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Desert Heat (Joanna Brady Mysteries, Book 1) Hardcover – September 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0727861158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0727861153
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,651,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Jance ( Hour of the Hunter ) has created a taut and poignant mystery. Joanna Brady finds her husband, Andy, shot in the Arizona desert on the night of their tenth wedding anniversary. But this, and Andy's subsequent suspicious death in the hospital, is only the beginning of the destruction of the comfortable world of Joanna and her nine-year-old daughter, Jenny. The police decide that Andy, a sheriff's deputy, tried to commit suicide. He is further implicated as the hit man in a mob rub-out and fingered as a crooked cop with drug-cartel connections. Even his personal life is dragged through the mud, as allegations of an extramarital affair surface. Neither mother nor daughter is spared from the brutality of the accusations: the DEA comes after Joanna, while schoolmates taunt Jenny. All the while, Jance cross-cuts to the contract killer who shot Andy. The conclusion features a classic confrontation, but the post-showdown ending seems trite. Until that moment, however, Jance's tale crackles with tension. Joanna's struggle and pain are affecting; Jance writes with an understanding that character is destiny.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

J.A. Jance is the New York Times bestselling author of the J.P. Beaumont series, the Joanna Brady series, and three stand-alone thrillers. An American Mystery award winner, Ms. Jance is a native of South Dakota and currently lives with her husband in Seattle, and Tucson, Arizona. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

More About the Author

J.A. Jance is the top 10 New York Times bestselling author of the Joanna Brady series; the J. P. Beaumont series; three interrelated thrillers featuring the Walker family; and Edge of Evil, the first in a series featuring Ali Reynolds. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By L. Martin on April 8, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I met Judy Jance in a bookstore in Palm Desert, California back in the mid 1980's. It was right before Christmas, and my husband had just told me that he didn't have time to go buy a few small stocking stuffer type gifts for me and asked if I'd buy them myself. Needless to say, I was a little ticked by this situation and since he complained about my reading habit, I decided that I'd fix him and buy a few paperback books. I went to Walden Books in the Palm Desert Town Center Mall and was looking in the mystery section for something new that would hold my interest. Up came a lady who asked me if I had ever read any of J.A. Jance's books. I replied that I hadn't and she said that she had been compared to Mary Higgins Clark and I may want to try one of her books. I was amazed, I mean didn't authors have publicists and marketing agents to promote their books - this one was actually promoting her own work (and not even at a book signing event). She signed my books for me (part of the deal I made in exchange for purchasing them!) and I was on my way. My grumbling had ceased to exist and I was a very happy person and glad my husband didn't have time to do his own Christmas shopping. After reading the two books I had purchased, I couldn't wait for the new series she had told me she was writing. Desert Heat was the beginning of that new series and I had to wait almost a year before I could get a copy.

This is the story of a woman placed in a very difficult situation and how she is determined to do the right thing, not only for herself but also for her young daughter. The story (and series for that matter) revolves around Joanna Brady who is married and living in a small town in Arizona.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Karen Potts on July 24, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the first book of this series, we meet the heroine, Joanna Brady, who is waiting for her lawman husband, Andy, to come home for their 10th. anniversary celebration. Her world is shattered when he is found critically injured beside his wrecked vehicle. As she is keeping vigil at the hospital, we are introduced to Angie Kellogg who is kept a virtual prisoner by her gangster boyfriend. After Andy is accused of being involved in a drug ring, Angie becomes a key figure in Joanna's struggle to exonerate him. The two women meet, and the action picks up considerably as they are pursued by Angie's boyfriend plus some other surprising bad guys. For fans of the J.P. Beaumont series, set in Seattle, Joanna's southern Arizona home will be quite a contrast. Author Jance grew up in Arizona and she is as adept at using the desert setting as a background as she is at using Seattle.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 20, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Not as gritty as the J.P. Beaumont mysteries, yet recently widowed Joanna Brady is one tough and determined sleuth who juggles crime solving, the new demands of single parenthood, and her own personal bereavement with finesse. A terrific series I intend to follow!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Helen on May 26, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Joanna's sheriff husband dies and Joanna decides to track down his killer. She is plucky, tough, warm and fallible - motivated largely by the horror that her husband was possibly not the man she thought he was and may have been involved in drugs.
If you, like me, enjoy good characterisations and human situations, I think you might enjoy this one and the entire Joanna Brady series.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Linda Pagliuco TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 23, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Joanna Brady's life is turned inside out when she finds her policeman husband fatally wounded in a ditch near their home. Initially, it looks a lot like murder, but when the cops investigate, it seems more like suicide. Joanna cannot accept this interpretation, and sets out to discover the truth. Anyone would be distraught under such circumstances, and the picture becomes muddier and muddier when she finds that only recently, her husband secretly garnered a sizable financial windfall. He was also conducting a secret investigation involving drugs and murder. Soon the entire town in buzzing about an honest cop gone bad.

Joanna is an engaging character, a woman who must draw on all her inner resources to face this tragedy. Unfortunately , none of the others is as finely drawn. Her nine year old daughter Jenny, for instance, and Joanna's shrewish mother, come across as little more than caricatures, and the Sheriff is little more than a chauvinistic good old boy. The story is at its most suspenseful in the scenes involving a hood and his mistress, who is little more than a prisoner, and her attempts to escape are truly chilling. The conclusion, however, comes across as abrupt and fortuitous, and Joanna makes a major decision in a snap, while still reeling emotionally from her losses.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert A. Keefer on August 24, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Although J. A. Jance's series of "Joanna Brady" mysteries has been around a while, I was just introduced to them this summer. "Desert Heat" introduces Joanna on her wedding anniversary, when she finds her barely-alive husband shot and left to die in a dry wash near their home. The story is gripping, leading the reader by the nose through a variety of suspicions while never revealing enough to show what is "really going on" until Joanna also discovers it.

The characters in the story are a nice collection of small-town figures: sheriff and deputies, the minister, relatives and neighbors. The characters, even Joanna, do not develop greatly during the story; after all, it takes only about three days. But the relationships between the characters develop well, especially between Joanna and her mother.

There are some coincidences in the story which strain credulity, and it felt as though Jance rushed the ending to keep the book to manageable size. Then again, I was so taken with the story that I rushed to get to the ending, needing to know that folks would be all right!

I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
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