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Publisher's Summary

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 life. Salvation comes with an invitation to join The Last Chance, an exclusive fraternity of former cops and forensic experts who look into unsolved murders. One case is staring Brandon in the face with cold, dead, entreating eyes, an investigation that may have been mishandled by his department when he was a young lawman. For more than 30 years, the brutal murder of a local Papago girl has remained a mystery.

The trail of the 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 are bearing awful fruit. A forgotten homicide in the Arizona desert is the beginning of a nightmare that is about to ensnare Brandon, the only person still alive who can unravel a 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 and the author's most spellbinding thriller to date.

©2004 J.A. Jance (P)2004 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Jance's third suspense thriller to feature ex-sheriff Brandon Walker and his family deftly mixes Native American mythology with a harrowing plot." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Howard
  • Springfield, OR, USA
  • 08-25-04

Satisfying Read

I have read some of the Joanna Brady series books by J.A. Jance and although I enjoyed them, I found the characters a little too wooden. Although Day of the Dead seems to be an obvious attempt to recreate Tony Hillerman's works, that is fine with me. Although she uses so many characters it is hard to keep them straight for an audio listener, I thought her characterizations where much better than in previous works and the story seemed tighter. I do get a bit tired however of writers who always have children who are "straight A students," men who are "ruggedly handsome," or women who are so beautuful they put others "to shame." Although we know "who did it" from virtually the begining of the book, the enjoyment in this book is in the pursuit. I hope in her next book, she uses the geography of the southwest to greater effect. Hillerman does a much better job with that.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Big Plot

J A is a wonderful writer and very complete in her plots and detail. I have loved all of her books, but this one was too much. There was so much detail and so many characters that it was really hard to follow. I had so much to remember before the primary plot that I was worn out by the time I was suppose to get in to the ending. This was a good story with too much detail to handle.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

I eagerly anticipated listening to this book. I like this author's skill in painting pictures with words, development of a good mystery and a suspenseful finish. I found myself annoyed with this work because of excessive use of "political correctness" (white guys bad, Indians good) and the implied assumption throughout the book that only "indigenous" people have connection to the spiritual and mystical. I remind the author that all people are indigenous to somewhere, and that many cultures, including the Celts, have a strong tradition of connection to the mystic as well as embracing medical science. In that same vein, the gratuitous denigration of physicians in the Indian Health Service is a real slap in the face to the thousands of physicians of all ethnic backgrounds who have dedicated years of their lives to providing the best care possible to their patients in a bureaucratic system that often impedes their efforts, rather than enhancing them. I don't see how that was necessary to the development of the story, and am left to conclude that the author is ignorant of the reality of life in the IHS system.
The third thing that annoyed me is the all too common "necessity" to throw in at least one gay or lesbian character, always shown in a positive light, and with commentary on the difficulty of their situation. If I wished to read gay/lesbian literature, there is a whole section devoted to it on the Audible site and in most bookstores; I would know where to find it. However, I picked this novel expecting a nice mystery set in the modern southwest, along the lines of Hillerman's series. Unlike Hillerman, Jance insists on inflicting her political views on the reader, who may find the story less enjoyable thereby. I suggest in the future, if the novel is thus disposed, that it be labeled as political propaganda, so that the unwary reader/listener does not spend hard-earned money supporting literature that annoys him/her.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Linda
  • Anthem, AZ, United States
  • 05-23-07

I enjoyed it

I disagree with those who thought it was boring. It wasn't your typical J.A. Jance, exactly, but it was interesting.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Barbara
  • San Diego, CA, USA
  • 03-12-05

Disappointing

This is the first J.A. Jance book that I thought droned on and was boring. I didn't even finish the book. Too little time to waste on books like this.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Do Not Get This Book!!

I have read all of the JA Jance JP Beaumont and Sheriff Brady books and liked everyone. This book, however, is unreadable (or rather, unlistenable). It is BORING! I listen as I drive to and from work and this book is a safety hazard, it tends to put me to sleep.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Very supenseful cold case mystery

I thoroughly enjoyed this; it kept my interest throughout. The characters were all interesting and sympathetic (well except for the 2 psychopaths) with fully drawn back-story, even the relatively minor characters. I like cold case mysteries and this one did a good job continuing into the present day.

The only down side was the prelude to each chapter. It was a continuing native tribal myth/story. I never recognized what it had to to with the novel, but maybe I didn't pay enough attention to the ending. Either way, it was more annoying than useful.