P. Beaumont earned his stripes as a Seattle cop. He didn’t
always follow the rules and often succeeded in pushing the buttons
of his command officers long before he retired. Washington
State’s Attorney General has found his unorthodox approach to
law enforcement exactly what he’s looking for to chase down
the bad guys --- especially the ones who thought they got
When a recently released prisoner, cleared of all charges in a
robbery, is cold-bloodedly gunned down in his aged mother’s
living room, the Attorney General takes a special interest in the
case. He asks J. P. to investigate the killing but requests that it
be kept quiet from local law enforcement. He also asks J. P. not to
tell his own partner, or partner plus, the lovely Mel Soames. Since
the two are now living together, this proves difficult, especially
when the circumstances of the young man’s murder and a cold
case investigation into a serial killer that Mel is working on seem
When Mel uncovers the fact that several of the men convicted in
sexual abuse crimes are dying at an abnormal rate after being
released from prison, suspicion arises that may involve Mel’s
pet charity, a support group for abused women. As J. P. begins to
suspect some of them of being involved in a crime, possibly murder,
his relationship with Mel becomes strained.
In another case, Mel encounters a missing accountant who
disappeared on the same day Mount Saint Helen’s blew up,
presumably lost in the volcanic eruption. Is his disappearance
related to the serial killers instead of an accident?
As Mel and J. P. gradually cross paths in their separate
investigations, they begin to work together in one of the most
complicated mysteries in J. P.’s career.
J. A. Jance is fond of creating mischievous acronyms and naming
characters after actual people, places and things. When J. P.
joined the Special Homicide Investigation Team in the Attorney
General’s office (you can supply the short name), she poked
fun at the government’s propensity for cumbersome names and
the bad habit of calling them by their acronyms. Two of her
continuing characters are named (tongue planted firmly in cheek)
Harry I. Ball and Kendall Jackson.
At one point in Jance’s career, she would auction off at
Seattle charity auctions the naming of characters by giving the
highest bidder a role in her next book. The winner never knew if he
or she would be a good guy or bad guy, but it was worth big dollars
to Jance’s pet charities to wind up between the pages of a J.
P. Beaumont mystery. Whether Kendall Jackson, the winery, was the
winner in one of those auctions is anybody’s guess, but Lt.
Jackson continues regularly in the series.
JUSTICE DENIED is rife with red herrings and plot twists and turns,
and offers a full accounting of J. P.’s rather dysfunctional
extended family. It’s a fun summer read, and some niggling
family issues will be resolved for fans along with all the bad guys
getting what they deserve.
Reviewed by Roz Shea on January 22, 2011