Saturday, October 28, 2023

Book Review: Blessings of the Lost Girls by J.A. Jance

 A Brady and Walker Family Novel

Fans of author Judith (J.A.) Jance love her three popular series, one starring Joanna Brady, another J.P. Beaumont and the series with Ali Reynolds. She also wrote a short series (5 books) about the Walker Family featuring Native Americans from the Tohono O’Odham reservation in Arizona. 

In this review of her latest book, Blessings of the Lost Girls, Jance combines members of the Walker Family and characters from the Joanna Brady series in an exciting adventure that includes Joanna's daughter Jenny and Brandon Walker's son-in-law, Dan Pardee. 

Native American hieroglyphics

Synopsis of Blessings of the Lost Girls

Blessings of the Lost Girls Book Cover
The story begins with a background of the serial killer who is the villain in the novel. 

Then we are introduced to Danial Pardee, a former member of the Shadow Wolves Border Patrol, who patrol the U.S./Mexico border along the Tohono O’Odham Nation Reservation in Arizona. Now he is a field officer in the newly formed MIP agency (Missing and Murdered Indigenous People), an agency under the Department of Interior. The main purpose of MIP is to investigate and put right how law enforcement agencies all over the country had dealt with both solved and unsolved cases involving the deaths and disappearances of Native American victims. 

A body is found in the desert on a ranch near Tucson consisting of nothing but burned bones.  It took nearly 3 years, but the bones are finally identified as those of Rosa Rios, a young woman of Apache descent who was a one-time rodeo star. Dan is called to investigate, as the victim was found in his territory. As it turns out, all reports each MIP investigator files are automatically shared with other MIP field agents, which soon leads to other agents contacting Dan with reports of similar cases involving young women of indigenous descent, each of whom had some connection to rodeos. Soon, the agency realizes that Rosa's death is connected to a serial killer.

Dan contacts Joanna Brady, Sheriff of Cochise County, Arizona where Rosa's body was found. Later, Joanna's daughter Jenny, currently a criminal justice major at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, becomes involved in the case due to having once met Rosa at a rodeo. 

Turns out, Jenny knows another girl who was once attacked at a rodeo by a man who matches the description of the killer they are looking for. And this girl happens to have saved a pair of eyeglasses which were knocked off the man during the attack. The girl never reported the attack at the time because her Morman family would not have approved of the boy she was dating, but finally agrees to turn in the glasses, from which fingerprints are obtained. 


Between Dan, Joanna and Jenny, and Dan's best friend, Brian Fellows, Sheriff of Pina County in Tucson, a case is put together and the serial killer is tracked down.

*Special Note: Throughout the novel, the author weaves in a few fascinating ancient legends from the (Papago) Tohono O’Odham (Desert People) where the basis of the story begins. The legends, plus the excellent writing of J.A. Jance, makes Blessings of the Lost Girls a very special story indeed. I highly recommend it.

Blessings of the Lost Girls Book Cover

Blessings of the Lost Girls, Book 20 of 20 in the Joanna Brady mystery series, is available in several formats on Amazon

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*Book Review written by Wednesday Elf

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. My husband and I are fans of Tony Hillerman’s novels, and it sounds as though we might really enjoy this one as well. I love that the author weaves in ancient legends from the Tohono O’Odham, and I’m already wondering how they might figure into the story. Thanks for this excellent review and recommendation, Elf!

    1. This book, along with all five books in the Walker Family Series by JA Jance, have a very similar feel to those by Tony Hillerman. I think you would really enjoy the series.

  2. Another one I know my mom would have read and enjoyed - everytime I read these kind of book reviews I think of my mom - she had a large collection of books, and loved a good mystery. Sounds like an excellent choice.

    1. Thanks, Barbara. Glad you enjoyed my book review.

  3. I have no doubt the legends woven through the novel would be quite interesting to read and learn about. I admit, I am fascinated by legends, especially the ones that would have been passed down for generations. It always seems like a part of history that could be so easily lost. As for a serial killer plot, it would probably scare me witless, but would be quite satisfying when the killer is caught.

    1. This story is more of a way the agency (MIP) is being about better follow-up to deaths & disappearances of Indigenous people whose plight has often been largely ignored in the past. And I agree with you about legends. I particularly love legends of Native Americans, having grown up in an area that is filled with Indian names. I was born in Canandaigua, NY, a Seneca word meaning "The Chosen Spot". The plot of this book is more interesting, then scary, Mouse.

  4. Oh Pat, what a timely review. With so much of the spotlight on indigenous peoples and the hostilities they have faced, I can only imagine getting totally caught up in this book. Thanks for adding another good book to my growing list of Must Read Soon Books. I love learning about other peoples and cultures, so this will be right up my alley!

    1. Thank you, Olivia. I think you would really enjoy this book.

  5. Thank you for a fascinating review of this book. I love that the author weaves in ancient legends which would make it even more interesting. I think this would be a great novel for anyone who likes mysteries and I am always very glad when the serial killer is eventually caught !

    1. Thanks for your visit to my book review, Raintree Annie. The ancient legends are indeed fascinating to read.


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