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. 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.
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, she finds herself walking a fine line between justice and family that has never been so blurred.
©2012 J.A. Jance (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers
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"Love Having Joanna back."
I am just now listening to JUDGMENT CALL. Ms. Jance never writes another Joanna Brady book for me fast enough. I read DESERT HEAT a few years after I became a widow, and I have been following Joanna ever since.
This book is much better than FIRE and ICE, Yes, it was a Joanna Brady book with J P Beaumont. I didn't think it was up to par to the way I like to think a Joanna Brady book should be. Though life is full of changes, I wish that Frank Montoya was still with Joanna as her second in command. It's like catching up with the family.
As for the narrator, I personally wouldn't have picked Hillary Huber either. Her voice is a bit grating, but she is better than a few of the narrators I truly dislike and becuse of them, I will not listen to a book by a favorite author because of the narrator. There are many better narrators. Susan Ericksen would be my top pick, but she can't do all of the books we like to listen too.
Cassandra Campbell, Carrington McDuffie, Katherine Kellergen, Kate Reading, Susie Breck, and Barbara Rosenblatt are few of the narrators that come to my mind. I am sure there are a few others that I can't think of right now.
The problem is, it's not up to to the author or us who reads the books, it's up to the publishers. The fine ladies I just mentioned, may not be able to do it, or the publisher and recording companies do not want to put out the big bucks.
"Even bad narrator can't ruin Joanna"
Very odd -- for a series as popular as J A Jance's Joanna Brady books, for as many segments as there are in the series, it's odd that there have been so many different narrators. By contrast, Gene Eugene was a decades-long standard for narrating the J P Beaumont series. Why the vast variety in the Joanna Brady books?
Hillary Huber is my least favorite of them all. I'll never fail to buy the Brady books, but I really do wish they'd stop using Huber -- the books read by Stephanie Brush are by far the best. Brush sounds exactly like I'd expect Joanna to sound. C.J. Critt is my second favorite.
Hillary Huber is the worst. She has a very strange narration voice. Sometimes it's so smooth, flat and nasal it borders on robotic. Then she lapses into a sort of bored-sounding nasally valley girl accent for Jenny, which, while grating and not reflective of the character of Jenny, might possibly work for a teenager, but then Huber seems to forget what she's doing, and suddenly we have a sheriff talking like a bored teen. And all the men sound like bright, chipper, perky young men, whereas we know most of them are older than Joanna and not all of them are eager-beavers, contrary to the way Huber has them talking.
It can't be easy to narrate audiobooks. To come up with different but credible voices for each character must be a challenge. But surely the narrator could manage to stay awake. Time and time again she missed changing her voice for the character -- it was terribly annoying.
That said, Judgement Calls is a worthy installment in the Joanna Brady series. We finally find out what happened to Joanna's father, and best of all, we get plenty of action from Joanna's mother, who makes me laugh and cry at the same time, because she reminds me so much of my mother. There's one classic interchange, I had to play it three times to enjoy it completely: Joanna has news about her long-dead father's murder, and wants to tell her mother about it, so she calls and says merely that she'd like to stop by for a cup of coffee. Sensing something amiss -- that isn't Joanna's usual habit -- Eleanor asks what's wrong. Joanna demurs, saying they'll talk about it later. Eleanor spouts, "Oh, I know! Andy's left you, hasn't he?" Made me just howl! That is such a typical reaction from a whole legion of mothers, especially those of Eleanor's vintage. Great stuff -- as was Eleanor's occasional graciousness to Joanna when they're in public. The troubled and somewhat caustic mother-daughter relationship in these books is something that a lot of mothers -- and daughters -- will recognize.
These books are filled with that -- real life stories, real people, real everyday problems and situations. Every installment is a treat.
That said, I sure would appreciate it if the publishers would find -- and then stick to -- a better narrator, though. Please, more Stephanie Brush!
I listened to this story twice. I enjoy the relationship between Joanna and her mother; and Joanna and her own daughter. I did not realize that Joanna was a teenager when her father was killed. the loss of her father and husband both is tragic. Butch is a good partner for Joanna. The author is walking a tight rope in their relationship and is cautious about not allowing him to become an accessory for Joanna. The male characters definitely play supporting and story transitional roles in this story...even Dennis. The extreme of human emotions and the impact on personal decisions and judgement are the focus of this story. Regarding the narration, I am not locked or tied to one person due to the time between the books in this series. However, the weak distinction between and lack of variety in character voices was a concern. There were a couple of times when Joanna and her daughter both had the same voice.
"Joanna Brady is back"
I like the Joanna Brady series best of the three series J.A. Jance writes. I was so happy that at long last there is a new installment. Joanna Brady is the sheriff of Cochise County AZ., a job that her father also held. Joanna's daughter Jenny finds a dead body when she was out riding her horse. The body turned out to be the school principle. The story goes into the problems of information being posted on the internet social sites and the problems it causes law enforcement and also in the case a photo posted caused the death of the person. Joanna and her Mother interacted more often in this story, than in past books with Joanna learning she has some things in common with her mother. As a side story, in the book, Joanna discovers her Father was murdered and she sets out to solve the crime. Susan Ericksen had narrated other books in this series and did a great job unfortunately Hillary Huber does not meet the high standard set byEricksen. Over all this is a great story well written. Can not wait the the next book in the series.
"The worst narrator EVER!"
The Story was wonderful. The narrator made the book very difficult to listen to.
I don't know, but she would definitely NOT be my first choice. She reads as if she is bored to death and that makes the book difficult to listen to. Also, it's difficult to distinguish between her characters. They all sound the same.
The part when she realizes that her and her mother are similiar in certain ways and therefore understands her mother a little better.
I love all of J A Jance's books. She's a wonderful author. I just had a very difficult time liking this book due to the narrator.
The narrator was unbelievably nasal. Really unppealing and distracting. Almost a caricature... My kids kept imitating her.
"Fast Paced and clean"
Great story! I hadn't read a JA Jance book in a while and I'd forgotten how much I like her characters. I solved one of the mysteries early but there were actually two incorporated into this book and the second outcome was a complete surprise.
"Great read from an excellent author"
I have been an avid JA Jance reader for years- and this tale is as good as her others, if not better. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and kept listening because I was engaged the entire time. This story had two plots that overlapped slightly and extended the suspense beyond the main mystery of the original plot.
I would love to see a J A Jance book made into a film, and while I didn't love the narrator of this version (her voice was too gravelly, which carried over too much into the characterizations), I can envision several actors bringing these characters to life.
"Sheriff Brady to the Rescue, Again"
Jance provides another winner. The action is fast paced and the suspense top rate. Jance is one of my favorite authors!
"Love Joanna Brady!"
No. The narrator was awful.
As always, Joanna was my favorite. She is a strong woman who does the right thing even when it is not the easy thing.
This narrator's voice was so grating that I could hardly listen at times. Maybe she was going for sexy or maybe she just had no energy. I wish they could re-record this wonderful story.
It made me feel like I was finding old friends again. I was shocked at the new information that came at the end.
Tell publishers to think very carefully before they select a reader.
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