First, I have to admit that I've been a Jance fan for many years. I love her Sheriff Joanna Brady series but I'm just as much a fan of J. P. Beaumont, her Seattle homicide detective. Earlier this year I read her novella about Beau called Ring in the Dead and if you also read it, you have a kind of head start on characters and locations in Second Watch. Reading that one isn't necessary before reading this one though.
The novella ended with Beau's wife, Mel Soames, driving him to the hospital to have a double knee replacement. Second Watch begins there. Since I was in the hospital part of the time I was reading this book, the part where he is gradually awakening from anesthesia and he's in that weird place where you just don't know for sure what's real and what isn't, I was laughing in empathy. During the drug-induced dreams post-op Beau is visited by two "ghosts" from his past, both of which send him on an investigation.
The first is the victim in his first murder case as a homicide detective, and while we're at it, that promotion was so sudden as to be positively hinky. The investigation is intense and pulls skeletons out of many closets.
The second visitor was his lieutenant in Vietnam. The guy had loaned him a paperback copy of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, insisting he read it. Later the book saved his life when schrapnel dug into the book rather than his chest. Suddenly Beau is determined to learn more about the guy and the girl Lennie D. had been engaged to.
All of the characters are, as usual for Jance, excellent but one will have you laughing out loud. Since the doctor won't let Beau go home alone and Mel is out of town on an important case, he hires a nurse his doorman knows. She is one of those old-fashioned nurses who gives you your marching orders and you had better behave, or else. It doesn't take Beau long to learn that if he wants to live, he should shut up and do what she says. You will absolutely love her.
Please read the afterword. It tells us one reason the characters in this one are obviously created from the heart. Hint: the lieutenant was from Bisbee where Jance grew up.
Recommended highly. Please do read this book. As they say, you'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll have a wonderful time. This is one you'll sigh and hold to your heart as you turn the last page.
Source: publisher via Partners in Crime Book Tours