August 7, 2012

Judgment Call by J.A. Jance

Judgment Call: A Brady Novel of Suspense by J.A. Jance is a murder mystery novel that stars County Sheriff Joanna Brady. This is the fifteenth book in the series, and this time Joanna is tracking down a tech-savvy killer after her daughter finds her high school principal dead. If you like the “Joanna Brady Mysteries” or just enjoy murder mystery novels, this may be the book for you.

Book Description
When Joanna Brady's daughter, Jenny, stumbles across the body of her high school principal, Debra Highsmith, in the desert, the Cochise County sheriff's personal and professional worlds collide, forcing her to tread the difficult middle ground between being an officer of the law and a mother. While investigating murders has always meant discovering unpleasant facts and disquieting truths, the experienced Joanna isn't prepared for the knowledge she's about to uncover. Though she's tried to protect her children from the dangers of the grown-up world, the search for justice leads straight to her own door and forces her to face the possibility that her beloved daughter may be less perfect than she seems—especially when a photo from the crime scene ends up on Facebook. A photo only one person close to the crime scene could have taken.

The gruesome picture is just the tip of the iceberg. Even a small, close-knit town like Bisbee has its secrets. Navigating her way through the unfamiliar world of social media, Joanna discovers shocking—and incriminating—information. The details build, from a hushed-up suspension, to a group of teenagers with a grudge against the late Ms. Highsmith, to a hateful video calling for the principal's death. The video evidence points to one particular privileged boy, who's already lawyered up thanks to his father, a well-to-do doctor determined to protect his son's reputation. Yet the deeper Joanna digs, the more complications she uncovers. It seems the quiet, upstanding principal had a hidden past, full of mysterious secrets she'd successfully kept buried for years.

As the seasoned sheriff juggles professional constraints and personal demands—budget cuts, new team members, an arrogant coroner, a confused teenager, a precocious toddler, and a high-maintenance mother—she finds herself walking a fine line between justice and family that has never been so blurred.” – Judgment Call

My Thoughts
Judgment Call is a well written mystery novel that continues the story of Cochise County Sheriff Joanna Brady. Before reading this novel, I had never read any of the other novels featuring this character. However, it is so well written, I don’t feel like I was missing out on any essential storylines for missing them.

This one features a killer that is technically knowledgeable about things like “Facebook” which helps spread the images of the murder scene online. Police work this time is focused on online social networks and also old-fashioned police detective work. It is a good mix that should be used now with the advancement in technology.

Overall, I found the book is a good read, but could have been paced a little bit faster. There were many times where it seemed to drag on for quite a lot longer than it needed to. Some of the stereotypes of teenagers and older people were also too cliché, but didn’t really pull the story down. If you like mysteries, I think you’ll enjoy this one.

* Thank you to the publisher of Judgment Call, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.


Michelle said...

Love murder mysteries and am going to look at this later to get!

Sarah said...

I love this author and am definitely getting this one for my collection!