Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Review of "Judgment Call" by J.A. Jance

In this 15th book in the series High School principal Debra Highsmith is gruesomely murdered and her body is discovered by Jenny Brady, daughter of Cochise County Sheriff Joanna Brady. Jenny does a big no-no - she takes a photo of the corpse and sends it to a friend - and before you can blink the picture's all over the internet, along with nasty comments. Seems Ms. Highsmith was not popular among the high school crowd and some students seem to be likely suspects for her murder.

However, while looking for next of kin Sheriff Brady discovers that Ms. Highsmith was a mysterious person with an unknown past, and the investigation widens. As usual, nosy, interfering reporter Marliss Shackleford is making trouble; this time she's illicitly using social media to get news tips she shouldn't have.

Meanwhile, Joanna's critical, difficult mother, Eleanor Lathrop Winfield, is involved with an art auction where another murder occurs. Are the murders connected? Joanna and detective colleagues investigate the crimes and find the culprit, whose motive seems a little far- fetched but believable enough. (After all, there are a lot of nuts out there.)

In a side story, Sheriff Joanna Brady re-examines the death of her father, also a sheriff, many years before. What was thought to be an accident caused by a drunk driver may have been murder. To me, this tangential story seemed unnecessary and could have been left out. All in all an okay mystery book.

Rating: 3 stars

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