In the Coronado National Monument, an elderly couple's car is driven off the side of a mountain. Hours later and miles away, the subsiding rain reveals two trash bags containing human remains. It's just another day in the life of Cochise County Sheriff Joanna Brady.
The remains are those of a handicapped woman who wandered away from a care facility with a suspicious track record. Another resident, with whom the woman may have been involved, has also been reported missing.
Meanwhile, a note is found in the glove compartment of the car lying twisted down the mountainside, stating that its occupants intended to take their lives. Yet a contradictory autopsy report surfaces, and when the deceased's two daughters show up to feud over their inheritance, Joanna knows there is more to this case than just a suicide pact. And she will go all out to find the truth—no matter where it leads.
Sheriff Joanna Brady and her staff face a host of challenges while her husband, Butch, tends their infant son in bestseller Jance's solid 13th novel to feature the Cochise County, Ariz., cop (after Dead Wrong). A woman shoots a home intruder, an elderly couple drive their car off a cliff and a mysterious fire kills an older man and leaves three homeless. Were these accidents or something more sinister? When Det. Jaime Carbajal's nephew discovers a body in the desert, the investigation leads to a shady organization that operates halfway houses for troubled and disabled persons. Meanwhile, Joanna must deal with her interfering mother, who exhibits a sudden personality change, and the discovery of family secrets about her late father and late first husband. As usual, Jance beautifully evokes the desert and towns of her belovedsouthwest as well as the strong individuals who live there. 10-city author tour. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.