Monday, July 21, 2014

Remains of Innocence- J. A. Jance

Remains of Innocence
J. A. Jance
Morrow, Aug 12 2014, $26.99
ISBN: 9780062134707

A decade ago in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Liza Machett graduated high school and left home to escape the abuse of her insane mother.  Now her mother is dying so Liza reluctantly ends their estrangement.  Her mother asks Liza to bring her a cookbook from the house.  Inside Liza disgustingly sees her childhood home even more cluttered and filthier than when she grew up, which says a lot.  She also finds 1,470 $100 bills stashed inside of cookbooks.  As she wonders how her mom accumulated $147,000, Liza plans to use the windfall to clean up the house in order to put it on the market; unaware of the deadly danger to her and others unfortunately in her sphere that her endeavor will trigger.  When she finally realizes the peril, Liza disguised as a cancer and abuse victim sneaks off to Arizona to locate and discuss the situation with her older half-brother, Cochise County M.E. Dr. Guy Machett who left home for Harvard when she was a young teen and never returned.

Cochise County Sheriff Joanna Brady and her team search for a missing developmentally disabled sexagenarian.  They find Junior Dowdle’s corpse among a “graveyard” of mutilated animals in a cave.  Meanwhile Liza’s current and past Massachusetts troubles follow her to Arizona.

The latest super Sheriff Brady police procedural (see Judgment Call, and Fire And Ice) is a tremendous entry as the cop works two complex cases that have no obvious ties.  The fast-paced Remains of Innocence is a fascinating mystery that grips the audience from the moment Liza enters her childhood home and never slows down as homicide investigations in two states diagonally across the country keep the audience spellbound.

Harriet Klausner

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