Devil’s Claw by J.A. Jance



Devil's claw Devil’s ClawJudith A. Jance; W. Morrow and Co. 2000WorldCatSandra Ridder has been released after 8 years in jail. Lucy Ridder dreads her mother’s return. Her mother was convicted of manslaughter, of killing her father. Before she was arrested, Lucy witnessed Sandra hiding something. After her mother was in jail, Lucy retrieved the hidden computer disk. But she left the gun in the plastic container.

Lucy camps out the night of her mother’s return. She stakes out the old hiding spot. As she suspects, her mother returns for the plastic container. Then someone else comes along, demands the disk, and gets into an argument with Sandra. Lucy witnesses her mother getting shot with her own gun. Lucy hides until the adults leave. Then she runs away. She knows she has the all-important disk and is afraid what will happen if someone finds it.

Joanna Brady, the sheriff in Cochise County, Arizona, is getting married in a week. But before that she has to deal with a hysterical rich, selfish woman whose father just died. She has a runaway reported. Then a dying woman is found in the ditch. It appears that undocumented aliens crossing the Mexican border may have killed her. The sheriff’s department is alert, though. They soon realize that something else has happened.

Of course that is part of the job. Fortunately, Butch, her groom, and her mother are handling most of the wedding details. There are still some personal things she has to handle, like the funeral of a close friend, an interdepartment romance, a daughter is happy about the marriage but still concerned for her own future, and some problems with the animals.

Again, this is a novel that combines a dark mystery with a realistic, comfortable background. The Ridder story is edgy, shadowed. It is intertwined with every day life to make it more believable. This is an excellent tale. Jance delivers characters that are comfortable in the series, believable in their actions. Friction appears in all levels, from the overlying disappearance of Lucy Ridder to the nervousness of Jenny Brady. Joanna’s mother has found someone who can out-maneuver her in parental digs – Butch’s mother. This book is full of chuckles and fear, just like life.

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

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