Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Queen of the Night by J.A. Jance

Title: Queen of the Night
Author: J.A. Jance
ISBN: 9780061239243
Publisher: William Morrow, 2010
Hardcover, 368 pages
Genre: Suspense, #4 Walker family mystery
Rating: A
Source: Purchased from Amazon.

First Line: They say it happened long ago that a young woman of the Tohono O'odam, the Desert People, fell in love with a Yaqui warrior, a Hiakim, and went to live with his people, far to the South.

Every summer in the Tohono O'odam Nation, the flowering of the night-blooming cereus-- the Queen of the Night-- is celebrated, but this year a man and his wife are murdered during their own private celebration, and a little girl loses the only family she's ever known.

To the little girl's rescue come Dr. Lani Walker, who sees similarities to her own childhood trauma in Angie, and Dan Pardee, an Iraq war veteran and a member of an unorthodox border patrol unit called the Shadow Wolves. With the aid of Pima County homicide detective Brian Fellows, they must keep the child safe while tracking down a killer.

Meanwhile retired homicide detective Brandon Walker-- stepfather to both Dr. Lani Walker and Detective Brian Fellows-- is investigating a cold case involving the murder of an Arizona State University coed. These two cases have the power to tear three families to shreds.

I have long been a fan of Jance's Joanna Brady series set in Bisbee, Arizona. Jance grew up in Bisbee, and her knowledge and affection infuse the setting with a very special quality. The Walker family series (Hour of the Hunter, Kiss of the Bees, Day of the Dead, Queen of the Night), set in Tucson and the Tohono O'odam Nation, reflect another stage in the author's life when she taught on the reservation.

Once again Jance deftly weaves together the two plot lines, imbuing both with a palpable sense of urgency and danger. Her characters in this series are not ten feet tall and bullet-proof; bad things can and do happen to them, and this adds to that sense of danger. One of the highlights of this series for me is the way that Jance incorporates Tohono O'odam teachings and legends into her storylines.

Yes, this book is the fourth in a series, but it's not necessary to read the first three in order to make sense of what's going on in Queen of the Night. Don't be surprised, however, if you read this book and then immediately want to find the others. They are always on my list of recommendations for anyone who wants to read well-crafted mysteries that give a true sense of southern Arizona.


  1. Jance is a fav of mine, but strangely I didn't remember the Brady series being in Bisbee when I read your blogs about Bisbee. I'll read anything she writes, but this sounds like an excellent series.

  2. I liked this book a lot. She said she wrote it in memory of Tony Hillerman. I thought it was a fitting memorial.

  3. The book is new to me and I hadn't even read anything about it amongst the blogs so I appreciate this post. Thanks.

  4. I've read the first 4 or 5 in her Beaumount series and have always meant to read her others. Glad to know that the other books are more than worth my time.

  5. Barbara-- It is an excellent series. Jance's latest series is the only one I don't particularly care for, although saying that makes me feel disloyal, and I might pick up the second to give her another chance!

    Joe-- So did I.

    Mystica-- You're very welcome.

    Beth-- Yes, they are!

  6. I haven't read a J.A. Jance book in awhile, this really makes me want to pick up her books again. I always enjoy them..not sure why I keep putting them off. So glad to hear this is another good one.

  7. Kris-- You know they're good and are waiting for you. In the mean time, you see a new book by a new author, then another and another..... I know how it goes!


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