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by J.A. Jance

Pub Date: Sept. 19th, 2023
ISBN: 9780063010109
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

For reasons she doesn’t explain until her “After-Afterword,” Jance works her most popular detective, Cochise County Sheriff Joanna Brady, into the latest installment of her Walker Family chronicles.

But it’s not a starring role. Joanna is the one whom Dan Pardee, a federal agent of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Task Force, asks for help when the body of a young woman discovered outside Tucson three years ago is finally identified as that of Rosa Rios, who was followed out of a local bar and strangled shortly after she was expelled from high school. As the husband of Dr. Lanita Walker-Pardee, Dan is the pivotal figure who binds together the myriad parts of a convoluted tale that combines Indigenous family history and serial homicide. But it’s criminal-justice major Jenny Brady who realizes that the case her mother has described to her has unsettling parallels to the recent attack on Jenny’s rodeo competitor Deborah Russell, who was lucky enough to be rescued by the worthless boyfriend with whom she’d had a rendezvous. Deb hasn’t reported the incident because she was afraid that her Mormon family would be scandalized by both the boyfriend and the rendezvous, and she has no intention of reporting it now. So there’s no official record of the attack, and Jenny, then Dan, are the only ones who have access to the information that will ultimately unmask a killer revealed on page 1 as Charlie Milton, né Ronald J. Addison. Readers who find the manhunt lacking in surprise may prefer the updates on Lani and Dan’s complicated family, but it’s hard to imagine many readers loving the whole shebang.

A labor of love triggered by a serial killer.