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Desert Heat by J. A. Jance
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Desert Heat (1993)

by J. A. Jance

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Joanna Brady (1)

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7391518,289 (3.6)25
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» See also 25 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
First book
  sunflower1979 | Jul 13, 2018 |
IMO, not an impressive start to a detective series featuring widowed Joanna Brady. Writing was workmanlike but characters weren't fleshed out. Our protagonist was dull and boring and peripheral figures flat. One or two action scenes near the end were well done, but not enough here to make me continue with the series. ( )
  Zumbanista | Jan 21, 2018 |
My usual genre is not the mystery and suspense realm these days, but I remembered how much I enjoyed them when I was younger. This means I'm trying out many of the adult versions.

I'm having to give the author a little benefit of the doubt, this being the first in a long running series. She needs to establish the base arc and all that. But it's moving so SLOWLY. It's feeling like I'm climbing toward a cliff. Too many of the questionable elements appear too soon. The lantern hung on one character is obviously made to distract from the actual bad guy. Not sure I like the alternating point of view, but I'm dealing.

Sadly, I guessed the bad guy almost as soon as he walked on scene. I'd pegged the sheriff as an accomplish somehow, but didn't have the exact ending figured. One character is a touch of an unintelligent twit if she thinks the culprit has no contacts anywhere. She may have caught a ride with one.

I'm going to push ahead with the next book in the series. Honestly, if we can't get better at plotting and hiding the bad guy than what I've seen so far, I might stop after book 3. ( )
  gilroy | Jul 6, 2017 |
Desert Heat is the first book in the Joanna Brady series. It begins with Joanna waiting impatiently for her husband who has promised to be home on time to take her out for their tenth anniversary. The Cochise County Deputy, who is also running for Sheriff, had special plans but he’s hours late. Becoming worried, Joanna heads out in her car looking for him after finding out he’d left the station hours ago. She finds him shot and is barely alive just off the road. Almost before he is transported to the hospital, rumors begin to circulate that Andy is a good cop turned bad and that he tried to commit suicide rather than to risk having his illegal dealings with drug smugglers exposed. Of course, Joanna doesn't believe any of the rumors and sets out on a mission to discover the true story and to find Andy's attacker.

There are plenty of surprises in this book and even though we know from the beginning who the murderer is, the motive for the murder remains a mystery until the end of the book. Joanna is a very likable character. She’s vulnerable but both tough and determined. She's an engaging character but the secondary characters need some filling out. This is quite usual in the “first” book of a series so I'm not going to let that deter me from reading the next one. I lived in Tucson for almost forty years and traveled to Bisbee several times. It's obvious Jance has lived in the area and her inclusion of local landmarks made this a very enjoyable read for me. Desert Heat is a quick and enjoyable read for those who enjoy a good mystery set in the desert southwest. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
Origin stories, of which this is one, are always tricky to write: It's easy to spend so much time introducing the main character and their world that the story itself gets shunted to the sidelines. That's the case--and then some--in Desert Heat, which spends so long showing us how Joanna Brady went from 20-something wife, mother, and white-collar employee to (incipient) sheriff of Cochise County, Arizona, that it never gets around to making us care about that transition. The mystery is sketchy at best, it's solved less through detection than revelation, and the last loose ends are tied up in an out-of-left-field coincidence that would have made Dickens blush.

None of this would matter if Joanna was a bold, vivid character--as Kinsey Milhone or V. I. Warshawski were in their first outings, or Vic Moretti was in the first Walt Longmire novel--but she's as flat and generic here as the heroine of a TV movie. The supporting characters are competently drawn stock characters, but no more than that. If all of them, from Joanna's perfect 9-year-old daughter to her crusty-but-lovable neighbor, vanished before the next book, I wouldn't miss any of them for a moment.

Does the series get better? Probably. But the mystery-fiction world is full of series that I haven't read yet, either, and are better (far better) from the get-go. ( )
2 vote ABVR | Oct 23, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jance, J. A.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Travolta, EllenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To the real Jeff and Maryann, who, in a time f need, were friends indeed.
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"Write it," Antonio Vargas ordered, without raising his voice. "Write it now."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380765454, Mass Market Paperback)

Life is good for Joanna Brady in the small desert community of Bisbee. She has Jenny, her adored nine-year-old daughter, and solid, honest, and loving husband, Andy, a local lawman who's running for Sheriff of Cochise County. But her good life explodes when a bullet destroys Andy Brady's future and leaves him dying beneath the blistering Arizona sun.

The police brass claim that Andy was dirty -- up to his neck in drugs and smuggling -- and that the shooting was a suicide attempt. Joanna knows a cover-up when she hears one...and murder when she sees it. But her determined efforts to track down an assassin and clear her husband's name are placing herself and her Jenny in serious jeopardy. Because, in the desert, the truth can be far more lethal than a rattler's bite.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:13 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Life is good for Joanna Brady in the small desert community of Bisbee. She has Jenny, her adored nine-year-old daughter, and solid, honest, and loving husband, Andy, a local lawman who's running for Sheriff of Cochise County. But her good life explodes when a bullet destroys Andy Brady's future and leaves him dying beneath the blistering Arizona sun. The police brass claim that Andy was dirty -- up to his neck in drugs and smuggling -- and that the shooting was a suicide attempt. Joanna knows a cover-up when she hears one ... and murder when she sees it. But her determined efforts to track down an assassin and clear her husband's name are placing herself and her Jenny in serious jeopardy. Because, in the desert, the truth can be far more lethal than a rattler's bite.… (more)

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