“Field of Bones” is the latest crime novel by J.A. Jance and features Sheriff Joanna Brady of Cochise County, Arizona. Life has changed considerably for Joanna in recent years. She has married for the second time and has given birth to her third child after tragically losing her mother and step-father no long before. Her husband is finding some success as a mystery writer and goes on a book tour while she is on maternity leave. While she is out, a headstrong mother brings in he soon to turn in a human skull that was found in a field. An investigation turns up the remains of several people in this field.
In the meantime, a young girl is held in captivity by a depraved monster who wants to be known as the Boss. Brady does her best to let her people handle these new challenges, however there is a reason the series bears her name.
Jance actually reveals her villain pretty early so there isn’t much that is a real mystery to the reader. The story introduced a couple of new characters I hope are seen again in future installments. It’s a fine continuation of a solid series with an admirable protagonist who overcomes some tragic events in her life with the help of charming colleagues and a noble purpose to protect her community. It was sort of interesting to see Brady sidelined a little throughout this novel by her maternity leave and obligations to the homestead. Some of the other characters got to shine a little more, including a new deputy who ends up showing some grit when he is injured in a shoot-out and having to care for a traumatized girl, who in turn saves his life.
Jance has been in this business for a long time and still is capable of telling a pretty compelling story and still manages to keep Joanna Brady exceedingly honorable and relatable at the same time. Jance has given Joanna Brady more than her share of sometimes unbelievable and inexplicable tragedy, but she also has created a world where the friendships and comradery she has with her friends and colleagues still seem genuine and something to admire. Anyway, I have been a long-time reader of J.A. Jance, and this novel was more than sufficient to keep me interested in her upcoming releases.
The next reading indulgence will be a new author to me with “An Unkindness of Ghosts” by Rivers Solomon.