cover image Blessing of the Lost Girls: A Brady and Walker Family Novel

Blessing of the Lost Girls: A Brady and Walker Family Novel

J.A. Jance. Morrow, $30 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-301010-9

Jance (Nothing to Lose) proves she’s still at the top of her game in this tense crossover of her Joanna Brady and Walker Family series. A prologue, set in July 2022, identifies drifter Charles Milton as the murderer of six people. The action then flashes back to 2019, when Milton abducts Rosa Rios from a bar in Tucson, Ariz., before strangling and stabbing her to death. Arizona sheriff Joanna Brady and her daughter, Jennifer, who knew Rios, take notice, and since Rios was Native American, her disappearance also attracts the attention of Dan Pardee, an investigator for the Department of the Interior’s new unit for cases involving Indigenous victims (and son-in-law of Brandon Walker). Milton’s efforts to disguise Rios’s body—which include dousing it with bleach, removing her teeth, and burning the remains—delay authorities’ progress in identifying her. When the remains are finally identified, Dan, Joanna, and Jennifer all set out to track down the person responsible. It’s a testament to Jance’s talents that she gives away the killer’s identity and fate at the book’s outset, yet still manages to wring heart-stopping suspense from the central investigation. Nearly four decades into her career, Jance is still finding new ways to thrill her readers. Agent: Alice Volpe, Northwest Literary. (Sept.)