Thursday, September 29, 2016

Downfall by J. A. Jance

I have been reading J. A. Jance for years, beginning with her Beaumont novels set in Seattle. It took me a while to appreciate her novels set in Arizona but now I'm hooked. Whether you've read the previous Joanna Brady novels or not, those who like reading police procedure mysteries will enjoy this one. Jance deftly includes background material so this novel can be read as a stand alone.

I like Joanna Brady as a sheriff. She is a gutsy woman. In this novel she is pregnant with the latest addition to her family while her oldest is off to college. She already has much on her plate when a double homicide is revealed. Joanna uses her staff and her own efforts to find out why two women were thrown off a nearby peak.

Jance gives us a good combination of personal interest and police adventure. We have come to know Joanna and her history. Here she is dealing with the recent deaths of her mother and stepfather, preparing for the memorial. We see an additional aspect of Joanna's strength as she handles that while working on the homicides.

I like the characters Jance has woven into Joanna's ongoing story. Her second husband, the first having died, is an amazing man. He supports Joanna and her work without reserve. And then there is Marliss Shackleford, Janna's nemesis and irritating newspaper reporter. How Joanna handles her in this novel shows Joanna's growth as an elected sheriff. I was pleased to see Joanna's increasing reliance on her Christian faith too.

I recommend this novel to those who appreciate learning about southwestern Arizona while reading a good police procedure mystery with a good deal of suspense.

You can read or listen to an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

J. A. Jance is the bestselling author of the J. P. Beaumont series, the Joanna Brady series, and other novels. Born in South Dakota and raised in Bisbee, Arizona, she and her husband live in Seattle, Washington, and Tuscon, Arizona. You can find out more about Jance and her books at

William Morrow, 400 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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