Downfall (Joanna Brady #17) by J.A. Jance
ISBN: 9780062297716 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062496645 (paperback – large print)
ISBN: 9780062297730 (eBook)
ISBN: 9780062561749 (audiobook CD)
ASIN: B017R4JVOC (Kindle version)
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow
Arizona sheriff Joanna Brady returns in this outstanding new mystery set in the beautiful desert country of the Southwest.
With a baby on the way, her mother and stepfather recently slain, a re-election campaign looming, and a daughter heading off for college, Cochise County Sheriff Joanna Brady has her hands full when a puzzling new case hits her department, demanding every resource she has at her disposal.
Two women have fallen to their deaths from a small nearby peak, referred to by Bisbee locals as Geronimo. What’s the connection between these two women? Is this a case of murder/suicide or is it a double homicide? And if someone else is responsible, is it possible that the perpetrator may, even now, be on the hunt for another victim?
Read an excerpt:
It came home to her then, in a visceral way, that faced with that kind of turn of events, she could do far worse than to follow in Eleanor’s footsteps—by soldiering on, by facing down the gossips, by doing what needed to be done, and by helping a pair of scared young people make the best decisions for their lives, their futures, and their baby’s future as well.
Joanna realized that she would have to stand very tall and stretch very high to live up to her mother’s example in terms of steadfastness and strength. When it came to kindness? Well, maybe not that so much. And perhaps, considering her own hurtful past with her mother, Joanna would be able to help Jenny while avoiding being as unwaveringly judgmental as Eleanor had always been. Maybe.
Sudden tears clouded Joanna’s eyes, eventually dripping off her chin and onto the keyboard. “Sorry, mom,” she murmured aloud. “I’m so sorry for everything.”
Once her tears abated, Joanna took a deep breath and returned to the keyboard:
My mother never really approved of my father’s entry into law enforcement—or mine, either, for that matter. I think her objections in both instances were founded on a very real fear of losing us.
My mom was left to raise me on her own, and it wasn’t easy. The other kids I knew all had two parents. I had only one. I was angry about that, and I’m afraid I took it out on her—blaming my mother for my father’s absence, because she was alive and my father was dead. That wasn’t fair of me. If I could take any of that back now, I would, but what I can tell you is this—when whenever the chips were really down, Eleanor Lathrop Winfield was always there for me and always in my corner—whether or not I appreciated it or even noticed it at the time.
George and Eleanor died together last week when a troubled youngster decided to try out his sniper skills by shooting at moving vehicles on I-17 south of Sedona. They died as result of injuries suffered in the incident. Subsequently the shooter died as well.
But standing here before you today, I can tell you straight out that having them go together, almost in an instant, was and is a blessing. It spared them both the longtime pain and grief that accompanied the losses of their first spouses.
Neither of them had to endure the long goodbye of a terminal cancer diagnosis or spend years alone after the loss of their beloved. At the time of the attack, George and my mother were together, doing exactly what they wanted, and traveling the country in that humongous RV of theirs. They were hurrying home to help host a barbecue planned as a send-off celebration for their granddaughter, Jenny, as she headed out for her freshman year of college.
Jenny is here today, and we’ve decided as a family that a barbecue is still the order of the day. It won’t be at all the same kind of send-off party any of us wanted, but we’re having it anyway. It’ll be later on this afternoon and evening out at High Lonesome Ranch. You’re all welcome to drop by, and I hope you will. Butch and Bob have assured me that there’ll be plenty of food to go around.
When Dennis, my son, heard we were having a party in honor of his Grandpa George and Grandma Eleanor, he wanted to know if there would be balloons. We told him, yes. We’re bringing lots of balloons, and you’re welcome to do the same.
I think both George and my mother would approve.
A ringing phone—her private landline—startled Joanna out of her fugue of concentration. Looking around she was surprised to see that the sun was down and the desert landscape outside her window had gone dark. The lights were off in the reception room which meant Kristin had left for the day without interrupting her.
“Do you know what time it is?” Butch demanded. “As of right now, you’re officially late for dinner. Again.”
“I’m sorry,” she said hurriedly. “I finally had a quiet moment to work on the eulogies, and I completely lost track of time.”
“Come home now,” Butch said. “Everybody else is already here, but they won’t mind waiting a few minutes longer.”
“I’m on my way,” she said, hurriedly saving the document, closing the laptop, and reaching for her briefcase. “I’ll be right there.”
Once the laptop was stowed and the briefcase closed, she grabbed her purse and shut out the lights before stepping outside. She turned and started toward her car. She never got that far. When the Taser darts hit her in the back of the shoulder, Joanna had a split second in which she recognized what they were. She along with all her officers had been hit with Taser darts as part of their training.
So she knew what it was as it happened, but that was all she knew. She had no remembrance of her purse and briefcase flying out of her hands and into the air; of falling flat on her back; or of cracking the back of her head on the sidewalk. That’s when everything went dark.
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