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Skeleton Canyon: A Joanna Brady Mystery (Joanna Brady Mysteries) [Mass Market Paperback]

Judith A. Jance
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 387 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Books; Reprint edition (Jun 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380724332
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380724338
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.4 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,408,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

J.A. Jance is the New York Times best selling author of 46 contemporary mysteries in four different series.

A voracious reader, J. A. Jance knew she wanted to be a writer from the moment she read her first Wizard of Oz book in second grade. Always drawn to mysteries, from Nancy Drew right through John D. McDonald's Travis Magee series, it was only natural that when she tried her hand at writing her first book, it would be a mystery as well.

J. A. Jance went on to become the New York Times bestselling author of the J. P. Beaumont series, the Joanna Brady series, three interrelated thrillers featuring the Walker family, and Edge of Evil. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.

Jance is an avid crusader for many causes, including the American Cancer Society, Gilda's Club, the Humane Society, the YMCA, and the Girl Scouts. A lover of animals, she has a rescued Dachshund named Bella.

Product Description

Synopsis

The sheriff of Cochise County, Arizona, widow Joanna Brady becomes caught up in a deadly family tragedy initiated by a pair of star-crossed lovers, while trying to prove herself in the male-dominated world of law enforcement and struggling to cope with echoes of Tombstone's infamous Clanton gang.

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First Sentence
IT WAS five o'clock on a Friday afternoon in June when Bree came into the kitchen. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
What began as a simple teenage disappearance has turned ugly with the
discovery of the murdered corpse of Bree O'Brien. Cochise County, Arizona
Sheriff Joanna Brady begins to investigate the killing of the high school
valedictorian. The victim's wealthy parents insist that their daughter's
boy friend, Ignacio Ybarra is the killer. Joanna quickly learns that
Bree's father despises anyone of Hispanic dissent, forcing his daughter to
clandestinely meet with Ignacio, who is quickly proved innocent of any
wrong doing.

As Joanna continues to find clues, the case seems to get more
complicated rather than closer to being solved. Joanna begins to wonder
whether the illegal smuggling of freon across the border might be linked to
the murder. Eventually all roads lead to one place: the O'Briens. Did
they murder their own daughter to maintain a lavish lifestyle that
apparently is supported by illegal means? If it is true that they murdered
their own daughter, will they not be willing to eliminate an obstinate law
enforcement official before she uncovers the truth? If they did not do it,
Joanna must return to square one wondering who did and why?

The who-done-it is exciting and fun, but that is not what makes
SKELETON CANYON and the previous four Joanna Brady mysteries a wondrous
reading experience. It is Joanna, a lonely person, who has dedicated her
life to her deceased spouse and J.A. Jance's brilliant depiction of Arizona
(including the environment, the climate, and the racial relationships).
This is one series that seems to be getting better as each new tale
refreshes the entire collection.

Harriet Klausner
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5.0 out of 5 stars J.A. Jance at her best. 5 Nov 1997
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
J.A. Jance has brought us two wonderful series: J.P. Beaumont and Joanna Brady. In this book Joanna Brady, lady sheriff, once again battles not only the bad guys, but the good guys in her own department. In this book we see again how Joanna uses her own wits and common sense to beat the rest of them to the answer. Andy would be proud!
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Joanna Brady books are fun to read. 1 Oct 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Once I finish one of these books I almost count the days until the new book for "next" year is published. It makes it more fun because I lived in Tucson 9 years and know all the places she writes about in her books! It makes me miss Tucson!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  309 reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best in this series 10 Aug 2000
By Karen Potts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Joanna Brady seems more decisive and more skilled in her job as sheriff of Cochise Country, Arizona, in this installment of the series. Her co-workers still doubt her ability at times, but her straightforward approach and honesty seem to be winning them over. In this book, a young teenager, Bree O'Brien, is brutally murdered on the way to a rendezvous with her secret lover, Ignacio Yberra. Her father, who harbors a prejudice against Mexicans, immediately blames Ignacio. Mr. O'Brien is a wealthy and influential man who counts the Governor as a close friend, so Joanna has to approach the case in a careful and discreet manner. She decides to treat it as any other case, and is criticized by a local reporter for not giving it a higher priority. At the same time she is drawn into a case where illegal Freon from Mexico is being smuggled into Arizona. Eventually these two cases prove to have some common threads. On the home front, Joanna's daughter Jenny goes off to camp for the first time, with the usual angst on the part of both mother and daughter. Joanna's mother Eleanor pulls a very surprising move which leaves her a bit bewildered. I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a good mystery with a look into the personal life of the heroine.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Skeletons in the Canyon and in the Closet! 15 April 2005
By L. Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is another great book in the Joanna Brady series by J.A. Jance. This time she throws a little romance into the mix of things as Brianna O'Brien is found murdered and her Hispanic boyfriend is the main suspect for some, while others don't believe he could kill. This teenage girl had many secrets and her boyfriend was only one of them. While investigating this crime, everyone's favorite female sheriff, Joanna Brady, uncovers more than she bargained for and has a difficult time in dealing with some of it.

Again, we see some of the cast of support characters return, but others are mentioned in passing, so we know they will be back in future tomes. We're given a little glimpse of what's in store for Joanna Brady with her daughter growing up quickly and her mother's new relationship that seems to have transposed some of the former anger and has made her almost approachable.

I find it interesting that Jance not only tells a wonderful story, but throws in a moral issue as well. She deals with the topic of racism in this book and does so in a very civilized way showing the prejudices of some and the extremes they will go to continue that narrow-mindedness. However, she also gives us hope for the future. She shows us that no matter what the odds some will not follow in their parents' beliefs and will, instead, have friends based on things other than the color of skin or social standing.

And along with the story line and moral issue, you can always rely on Jance to paint a mental picture of the Arizona desert at it's best. Having lived in Arizona, I can remember the millions of stars in the sky that Jance describes in detail. I can remember the rugged beauty of the various wilderness areas that are similar to those portrayed. No one gives a better mental image of these things than Jance does. Having read all of the books in this series, I feel like I've actually been to Bisbee, Arizona. I'm sure if I ever do get the chance to visit that town; I'll see things as I've seen them before in my mind while reading these novels.

After reading the first book in the Joanna Brady series, I didn't think Jance would be able to keep up with the standard she set. I was very mistaken. She has not only achieved that level of excellence but has surpassed it and continues to set new standards with each new book she writes.

I highly recommend not only SKELETON CANYON, but any and all books in this series. They're wonderful, exciting and highly addicting! I do suggest that you read them in order to get the background on the characters - it's not mandatory, but will make for a more enjoyable read and will let your imagination run wild with possible scenarios for the future!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 6 Nov 2002
By Wendy Kaplan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Joanna Brady is the no-nonsense sheriff of a border town in Arizona, and she is thoroughly delightful in this story of murder in the treacherous canyons near the Mexican border.
The recently widowed mother of a 10-year-old girl, Joanna cannot help but be moved by the vicious murder of Brianna O'Brien, the beautiful and popular daughter of the town's most prominent family. The reader, too, is drawn into Brianna's all-too-brief life, and is there with her in Skeleton Canyon as she joyously awaits the arrival of her secret lover, Ignacio Ybarra, equally young, beautiful, and deeply in love. Brianna does not live to meet her lover--but who killed her? And why? It's up to Joanna to find out, and her job is much hampered by the arrogance of Brianna's father, whose distrust of the local law enforcement community is matched only by his racial hatred of Mexican-Americans.
Brianna and Ignacio were involved in a forbidden love affair, at least by the senior O'Brian's lights. Did he find out and have his own daughter killed? It seems highly unlikely, since Ignacio is very much alive--and a suspect. But why would he murder his beloved? What secrets in the O'Brian family coalesced to cause this inevitable tragedy?
While Joanna and her crew struggle to find the answers, the reader is treated to magnificent descriptions of the rugged Southwest, whose beauty masks murderous dangers such as killer flash floods. Equally interesting is the supporting cast: Joanna's friend Angie, a former hooker turned straight; two old and entertaining drunks in the bar where Angie works; Joanna's indomitable mother, who has a secret of her own; and more.
This is the 5th in the Joanna Brady series, and the first I have read. It stands alone beautifully, but got me so hooked that I must get my hands on the next book immediately! Highly recommended for mystery lovers looking for a good, strong, read.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One fine series that started out great&keeps getting better 7 July 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
What began as a simple teenage disappearance has turned ugly with the
discovery of the murdered corpse of Bree O'Brien. Cochise County, Arizona
Sheriff Joanna Brady begins to investigate the killing of the high school
valedictorian. The victim's wealthy parents insist that their daughter's
boy friend, Ignacio Ybarra is the killer. Joanna quickly learns that
Bree's father despises anyone of Hispanic dissent, forcing his daughter to
clandestinely meet with Ignacio, who is quickly proved innocent of any
wrong doing.

As Joanna continues to find clues, the case seems to get more
complicated rather than closer to being solved. Joanna begins to wonder
whether the illegal smuggling of freon across the border might be linked to
the murder. Eventually all roads lead to one place: the O'Briens. Did
they murder their own daughter to maintain a lavish lifestyle that
apparently is supported by illegal means? If it is true that they murdered
their own daughter, will they not be willing to eliminate an obstinate law
enforcement official before she uncovers the truth? If they did not do it,
Joanna must return to square one wondering who did and why?

The who-done-it is exciting and fun, but that is not what makes
SKELETON CANYON and the previous four Joanna Brady mysteries a wondrous
reading experience. It is Joanna, a lonely person, who has dedicated her
life to her deceased spouse and J.A. Jance's brilliant depiction of Arizona
(including the environment, the climate, and the racial relationships).
This is one series that seems to be getting better as each new tale
refreshes the entire collection.

Harriet Klausner
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Different paced southwest mystery novel. 14 May 2001
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As a big fan of Tony Hillerman and Rudolfo Anaya, I was looking for another author to quench my southwest mystery thirst so I came about Skeleton Canyon as my first J.A. Jance novel.
Overall, the novel was entertaining. The author does a good enough job with the main character's backgrounds that you don't need to read the previous novels to understand their motivations, back stories, etc.
New characters are described just as well, and the reader can really identify with these 'genuine' people and not outlandish or stereotypical cutouts.
The story itself was fresh as was the mystery, though it did take a while to really delve into the mystery. For a novel that is just shy of 400 pages, it seems that the mystery aspect didn't really take off until midway through. However, the preceding setups and side stories are entertaining enough to push the novel forward anyway, keeping the reader's attention despite the lack of early mystery.
The only disappointment I had was with the lack of southwestern flair I am used to with a Hillerman novel. Though the novel takes place in Arizona, near the border of Mexico, there is little reference to local culture, native American theology, a typical south west descriptors.
The payoff/climax is good and there were a few twists at the end that I found debatable between a little 'convenient' and unique. The last chapter in itself had little to do with the novel, or even less of a future setup for a next book. Just seemed a bit odd in placement and context, but not bad.
Overall a good read, and look forward to other Joanna Brady novels.
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