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RATTLESNAKE CROSSING
By J. A. Jance

Avon, (May,1999) $6.99
ISBN 0-380-79247-8

Reviewed by S. E. Warwick
(12/99)

This is the sixth entry in Jance's Joanna Brady series about the female sheriff of a rural Arizona jurisdiction. RATTLESNAKE CROSSING moves the reoccurring characters forward in a believable fashion. Even the most perfect person in the book, Brady's girlhood friend, the Reverend Maculyea, puts on her clay sneakers in the face an excruciating personal trial.

A serial killer is scalping random targets in Brady's territory. It's her job to stop him before he kills again, without exceeding her budget. She must sort through European Indian wannabes who sleep in air-conditioned teepees, a local gun dealer, and members of her own staff to find the butcher.

On the way to the final showdown with the killer, Brady learns some things about herself and gains new insights into both her troubled relationship with her overbearing mother and her reactions to her late husband's devotion to his job.

The funeral scene near the end of the book made me cry. Brady's ruminations about the nature of joy and sorrow raise expectations for future books in the series.

If grisly details bother you, this one could spark a few nightmares. If you can concentrate on the story and the puzzle and clues, read away.

Other books in this series include: TOMBSTONE COURAGE, SHOOT DON'T SHOOT, DEAD TO RIGHTS, and SKELETON CANYON.


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