Queen of the Night by J.A. Jance

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Queen of the Night by J.A. JanceThere exists in the Southwestern United States, an exotic flower called the Night Blooming Cereus. The bloom, a magnificently scented white flower, lasts for only a few hours one night during the early summer. This flower is often referred to as the Queen of the Night. So it’s only fitting that a book in which the anticipation of the yearly event figures heavily in the plot would be called Queen of the Night.

This, the fourth Walker Family book by Jance, has a very “current events” feel to it. Dan Pardee and his dog Bozo are part of the Shadow Wolf, a group of ex-military Native Americans who work under the border patrol keeping watch along the part of the Mexican-United States border that is on the reservation. While they are supposedly part of the anti terrorism unit, the only action Dan has seen involve drug smuggling and illegal immigration. So when he comes across a massacre of four people while out on patrol, his first thought is that it’s a drug deal gone bad. But several things at the scene just don’t add up, and soon Dan is working with Brian Fellows, the Pima County homicide investigator to figure out what caused this horrible crime. When Fellows became involved, little did he realize it would tie into a cold case. That link to the cold case brought Brandon Walker, a retired cop now working with cold cases in to the investigation as well. What Walker didn’t know was that the cold case was ultimately tied to Walker’s family.

The Walker family series by Jance is quite a bit different from the author’s other series. First, there is quite a large cast of characters who are in each of the books in varying degrees of importance. Secondly, some part of the family’s complex history is woven into the plot of each of the books, tying them together as a unit. And lastly, the books have more of a Native American plotline figured into them than most of her books.

While some of the back story is explained along the way, it’s not always near the beginning. In Queen of the Night, readers have to get to page ninety-three before any of the relevant history of the characters is explained. Since the book is told from varying points of view, those readers unfamiliar with the connections between the characters and the Walker family history may have a difficult time settling into the book. While Queen of the Night is a well written entry in this series, it is probably better to not pick this one up without reading the earlier books first.


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