Saturday, January 29, 2011
Long Time Gone by J. A. Jance
I had been reading Jance's Joanna Brady series for a while before I discovered her Seattle detective J. P. Beaumont. It took a bit though for Beaumont to grow on me; now I like him almost as much as Brady.
How many fictional detectives are recovering alcholics? It seems to me there are quite a few, and Beaumont is yet another AA member in good standing. He has also suffered through tragedies such as the shooting death of his female partner and the "death by cop" of his last wife on their wedding day. He was raised by his grandmother who is still "the" woman in his life even though she has married his AA sponsor. Enough drama? Beaumont thinks so and has remained single and partnerless for a while.
Long Time Gone begins with a five year old girl, home alone, who witnesses the murder of the nice lady next door. The woman is stabbed multiple times in the driveway and after the little girl hides until she is certain the murderers are gone, she returns to the window to see that the body and the blood are gone. Then we jump to years later when she is an adult, a nun, and suddenly is waking up screaming in the night. She is mother superior of a convent and her nuns are anxious for her sanity.
Not only is Beaumont drawn into that cold case, his best friend Ron Peters and his family are undergoing tension that threatens to pull them apart. When both Peters and one of his daughters come to Beaumont for advice and help, he can't help being involved in their problems.
For a loner, Beaumont ends up being so involved with these two issues that he has trouble even finding time for his grandmother who is ill. This is hard for him to handle but the story is fun for the reader to attempt to figure out. As I said, Beau has grown on me so I enjoyed this adventure into relationships for him. I don't worry about him falling off the wagon anymore; he seems quite comfortable as a nondrinker now and ready for a new relationship. Since this book is five years old, I see I have some fun ahead catching up.
I recommend this one. Even if you haven't cared for Beau in the past, give it a try.