Desert Heat (Joanna Brady #1) by J.A. Jance

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“A cop lies dying beneath the blistering Arizona sun—a local lawman who may well have become the next sheriff of Cochise County. The police brass claim that Andy Brady was dirty, and that his shooting was a suicide attempt. Joanna Brady, his devoted wife and mother of their nine-year-old daughter, knows a cover-up when she hears one . . . and murder when she sees it. But her determined efforts to hunt down an assassin and clear her husband’s name are placing Joanna and her surviving family in harm’s way—because in the desert, the one thing more lethal than a rattler’s bite . . . is the truth.”

-Synopsis from Goodreads


I’ve had my eye on the Joanna Brady series for a while now and I finally had the chance to read the first book. It was even better than I thought it would be, and I’m thrilled to have a new series to follow!

As the synopsis reveals, the story starts with the shooting of Joanna Brady’s husband, Andy. Joanna is the first one on the scene and tries her hardest to revive him. She can tell right away that not only was Andy shot, but someone has tried to murder him. But while he’s being treated in the hospital, word spreads through town that he had tried to kill himself. Joanna refuses to believe it, and knows that she has to prove everyone wrong. But as she retraces Andy’s steps over the past week, she discovers things he’d been keeping from her, and wonders just how much about her husband she didn’t know.

There were lots of twists and turns in this story. What surprised me the most is that we learn pretty early on who “did it” which usually doesn’t happen in mysteries, at least the ones that I have read so far. Despite that, there’s no clear indication as to how the story will end until you actually get there, and it was a very suspenseful and satisfying ending. I guess what I loved the most about this book is that it’s set in Bisbee, Arizona. Let me tell you, Bisbee is a place that you don’t really go to, so much as drive through, just like they mention over and over in the book. It’s truly in the middle of nowhere and I could picture it all so perfectly in my head, especially the drives Joanna and Co. make to and from Tucson. It was the perfect setting for a small town full of corrupt law enforcement, and for Joanna to be the driving force that sets them straight.

I look forward to reading the rest of the books in this series.

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