Rattlesnake Crossing (Joanna Brady Mysteries)

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9780061998966: Rattlesnake Crossing (Joanna Brady Mysteries)

A gun dealer is the first to die, his entire stock ofweapons cleaned out. But the killer isn’t finished yet, as aseries of brutal, blood-chilling murders paralyzes the smallSouthwestern community the maniac has chosen to feed upon.Every stranger is suspect, every house the possible sanctuaryof a monster who skillfully eludes each move of his pursuers.With fear electric and crackling in the bone-dry Arizona air,Sheriff Joanna Brady of Cochise County knows that she isthe one who must protect the town she was chosen to serve.But her desperate hunt for a murderer is leading her intoterrifying places . . . and it threatens to take a terriblepersonal toll on the people she most dearly loves.

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Rattlesnake Crossing is J.A. Jance's sixth novel in the acclaimed Joanna Brady series (readers may also be familiar with her Seattle-based J.P. Beaumont series). Brady is no tough-talking V.I. Warshawski or Kat Colorado; her appeal lies in her willingness to admit that her Cochise County sheriff's uniform is often an uneasy fit. As the single mother of a young daughter, Brady is prey to the pain and loneliness that have resulted from her husband's brutal murder, and she struggles to prove to herself and others that she is capable of bringing a cold-blooded killer to justice.

When Clyde Philips, a local gun dealer, dies violently, his stock of high-powered assault weapons vanishes, and two sniper slayings follow soon after, suspicion falls upon Alton Hosfield, an embittered rancher at odds with the federal government, the environmentalists, and anyone else he sees as a threat to his isolation. Sheriff Brady, however, suspects that the solution may lie elsewhere, and her investigation takes her into the bizarre practices of a local resort whose appeal is equal parts New Age spiritualism, Native American pantheism, and cold-blooded materialism.

Jance has a talent for weaving prosaic threads into a gripping mystery narrative. As a result, Brady must--in addition to tracking a vicious killer--cope with the impossibly high standards of her insufferable mother; the spiteful comments of Marliss Shackleford, an old high school rival and current gossip columnist for the Bisbee Bee; and some rather unexpected news from Butch Dixon, her would-be ardent suitor. As with earlier Brady mysteries, the domestic context provides a deliciously ironic backdrop for the game of psychological cat-and-mouse being played in the Arizona desert. --Kelly Flynn

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