Dead Wrong by J.A. Jance

 

Suspense

Dead wrong Dead WrongJudith A. Jance; William Morrow 2006WorldCatIn 1978 Brad Evans admitted to and was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife. Her body was never found. He had been drunk that night and didn’t remember anything. But he was found the next morning in his truck with blood all over him and it. Her purse was in the truck as well. While in jail he found Christ and became saved. When he finished his time, he joined the Jail Ministry staff. He lived alone and was well like by his landlady and coworkers. His life was quiet except for his work.

Therefore, everyone is surprised when an unidentified body found by the border road in Arizona, turns out to be Brad Evans rather than an illegal Mexican or “coyote”. He had been killed somewhere else and dumped there. His truck is also missing. He had listed his ex-mother-in-law as next of kin, but she refuses to have anything to do with him, glad that her daughter’s murderer is dead.

Joanna Brady, sheriff of Cochise County, is “9 1/2” months pregnant (at that stage I always told people I was 10 months pregnant – this baby had better get here quick!) and plans to work until the baby is born. The Jail Ministry falls under her purview and the circumstances are odd. Did Brad Evans cross someone recently, or is his death related to his wife’s disappearance almost 30 years earlier?

Then one of her Animal Control officers disappears. The woman had been trying to discover an illegal dog fighting ring that was working near the New Mexico border. When Joanna learns there is a badly beaten Jane Doe in the Tuscon hospital, she goes there to see. The victim was indeed Jeannine Phillips, the Animal Control officer. The only reason she wasn’t beaten to death was because some Good Samaritans came across the scene, were able to frighten off the attackers, and took the woman to the hospital.

Now Cochise County has a high profile attack, a murder that doesn’t make sense, an ill detective, short staff, and its sheriff is due to leave on maternity leave any time now. Plus Joanna Brady’s in-laws make an unannounced visit to be there for the birth of their first grandchild. Margaret Dixon doesn’t find anything right with anybody and she lets everyone around her know it. Butch Dixon, Joanna’s husband, had purposefully moved far away from his parents because his mother is impossible for him to live near. Soon Joanna is wishing for the baby to arrive soon just so they will leave.

J.A. Jance maintains her writing edge with this twelfth Joanna Brady novel. The two mysteries are both intriguing and suspenseful. Although it’s easy to see where the Brad Evans investigation is leading, the actual facts surrounding the case still surprise when it all comes together for Joanna and the Cochise County Sheriff Department.

Dead Wrong is another must for the reader who enjoys a good police suspense novel with enough personal interaction on the home front to entertain the reader who prefers a slightly softer approach. There is a classic bit near the end when Joanna is being questioned about having to shoot a suspect. The male detective questioning her is disbelieving that she could shoot that accurately in her current condition. She instantly replies that she’ll take him on in the shooting range if he’d like to stuff a soccer ball in his shirt. She tells him she can still outshoot him. High five, Joanna!

I keep recommending this whole series to friends, always with the disclaimer that they have to read the first novel, Desert Heat, before any of the others.

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

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