13 March 2009

Messy everyday living in murder mystery

The book pusher in our lives also dropped J. A. Jance's book, Damage Control, on our library table a couple months ago. I read it promptly and liked it, but then it was buried beneath the paperwork for other "jobs" on my desk. The pile on the corner of the desk finally got high enough to force me to investigate. And that's how I found this book today.

Now, what was that book about? Well, it's one of the series that Jance has written about fictional Cochise County sheriff Joanna Brady. Brady's life has gotten more and more complicated with every book. In this one she not only has her domineering mother to deal with, but her older daughter is a teenager. At least her fairly-new husband is a great stay-at-home writer/dad for the baby who recently joined the family.

Then there's an apparent suicide by an elderly couple and the surviving daughters who are at war with each other. Then there are garbage bags full of human body parts washed out of an arroyo. Oh, and there's some suspicion that a group home for vulnerable adults might be run by people as caring as Oliver Twist's boss, Fagin. (What's with these rural Arizonans?)

One of the reasons I like these stories is that Sheriff Brady has a personal life and she deals with bits of it "on screen." She also, like most elected public officials, has to deal with politics and shrinking budgets. And those things are parts of these stories too. There's more than bare police procedures in Jance's stories.

Hooray for all that. Damage Control was a good bit of escapist reading back in December or January (I really can't remember when.) If you've read it and have thoughts about it, write and tell a little bit of the world what you think.

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