Tuesday, July 22, 2014
REMAINS OF INNOCENCE by J. A. JANCE
When HarperCollins offered to send me a copy of Remains of Innocence, I jumped at the chance to read and review it. I'll admit right off that I'm a huge fan of Jance, particularly her Sheriff Joanna Brady series set in southern Arizona. The background is that her husband had been sheriff. He was killed in the line of duty and then she was elected to the job herself. Turned out she liked it and is a great sheriff.
One of the things I like about Brady is how she copes with family issues and criminal investigations at the same time. Her daughter is nearly grown now and Joanna has remarried. Butch has launched himself on a new career as a writer, which is convenient since he's also a househusband, takes care of their little son, and they live on a ranch.
Obviously I know the regular characters well so it was difficult for me to discover one victim in this book is someone I knew. However, the story begins in Great Barrington, Massachusetts where a young woman is dealing with a horrible situation. Liza has put her mother in hospice and gone to mom's house to retrieve a cookbook her mother insists she must have right now. Problem is that mom is a hoarder and the house looks and smells like something on the television show about hoarders. When she tries to reach the book, it falls on the floor and hundred dollar bills flutter to the floor.
The family dynamic and the true story of those hundreds will initiate a murderous rampage across the country and lead Liza to Bisbee, Arizona and Sheriff Brady. I couldn't put the book down as I worried about Liza and also wondered who killed the character I cared about. The mystery isn't solved until the end and I was on tenterhooks that whole time. Unfortunately, Jance's books fit the category of books I can't wait to finish and yet dread coming to the final page.
This is a great story with wonderful characters and if sometimes Butch seems too good to be true, well that's okay with me.