Cover image for Day of the Dead
Title:
Day of the Dead
Author:
Jance, Judith A.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : William Morrow, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
370 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780688138233
Format :
Book

Available:*

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FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
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FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
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Summary

Summary

For more than thirty years, the case has remained stone cold -- the brutal murder of a local Papago girl, her butchered body found stuffed into a large cooler that was left on the side of Highway 86. No one ever paid for the horrific crime ... except, that is, the victim's loved ones, who suffer to this day.

Brandon Walker, once the sheriff of Pima County, Arizona, no longer feels he has purpose. A reluctant retiree living in the long shadow of his wife, Diana Ladd, a successful author of true-crime books, he is bored with golf, and more so with life. Salvation, though, comes with an invitation to join the ranks of The Last Chance, an exclusive nationwide fraternity of former cops and forensic experts who look into unsolved murders that have baffled local law enforcement agencies. And one such case is staring Brandon in the face with cold, dead, entreating eyes -- a murder investigation that may have been mishandled by his department when he was a young lawman.

The trail of a sadistic, calculating, and blood-chillinglyefficient killer soon leads Brandon into a strange world at the unlikely border between forensic science and tribal mysticism: a place where evil hides behind a perfect facade. Now the seeds of terror sown three decades earlier have bloomed and are bearing awful fruit. A forgotten homicide in the Arizona desert is only the beginning of the nightmare that is about to ensnare a diligent ex-cop and his family, for Brandon Walker is the only one still alive who can unravel a blood knot of terror and obsession that will free a dark truth more frightening than he ever imagined.

A novel that bristles with electrifying intensity and is alive with the breathtaking atmosphere and rich characterizations that have become J. A. Jance trademarks, Day of the Dead is a gripping and extraordinary journey into the darkness -- a welcome return to the shadow world of the sensational New York Times bestseller Kiss of the Bees -- and the author's most spellbinding and powerfully resonant thriller to date.


Author Notes

Judith Ann (J. A.) Jance was born in Watertown, South Dakota on October 27, 1944. She received a degree in English and secondary education in 1966 and a M. Ed. in library science in 1970 from the University of Arizona. Before becoming an author, she taught high school English, worked as a school librarian on a Native American reservation, and sold insurance.

She is the author of many popular mystery series including the J. P. Beaumont Mystery series, Joanna Brady Mystery series, and the Ali Reynolds series. She won the American Mystery Award for Without Due Process in 1992 and for Failure to Appear in 1993. Both of these titles are books in the J. P. Beaumont Mystery series. In 2014, her fiction book, A Last Goodbye, made the New York Times bestseller list.

Random Acts, a title in A Joanna Brady and Ali Reynolds Novella Series, made the New York Times bestseller list in 2016.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Resting both her regular series sleuths, Joanna Brady and J. P. Beaumont, this latest Jance mystery returns to Arizona's Tohono O'Odham reservation, also the setting for two earlier nonseries novels, Hour of the Hunter 0 (1991) and Kiss of the Bees0 (2000). Retired cop Brandon Walker sets out to investigate a cold case, the mutilation murder of a 15-year-old Tohono O'Odham girl. Suspense builds gradually in the multilayered novel, which is filtered through multiple perspectives, each person adding a piece to a textured puzzle that tracks a pair of serial killers whose crimes extend backward across three decades. As in Jance's two series, the action is intermixed with well-placed social commentary, this time regarding the unconscionable ill use of reservation peoples by vicious mil-ghan0 (whites), even in the recent past. Although the Indian cultural backdrop is not as integral to the story as it is in Hillerman's novels, this will still appeal to Hillerman devotees as well as to thriller fans accustomed to a sheen of blood spatter and sex with their suspense. --Stephanie Zvirin Copyright 2004 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Jance's third suspense thriller to feature ex-sheriff Brandon Walker and his family (after Hour of the Hunter and Kiss of the Bees) deftly mixes Native American mythology with a harrowing plot. An old Tohono O'odham woman, Emma Orozco, asks Walker for help in solving the brutal murder of her daughter, Roseanne, who was slain in 1970. Walker is able to take on the challenge because of his membership in TLC, The Last Chance, a privately funded agency that looks into old, unsolved crimes. This ingenious arrangement allows for great flexibility in the action of the story. As Walker searches for clues in Roseanne's death, he comes across similar murders each with no leads, each involving a dismembered body left alongside a road in the Southwest. The reader learns more and more about the killers, the sexually voracious, utterly amoral Gayle Stryker and her husband, Larry, a truly effective pair of monsters. Meanwhile, Walker's dear friend Fat Crack Ortiz, a Tohono O'odham man, is dying of complications from diabetes. Most of Walker's friends, in fact, are Indians, as is his adopted daughter, Lani. He draws not so much knowledge as strength and perspective from them no mumbo-jumbo here, only believable sensitivity. Agent, Alice Volpe. (One-day laydown July 20) Forecast: Backed by a 15-city author tour concentrated in the Southwest, this one should hit national bestseller lists. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Bored with retirement, former sheriff Brandon Walker joins a club that investigates cold cases-and confronts a mystery from his past linked to contemporary violence. With a 15-city author tour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Day of the Dead A Novel of Suspense Chapter One They say it happened long ago that I'itoi, Elder Brother, came to a village to see if his Desert People had enough water after the long summer heat. As he walked along he heard a crowd of Indian children playing. He stopped for a while and watched them, listening to the music of their voices and laughter. About that time Elder Brother saw an old woman carrying a heavy load of wood for her cooking fire. Old Woman was not as happy and carefree as the children. She had no energy to sing or play. About that time an old coyote came and stood by I'itoi. He, too, watched the children. Old Coyote's ribs showed under his thin, ragged coat. Like Old Woman, Old Coyote could no longer play and dance. His paws were too stiff and sore from just walking around in the desert. Seeing Old Woman and Old Coyote made I'itoi sad. Because Elder Brother's heart was heavy, he couldn't walk very fast. He went to the shade of some cottonwood trees to rest. It was autumn, so the leaves on the tree had turned yellow, but they still made shade. As Great Spirit sat under the trees, he thought about the children at play and about how different they would be when they grew old. He thought about some young calves he had seen that morning in a field and about how they would change as they grew older. He thought about a young colt he had seen kicking up its heels with joy, and he thought about how, one day, Young Colt would become Old Horse. He thought about flowers and about how their leaves withered and their colors faded when they grew old. Thinking about these things, I'itoi decided he would like to have something around him that would not change as it became old. He wanted something that would not grow heavy like the cows and horses or wrinkled and bent like old men and women or dry and colorless like dead flowers. Great Spirit wanted something that would always stay happy and beautiful like the children. As I'itoi was thinking these things under the cottonwood trees, he looked up. He saw the yellow leaves. He saw the blue sky through the leaves. He saw the shadows under the yellow leaves. He looked down and saw streaks and spots of sunlight dancing around on the ground just as the Indian Children had danced. Then Great Spirit laughed, for you see, nawoj -- my friend, I'itoi had found just what he wanted. March 16, 2000 Brandon Walker stood in front of the bathroom mirror locked in mortal combat with the stubborn strings of his bow tie. As sweat dampened his brow and soaked through the underarms of his starched white shirt, he longed for the good old days when, as Pima County sheriff, he could have shown up at one of these cattle calls in his dress uniform instead of having to put on a stupid tuxedo. There was a tap on the door. "Are you ready?" Diana asked. "It's getting late." "Then you'd better come help me with this damned tie," Brandon grunted. Diana opened the door, and her reflection joined his in the mirror. She was so beautiful that seeing her took Brandon's breath away. She was dressed in a deep blue full-length taffeta gown that complemented every inch of her still slim figure. In the cleft at the base of her throat a diamond solitaire pendant hung from a slender gold chain. That single piece of jewelry had cost more than Brandon's first house. Her auburn hair, highlighted now with natural streaks of gray, was pulled back in an elegant French twist. "Hi, gorgeous," he said. She smiled back at him. "You're not so bad yourself. What's the trouble?" "The bow," he said. "I'm all fumble fingers." It took only a few seconds for her to untangle and straighten the tie. "There," she said, patting his shoulder. "Now let's get going." Brandon picked up his jacket from the bed and shrugged his way into it as he followed his wife down the hall. "Which car?" he asked. "Mine or yours?" "Yours," she said. They drove east from Gates Pass and into downtown Tucson to the community center where the Tucson Man and Woman of the Year benefit gala was being held. The honorees, Gayle and Dr. Lawrence Stryker, were friends of Diana Ladd's dating back to her days as a teacher on the Tohono O'odham Reservation. Now a local luminary, Diana had been asked to give a short introductory and no doubt laudatory speech. Brandon's plan was to go, be seen, and do his best to be agreeable. But when it came to Larry and Gayle Stryker, he intended to keep his mouth firmly shut. That would be best for all concerned. Larry Stryker sat on the dais overlooking the decorated ballroom filled with candlelit banquet tables and listened as Diana Ladd stood at the microphone and spoke about old times. "As some of you know, in the early seventies I went through a rough patch. I was teaching on the reservation, had lost my husband, and had a brand-new baby. Not many people stuck with me during that time, but Larry and Gayle Stryker did, and I'll always be grateful for that. Over the years it's been gratifying for me to see what they've done with their lives and to watch as they've turned a single idea into a powerful tool for good." Larry searched the sea of upturned faces until he caught sight of Brandon Walker sitting at one of the foremost tables. The former sheriff, looking uncomfortable and out of his element in what was probably a rented tux, sat with his arms folded across his chest. Their eyes met briefly. Brandon nodded in acknowledgment, but there was nothing friendly in the gesture -- on either side. Former sheriff. That was the operant word here. While Diana Ladd spoke of the good old times, Larry was free to let his thoughts drift back to those times as well. Fortunately, no one in the room -- most especially Brandon Walker -- was able to read his mind. Day of the Dead A Novel of Suspense . Copyright © by J. Jance. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Day of the Dead by J. A. Jance All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.