievous injuries inflicted behind locked doors, the unseen wounds that bleed and destroy and never heal ... The heat is a killer in Cochise County, Arizona, with temperatures over 100 degrees. In the suffocating stillness of an airless trailer, a woman is lying dead, a bullet hole in her chest. Why someone would murder a harmless loner with a soft spot for stray dogs is only one of the questions nagging at the local police; another is why the killer used an eighty-five-year-old bullet, fired from the same weapon that slaughtered two other women who were discovered bound, naked, and gruesomely posed on the remote edge of a rancher's land. The slayings are as oppressive as the blistering heat for Sheriff Joanna Brady, who must shoulder the added double burden of a brutal reelection campaign and major developments on the home front.
In a fine addition to a lively series, bestseller Jance's ninth after last year's Partners in Crime, Arizona sheriff Joanna Brady once again juggles police work and her complicated personal schedule with �lan. It's the Fourth of July, and Brady is racing from event to event, unofficially campaigning for reelection, when she learns that a woman has been found dead in a mobile home, surrounded by 17 dead dogs. The dogs died of the blazing desert heat, but Carol Mossman was shot. Then Brady gets the news that two female bodies have been turned up in a nearby county in New Mexico. Ballistics reveal that the same gun was used in both crimes. Meanwhile, Brady and her husband are delighted to learn that she's pregnant. Morning sickness and eating aversions play a larger role in Brady's day than she would like, but she struggles on with the minutiae of a sheriff's life. Clues to the three murders are slow in coming, but eventually Brady learns that Carol's father Ed Mossman belonged to a cult called the Brethren for many years, and the two women who were murdered in New Mexico were in the midst of producing a report on the publicity-shy Brethren. Joanna begins to understand that the more she learns about the Mossman family and this group, the closer she'll be to solving the murders. Joanna Brady's life is never simple, always busy, and full of questions large and small about human nature. (One-day laydown July 22) FYI: There are more than 10 million copies of Jance's titles in print. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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July 27, 2004
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Excerpt from Exit Wounds by J.A. Jance
Late on Tuesday afternoon, Sheriff Joanna Brady sat at her desk, stared at the pages of her calendar, and knew that Butch Dixon, her husband, was absolutely right. She was overbooked. When he had mentioned it at breakfast that morning, she had done the only reasonable thing and denied it completely.
Coffeepot in hand, Butch had stood looking at the week's worth of calendar he had finally convinced Joanna to copy and tape to the refrigerator door in a vain attempt at keeping track of her comings and goings.
"Two parades on Friday?" he had demanded, studying the two pages of copied calendar entries she had just finished posting. "According to this, the parades are followed by appearances at two community picnics." Butch shook his head. "And you still think you'll be at the fairgrounds in time for Jenny's barrel-racing event, which will probably start right around four? You're nuts, Joey," he concluded after a pause. "Totally round the bend. Or else you've picked up a clone without telling me about it."
"Don't worry," she told him. "I'll be fine."
Butch had poured coffee and said nothing more. Now, though, late in the afternoon and after putting in a full day's work, Joanna studied her marathon schedule and worried that maybe Butch was right. How would she cover all those bases?
The Fourth of July had always been one of Joanna's favorite holidays. She loved going to the parade, hosting or attending a backyard barbecue, and then ending the evening in town watching Bisbee's community fireworks display.