Exit Wounds by J.A. Jance

 

MysteryExit Wounds by J.A. Jance

Exit WoundsJudith A. Jance; William Morrow 2003WorldCatSomeone comes to Carol Mossman’s trailer home and shoots through the door, killing her. The 16 dogs in the trailer with her die as well. Even as the investigation begins, Sheriff Joanna Brady knows which one will cause the greater political stink – the dogs. Since the Animal Protection Agency is part of her responsibilities, Brady knows she will have to deal with that as well as finding the person who killed Mossman in the “safety” of her own home.

Mossman’s grandmother, Edith Mossman, shows up at the crime scene, intent on helping her granddaughter. Brady soon learns that Mossman and her sisters had run away from their father and came to live with Mrs. Mossman when they were older teens. Their father presumably still lives on a religious cult compound in Mexico. Mrs. Mossman hopes he stays there.

Two more women’s bodies are found in New Mexico. There appears to be a connection between the murders – the same antique gun was used to kill those women as well. Brady has her officers slowly tug on strings and follow the leads to discover what happened to the three women and why.

Brady’s personal life is busy, as well. She is running for sheriff again against a former officer who quit the county police force to run for sheriff. He is getting a lot of politicking done. She is busy with work and home and has to squeeze in political meets. Jenny is turning 13. Brady and her husband, Butch Dixon, are ecstatic discover they are expecting a baby. She is still running for sheriff despite the pregnancy and some family objections.

Exit Wounds is a title with multiple meanings for this novel. It is known that bullets and other injuries cause as much and more damage coming out as when they went in. Of course the wounds mean those caused by the bullets in Mossman’s death. But there are other wounds that are not obvious in Mossman and other characters in this story. These wounds are more hurtful on the other side of the injury than when it first occurred.

J.A. Jance pulls in numerous real life themes in this novel. A large part of the story line is devoted to hoarders, people (usually women) who take in too many animals trying to help them all, and the causes. There is the reality of politics in modern America on a local level. There is the modern woman who will continue to work during a pregnancy and with a baby at home rather than quit and stay home with the child. There is the house husband. There is the constant problem of illegal immigration and the fallout. All these touch the novel, making Exit Wounds more than an enjoyable read, but one that presents real life problems without being dark and overbearing.

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

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