The incomparable J. A. Jance returns with a powerful tale that explores the darkest corners of human nature, revealing the grievous injuries inflicted behind locked doors, the unseen wounds that bleed and destroy and never heal ...
The heat is a killer in Cochise County, Arizona, with temperatures over 100 degrees. In the suffocating stillness of an airless trailer, a woman is lying dead, a bullet hole in her chest. Why someone would murder a harmless loner with a soft spot for stray dogs is only one of the questions nagging at the local police; another is why the killer used an eighty-five-year-old bullet, fired from the same weapon that slaughtered two other women who were discovered bound, naked, and gruesomely posed on the remote edge of a rancher's land.
The slayings are as oppressive as the blistering heat for Sheriff Joanna Brady, who must shoulder the added double burden of a brutal reelection campaign and major developments on the home front. With suddenly more on her plate than many big-city law officers have to contend with, Joanna must put marital distractions and an opponent's dirty tricks in the background and deal with the terrifying reality that now threatens everyone in her jurisdiction: a serial killer in their midst.
A twisted and lethal drama is unfolding in this small corner of the southwestern desert as fear, hatred, and the evil at the core of one family's history come to a rapid boil beneath a merciless Arizona sun. Pressure mounts for Sheriff Brady personally and professionally while she pursues a sadistic murderer into the shadows of the past to get to the roots of a monstrous obsession ... and expose the permanent wounds of a crime far worse than homicide.
Hoarders like Carol Mossman exist in the real world. I wouldn't have known about them or written about them had it not been for my sister, E. Jane Decker, Director of Animal Control for Pinal County in Coolidge, Arizona. Like Carol Mossman, these unfortunate women have two things in common -- a history of sexual abuse when they were children and the unending availability of unwanted dogs.
What can we do to help? Understand that when we take a cute, cuddly little puppy into our homes, it is a lifetime commitment that covers the next 10 to 15 years -- if we're very lucky. We need to understand that if the dog in our care has problems, we must go to experts for the kind of help and training that will keep Spot or Daisy from becoming "unwanted and unplaceable." We need to spay and neuter our animals and, when it's time for a new dog in our life, we need to avail ourselves of pet rescue operations all over the country. Finally, if you know of a hoarder in your neighborhood, tell your local animal control officers what's going on. Hoarders think they're helping, but usually the animals in their "care" are undernourished, unvaccinated, neglected, and unsocialized animals who are difficult to place once removed from their unfortunate environment.
Our mother always used to say, "God helps those who help themselves." Maybe in this instance, God helps those who help others -- because the dogs can't help themselves and neither can the hoarders.
J. A. Jance does not disappoint her fans.
Joanna Brady is delightful.
St Louis Post-Dispatch
Brady comes into her own in this book...making an already appealing character even more so.
The plotting is up to Jance’s high standards...bracing.
Taut . . . entertaining.
Jance delivers a devilish page-turner.
Booklist - Stephanie Zvirin
Jance builds her story around a real-life contemporary social concern, in this case the psychological disorder known as hoarding. Brady fans won't want to put this one down....
In a fine addition to a lively series... Arizona sheriff Joanna Brady once again juggles police work and her complicated personal schedule...
Library Journal - Lucius Beebe
Fans anxiously awaiting Jance's tenth outing in her Joanna Brady series will not be disappointed....Jance expertly weaves plot and family saga to produce another first-rate page-turner. For all mystery collections.
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