Devil's Claw - Joanna Brady, Bk 8 Author:J. A. Jance In the night-still canyons of the Arizona desert, a girl is on the run. Alone but for her beloved red-tailed hawk, she flees from the dark shadows of her young life, the horror she has witnessed -- and the terror that now stalks her. — Set against the backdrop of the modern west, this gripping tale finds Sheriff Joanna Brady juggling a precarious... more » overload in both her personal and professional lives. About to be married, Joanna's facing a daughter turning twelve and going on twenty, a meddlesome mother micro-managing her wedding, and new in-laws arriving any day. The sudden death of her much-loved neighbor and handyman, Clayton Rhodes, creates further turmoil, leaving Joanna shocked, saddened, and the target of Clayton's irate and irrational daughter, who accuses the Sheriff's Department of covering up a possible murder.
But amidst the uproar, the report of a homicide at Cochise Stronghold in the Dragoon Mountains quickly captures Joanna's full attention. An Indian woman has been found shot to death -- a woman recently released from prision after serving time for the manslaughter killing of her husband. She is the mother of a missing fifteen-year-old, Lucy Ridder.
The death at first appears to be a case of domestic rage finally exploding and a troubled teen runaway may be a victim, or a cold-blooded killer. Yet as Joanna deals with the long-standing troubles of Clayton Rhodes' family and digs deeper into the mysterious life of Lucy and her family, she discovers that investigating family hostilities is leading her down a twisted trail of hatred, greed, and far-reaching consequences -- and into a dangerous world where violence is the first response and long buried secrets are a reason to kill -- or die.« less
Not the most believable plot in this series, but the family drama volume has been turned up to high. I figured out what happened pretty early but Jance takes quite a while before the plot meanders around to it. No matter. The neighbor's death subplot was a nice wrinkle. At the end Brady manages a level of saintliness that made me laugh, but I decided it's not really that out of character. It's a quick and easy read, good for airports or beaches.