Remains of Innocence
By J. A. Jance
(William Morrow & Company, Hardcover, 9780062134707, 389pp.)
Publication Date: July 22, 2014
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Sheriff Joanna Brady must solve two perplexing cases that hit close to home in New York Times bestselling author J. A. Jance's thrilling tale of suspense that brings to life Arizona's Cochise County and the desert Southwest in all its beauty, mystery, and danger
An old woman, both a hermit and a hoarder, is dying in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. While cleaning out her dilapidated house, her estranged daughter, Liza Machett, discovers a fortune in hundred-dollar bills hidden in the tall stacks of books and magazines that crowd every corner. After their father ran off with another woman, Liza and her older stepbrother grew up in this house, surviving poverty, squalor, and a mentally unstable mother. So where did all the cash come from?
For Liza, a waitress at a small local diner, the money seems like a blessing--until an elderly man she's never met appears at her mother's funeral, warning that she's in danger. Suddenly, Liza's quiet life is turned upside down. The house is torched, her apartment is broken into, and her elderly landlady is murdered. Someone very dangerous is looking for her and won't stop until she's found. Terrified, Liza sets off on a perilous cross-country journey that will lead her to Cochise County, Arizona, where Sheriff Joanna Brady is embroiled in a personal mystery of her own.
Junior Dowdle, a developmentally disabled man in his sixties, is found dead at the bottom of a hole in a limestone cavern near Bisbee. Inside the cave, the police also discover a badly injured kitten that is barely alive, as well as the remains of other mutilated pets. Joanna knows Junior's foster parents well, and she considered him a family friend. Though he'd always been kind and sweet, with the onset of dementia, he had begun having violent episodes. Could he have hurt those animals? Was his death an accident? Or is he a victim as well?
Joanna and her modest staff have their hands full investigating Junior's death and the animal abuse they uncovered. Then another case rocks the department--a shocking murder involving Liza and the money. Her department stretched to the limit, the undaunted sheriff must solve these two disturbing cases fast, before more innocent blood can be shed.