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The Quilty Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

Devil's Claw by J.A. Jance - Book 8 in the Joanna Brady series

Devil's Claw - J. A. Jance

One of the things about reading a long series is that it can take several books for me, as the reader, to hit my stride in the same way that it can take several books for the author to hit her stride.


I've been enjoying this series, but at about the 75% mark in this book - the eighth in the series - I realized something. J.A. Jance writes horrible female characters. Aside from Joanna Brady, who is all things wonderful: bright, sexy, interesting, committed to justice, pretty badass, all of her women suck. SUCK.


Jance's portrayal of most of the older women in the series is incredibly, endlessly, one-dimensional and irritating. Joanna's mother is a superficial hypocrite who needs to be bitch slapped into next week. She is also just a little bit older than I am, which makes her utter lack of depth annoying as fuck to me, personally. We add Butch's mother to the mix, another older woman who seems to have been hit with the nasty stick more times than I can count.

Why is it that all of the older men get to be multi-dimensional characters whose flaws are balanced with fine, positive and at times even noble qualities, but every woman over the age of 50 doesn't work, has no real interests outside of being judgmental, and is a shallow bitch? Where is the local woman D.A. who has been a hardworking prosecutor in pursuit of justice for 20 years, whose been balancing work and family successfully for decades and whose children think she's amazing (I mean, hello, we exist!)? Where is the female bank manager? Marliss Shackleford, the gossip columnist, is essentially all of the negative qualities that I mentioned, whose horribleness is subsidized for profit. Could we please have a female character OTHER THAN Joanna Brady who engages in something more socially meaningful than being married and judging everyone within a 25 mile radius? Because that would be great.

So, Jance, this is bullshit. Fix it.