Tombstone Courage: A Joanna Brady Mystery


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A Joanna Brady Mystery

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All rights reserved. Unauthorized use or duplication of content from this website is strictly prohibited under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Short excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to G G Collins and Reluctant Medium at Large with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Photos cannot be used without permission and without paying photographer's fee. Thank you for respecting this policy. Search for:. Post to Cancel. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. His funeral, in , was the first fallen officer memorial I ever attended, and I used what I learned there to create the fictional fallen officer memorial in this book.

And now you understand the dedication of this book. A car carrying an elderly couple goes off the side of a mountain and tumbles into oblivion on a beautiful sunny day in the Coronado National Monument. A note pulled from the twisted wreckage suggests the tragedy may have been a double suicide—but an autopsy later suggests something different. A deadly fire and a fatal home invasion may or may not have some connection to the terrible crash.

And miles away in the desert, a savage rain has revealed something grisly and terrifying: two trash bags filled with human remains. It's just another day in the life of Cochise County sheriff Joanna Brady, who must somehow balance the rigors of police work with a newborn, a teenager, a writer-husband, and a difficult mother. But Joanna will not allow murder to go unpunished in her jurisdiction—even if her path to the truth is twisting and dangerous.

My parents, Norman and Evie, loved to take forenoon coffee picnics. Their usual equipment included a frayed oilcloth red and white checked table cloth, an antique thermos, and a pair of Melmac cups they had picked up at a school cafeteria garage sale. Once my mother had poured the coffee, she would pull out the paring knife she customarily carried in her purse and divide a day-old cinnamon roll exactly in half. In 68 years of marriage, I don't believe my parents ever ate a whole cinnamon roll. They always shared. As a couple, Norman and Evie were nothing if not self-sufficient and independent.

Even after they moved into an assisted living facility, they still kept the keys to their Buick, and they planned to use it to make their own Thelma and Louise style exit. That plan was foiled when my father suffered a stroke and died, leaving my mother alone and not the least bit happy about it.

She made it blazingly clear to whoever tried to look after her that the one place she wanted to be was with her Norman. When my sister called to say that our mother was gone, I didn't shed a single tear because she was gone--she was where she wanted to be. I went to her funeral and didn't cry at that, either.

But I was starting to write this book. When people from Bisbee read about Albert and Martha, they'll nod knowingly and say, "I don't care what she calls them. Those two people are Norman and Evie Busk. In this book, I give Albert and Martha the blessing of the Thelma and Louise exit that was denied my folks, and yes, I did cry when I was writing those scenes. Six young women have been wrapped in tarps, doused with gasoline, and set on fire. Their charred remains have been scattered around various dump sites, creating a grisly pattern of death across western Washington.

At the same time, thousands of miles away in the Arizona desert, Cochise County sheriff Joanna Brady is looking into a homicide in which the elderly caretaker of an ATV park was run over and left to die. All the man has left behind is his dog, who is the improbable witness to some kind of turf warfare—or possibly something more sinister. Then a breakthrough in Beaumont's case leads him directly to the Southwest and into Brady's jurisdiction. When the two met on a joint investigation years earlier, sparks flew.


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Under different circumstances, both of them admit, even more could have happened. But here, as the threads of their two seemingly separate cases wind together, Beaumont and Brady must put aside echoes of their shared past as they are once again drawn into an orbit of deception. Cochise County, both in fiction and in real life, shares an 80 mile border with Mexico. I don't think I'm wrong when I say that smuggling both people and drugs is the county's biggest cash crop. Once the illicit drugs or immigrants land inside the US, the interstates become the distribution routes. With Bisbee on the southern end of that traffic and with Seattle at the far northern reaches, it's only natural the my two characters, J.

Beaumont and Joanna Brady, would cross paths occasionally. This is the second Brady and Beaumont book. When Joanna Brady's daughter, Jenny, stumbles across the body of her high school principal, Debra Highsmith, in the desert, the Cochise County sheriff's personal and professional worlds collide, forcing her to tread the difficult middle ground between being an officer of the law and a mother.

While investigating murders has always meant discovering unpleasant facts and disquieting truths, the experienced Joanna isn't prepared for the knowledge she's about to uncover. Though she's tried to protect her children from the dangers of the grown-up world, the search for justice leads straight to her own door and forces her to face the possibility that her beloved daughter may be less perfect than she seems—especially when a photo from the crime scene ends up on Facebook. A photo only one person close to the crime scene could have taken. The gruesome picture is just the tip of the iceberg.

Even a small, close-knit town like Bisbee has its secrets. Navigating her way through the unfamiliar world of social media, Joanna discovers shocking—and incriminating—information. The details build, from a hushed-up suspension, to a group of teenagers with a grudge against the late Ms. Highsmith, to a hateful video calling for the principal's death. The video evidence points to one particular privileged boy, who's already lawyered up thanks to his father, a well-to-do doctor determined to protect his son's reputation. Yet the deeper Joanna digs, the more complications she uncovers.

It seems the quiet, upstanding principal had a hidden past, full of mysterious secrets she'd successfully kept buried for years. As the seasoned sheriff juggles professional constraints and personal demands—budget cuts, new team members, an arrogant coroner, a confused teenager, a precocious toddler, and a high-maintenance mother—she finds herself walking a fine line between justice and family that has never been so blurred. Joanna Brady was fifteen years old when her father, D. Lathrop, died, and she has spent the better part of the next two decades at war with her mother Eleanor--the last parent standing.

If a child is young when the first parent dies, that the dead parent is immediately elevated to sainthood status. Nothing they ever did or said was wrong, and questioning any of that is entirely taboo. After all, no one is allowed to speak ill of the dead. In the meantime, the person who didn't die--the last parent standing--is also left holding the bag.

He or she is expected and required to pick up the pieces and carry on with life. More often than not, in that role--one that was never wanted or expected--he or she becomes the embodiment of Evil. As for me? When it coms to being the last parent standing, I've been there, done that, got the tee-shirt. As Joanna has matured in the course of fifteen books, she's begun to have a more realistic idea about both her parents. She's finally begun to see that her father wasn't perfection itself just as her mother wasn't perfectly evil.

In Judgment Call, all those old ghosts show up again. With any kind of luck, they've all been put out to pasture on a permanent basis. But with boy-crazy Dora Matthews as a tent-mate, Jenny is seduced into taking a late night unauthorized hike into the wilderness where--instead of smoking a clandestine cigarette--she and Dora stumble upon the body of a murdered Phoenix woman.

Knowing that her little girl will be traumatized by her experience, Joanna must balance concern for Jenny with the demands of her new marriage and possible bid for reelection. In Brownies I made one of the world's ugliest sit-upons--two squares of butt-sized red naugahyde sewn together with white yarn and then stuffed with cotton batting.

What made mine ugly was the stitching. The stitching on the first side was carefully and evenly done. The second side was less so, while the third and fourth sides were a disgrace. Naturally, I was picturing that ugly thing when I wrote the first camping scenes in this book. When the book tour came along, I was in the process of doing a Sunday afternoon book signing at the Joseph Beth store in Louisville, Kentucky when my phone rang.

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I carry my cell phone in my bra. When the phone rang, people in the audience looked at one another as if to say, "Whose phone is that? In my bra. Finally I pulled it out, but when I looked at the read-out, I could see that the caller was none other than my mother.

As long as my mother was on the planet, I tried to call her every Sunday without fail. She's in her eighties. I have to take this. Not a jump in the car, see the sights kind of ride. He's been taken for everything he has. He's lost his house, his restaurant business, his savings, his car, his best friend, his faith—all to his conniving ex-wife. But that was seven years ago. He doesn't look back on those bad years; there's no point.

Not until two curious cops show up at the Roundhouse. Faith, Butch's ex-wife, has been murdered, and the evidence points to him. Stunned, Butch quickly realizes that the black-hearted woman is going to ruin him again, from her grave.


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  • Lucky for Butch, the Old Blue Line, a group of retired—but still sharp and tenacious—former legal and law enforcement coots, have taken it upon themselves, as a favor, to make sure he doesn't cross that thin line. After the dust settles, Butch's life is again upended—when a little red-haired ball of fire, Sheriff Joanna Brady, takes a seat at his bar. While signing books at the Tucson Festival of Books, a fan asked, "When are we going to see some writing from Butch Dixon?

    About G G Collins

    This is Butch's story, told in the first person and from his point of view. For me it was a fun way to explore Butch Dixon's background. An old woman, a hoarder, is dying of emphysema in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In cleaning out her house, her daughter, Liza Machett, discovers a fortune in hundred dollar bills hidden in the tall stacks of books and magazines that crowd every corner.

    A man she considers a family friend is found dead at the bottom of a hole in a limestone cavern near Bisbee. And now there is the mystery of Liza and the money. Are the two disparate cases connected? I remember Bisbee's Warren business district from my childhood. Warren Drug, complete with a soda fountain, was on the corner of a row of small storefronts. Across the street, next to MidTown market, was Mrs.

    Courage Is Cowardly

    Browders--a tiny but beloved general store specializing in afternoon candy and treats for kids walking home from school. And let's not forget Mrs. Haynes's Snow Cone shop. There was a developmentally disabled man whose widowed mother lived just up the street from Bisbee's Warren business district. I seem to remember that the disabled man's name was Charlie. I could be wrong about that, but what I do remember is that those two blocks were the sum total of his world. He hung out there, day after day, either leaning against the various store fronts or patrolling Arizona Street on his fat-tired bike.

    He always wore perfectly pressed khaki shirts and pants. There was always a toy Roy Roger's pistol on his hip and a gold sheriff's badge pinned to the pocket of his shirt. Was the badge a real one--in memory of a father or uncle perhaps who had been in law enforcement--or was it, too, just a toy? I don't know. I wish now I had thought to ask someone about that. I couldn't have asked Charlie directly because his movements were jerky and his speech mostly incomprehensible. His mother might have understood what he was saying, but outsiders did not. When I was young, Charlie seemed harmless--riding up and down the street on his bike and engaging in disjointed conversations with people no one else could see.

    By the time I was in high school, though, Charlie changed. He became scary, often shouting at people as they hurried past him, looking the other way and trying to avoid eye contact. Eventually Charlie disappeared.

    Joanna Brady Mysteries: Tombstone Courage 2 by J. A. Jance (1995, Paperback)

    He may have died, but I don't remember there being a funeral service of any kind. It's taken me years to learn that the alarming changes in Charlie's behavior probably resulted from a kind of early onset dementia, an additional burden that plagues many developmentally disabled folks. I suspect that writing Junior's story in Remains of Innocence is my way of making good on those wishes.

    This exclusive e-novella that has everything you want in a thriller—page-turning action, breathtaking twists and turns, edge-of-your-seat suspense, and…Legos. And when the truck crashed through the guardrail, its payload wound up scattered all over the road—boxes upon boxes of Legos. Legos that are being tracked by B. Sheriff Joanna Brady has a lot on her plate—she is up for re-election as sheriff, pregnant with her third child, and her eldest is packing up to leave for college. Then Joanna is woken in the middle of the night by a call reporting a motor vehicle accident.

    Something about the accident seems suspicious, though, and when Joanna gets a call from Ali Reynolds, a journalist turned investigator, she accepts her offer to help. With a baby on the way, sudden deaths in the family from which to recover, a re-election campaign looming, and a daughter heading off for college, Cochise County Sheriff Joanna Brady has her hands full when a puzzling new case hits her department, demanding every resource she has at her disposal. Two women have fallen to their deaths from a small nearby peak, referred to by Bisbee locals as Geronimo.

    And if someone else is responsible, is it possible that the perpetrator may, even now, be on the hunt for another victim? On the one hand, Downfall is about the corrosive and potentially fatal power of family secrets. This time Sheriff Joanna Brady may expect to see her maternity leave through to completion, but the world has other plans when a serial homicide case surfaces in her beloved Cochise County. Good Reads. Latest Releases. Series Overviews.

    Ali Reynolds. Joanna Brady. Walker Family.

    Tombstone Courage (Joanna Brady Mysteries #2) (Mass Market) | Wellesley Books

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    Tombstone Courage: A Joanna Brady Mystery Tombstone Courage: A Joanna Brady Mystery
    Tombstone Courage: A Joanna Brady Mystery Tombstone Courage: A Joanna Brady Mystery
    Tombstone Courage: A Joanna Brady Mystery Tombstone Courage: A Joanna Brady Mystery
    Tombstone Courage: A Joanna Brady Mystery Tombstone Courage: A Joanna Brady Mystery
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