cover image Tombstone Courage

Tombstone Courage

J. A. Jance. William Morrow & Company, $20 (300pp) ISBN 978-0-688-13247-7

Introduced in Desert Heat , a paperback original, young Joanna Brady is a no-nonsense widow running for sheriff in the new wild West. In the gritty mining and ranching community of Bisbee, Ariz., Joanna hopes to take over the office held by her husband when he was killed by a drug dealer's hit man six weeks before. Holly Patterson, a tormented substance abuser, has returned with her lawyer and hypnotherapist to file an unsavory personal injury suit against her feisty, octogenarian father, Harold. Though he appears to be a decent man, Harold clearly has a secret, but it may not be the one Holly is suggesting. As Joanna faces a tough, and sexist, election campaign, she must also come to terms with her widowhood, her overbearing mother and the complicated reactions of her now fatherless nine-year-old daughter. Jance, who also writes the J. P. Beaumont mysteries, maintains generally deft control of her touchy, trendy material. While some of the cast seem stock and the ending is somewhat overwrought, Joanna is engaging and credible, and the novel's pace is unflagging. (June)