Damage Control by J.A. Jance

 

MysteryDamage Control by J.A. Jance

Damage ControlJ. A. Jance; William Morrow 2008WorldCatThe ferocious heat and magnificent, deadly thunderstorms have come to Cochise County, Arizona. Within twenty-four hours the sheriff’s department has four dead people. First, an elderly couple seem to have made a suicide pact and make a spectacular drive off an overlook down the side of the mountain. Getting their bodies and car off the side of the mountain is the first of Chief Joanna Brady’s headaches.

Then, in the middle of the night, she is called out to a house trailer fire. The disabled man wasn’t able to get out of bed and died there. The woman and their two grandsons were able to escape. They weren’t able to grab anything. They only have the clothes they are wearing. Fortunately the local pastoral services and Joanna’s best friend are able to step in two keep the family going a week or so while they figure out what to do next.

During the morning Det. Jaime Carbajal’s nephew is out scavenging near the border. He finds two trash bags taped together. In it are the bones of a person. Someone had been stuffed in them and hidden in a dry riverbed. The waters from the flash thunderstorm had drug up the bags and washed down to where they are found.

The county has four investigations tying up all its sheriff’s detectives manpower. To add to her problems, Joanna’s mother disappears in anger without telling her or her stepfather anything. When Joanna finally finds her, she learns some family secrets she wished she hadn’t. Those secrets may affect her relationship with both her father and Andy, her first husband. A 4-month-baby adds to the confusion, as well as her husband Butch trying to finish editing a manuscript to send off. He’s also trying to arrange a book signing tour in a couple months.

Before another week goes by it gets worse for the Cochise County sheriff’s department and for Chief Joanna Brady.

Once again J.A. Jance has crafted a good detective novel that works on different levels. Each case is different but all have ramifications that are farther reaching. Damage Control is necessary both in Joanna Brady’s personal and professional life. The reader is pulled in and wondering what is going to happen next. There are some clues that give the reader a chance to figure out the mysteries, but if you’re like me, I wasn’t far ahead in one and startling wrong on another. It will also be interesting to see the long term effects of the third one in Joanna’s life.

For the personal story it’s nice to have read earlier novels in this series. Yet it stands well on its own, with enough history explanation to keep the book together without overdoing the past. I certainly wasn’t expecting Joanna’s first husband to be pulled back in as a major character although he’s often in the quiet background.

Jance keeps the characters fresh despite the number of books in the series now (13). There are more layers of Joanna Brady, her family, friends, and co-workers to discover. Damage Control adds more depth to them as well as delivering a set of good mysteries.

Notice:  Non-graphic violence

Joanna Brady series at Stop! You’re Killing Me!
More books by J.A. Jance

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