This was my first exposure to JA Jance – and it introduced me to two of her characters. I found myself delighting in the tiny details and geographical accuracy of her Seattle-and-environs setting, and marveling at her ability to not only switch voice but the literal point of view she was writing in as she shifted between Beaumont and Brady’s stories, and slowly brought them together.
Beaumont’s of the Washington State Attorney General’s Special Homicide Investigation Team (go ahead, figure out the acronym and then grin) has taken over a case spanning several counties: women are being killed, their teeth removed from their bodies, and the bodies rolled in tarps, dumped, and burned. But this latest body might be the break they need: the teeth haven’t been removed. Will this be the lead Beaumont and his team need to track down the killers?
In Arizona, Cochise County Sheriff Joanna Brady has her own headaches. There’s a homicide at an out-of-the-way ATV park, her new medical examiner is impossible to work with, a local nursing home might be neglecting their patients to death, and she’s the best man in a wedding at the end of the week. The last thing she needs is to lose one of her deputies to a death in the family, leaving her shorthanded and attempting to placate her family, a surprise intervention by the feds, and her colleagues.
The book is by no means perfect – especially in Brady’s half of the story, which raises more questions than it answers. (By no means do all of the problems introduced in Brady’s life end up anywhere near resolved.) But even with this awkwardness and lack of revolution, the book was engaging and entertaining, which in the end is all I ask for from the mystery novels I read.
That said, would I read another Joanna Brady book? Maybe, maybe not. But I’ll definitely look for more Beaumont novels – the combination of the setting and character prove irresistible!