It’s a Mystery: Desert Heat, by J.A. Jance

3.0 out of 5 stars Cover up

Joanna Brady’s life is turned inside out when she finds her policeman husband fatally wounded in a ditch near their home. Initially, it looks a lot like murder, but when the cops investigate, it seems more like suicide. Joanna cannot accept this interpretation, and sets out to discover the truth. Anyone would be distraught under such circumstances, and the picture becomes muddier and muddier when she finds that only recently, her husband secretly garnered a sizable financial windfall. He was also conducting a secret investigation involving drugs and murder. Soon the entire town in buzzing about an honest cop gone bad.

Joanna is an engaging character, a woman who must draw on all her inner resources to face this tragedy. Unfortunately , none of the others is as finely drawn. Her nine year old daughter Jenny, for instance, and Joanna’s shrewish mother, come across as little more than caricatures, and the Sheriff is little more than a chauvinistic good old boy. The story is at its most suspenseful in the scenes involving a hood and his mistress, who is little more than a prisoner, and her attempts to escape are truly chilling. The conclusion, however, comes across as abrupt and fortuitous, and Joanna makes a major decision in a snap, while still reeling emotionally from her losses.


3 thoughts on “It’s a Mystery: Desert Heat, by J.A. Jance

  1. What Pam doesn’t bother to buy, I’ll snap up. Granted this isn’t the best book in the series, but it rapidly turned into one of my favorites.

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