Reviewing: "Fire And Ice: A Beaumont And Brady Novel" by J. A. Jance
For J. P. Beaumont of the Washington State Attorney General’s Special Homicide Investigation Team, the latest body might be the break in the case they have needed. Up until now the charred remains of several young Hispanic women have been missing their teeth making identification impossible. The latest body found in the melting snow near Ellensburg matches the other cases except for the fact that this body has her teeth. The fact that she still has them gives J. P. Beaumont and the team a way of identifying her and working the case.
Sheriff Joanna Brady of Cochise County, Arizona has a puzzling case of her own at a local all terrain vehicle campground. The caretaker is dead in what at first appears to have been an accident, but was actually murder. With his dog as the only witness and nearly worthless surveillance equipment, the case isn’t going to go any where fast. That is until J. P. Beaumont comes back to Cochise County pursing leads in his case, the DEA gets involved, and human nature in the form of vengeance rears its ugly head, among other things.
Shifting in viewpoint between J. P. Beaumont, Joanna Brady, and others, the novel works its way to a satisfying conclusion. While that works, what doesn’t work so well for the reader is the fact that frequently the povs of Sheriff Brady and Investigator Beaumont are placed together in the same chapter with little used to mark the differences between them. Gone are the days found in the early Beaumont books of his very own distinctive style. As the read makes clear, these days the main style or voice is with the Brady character with Beaumont coming across more and more like Brady.
Despite the quibble, overall the read is a good one. J. A. Jance seems to be following the herd of highly successful authors who have forced two of their signature characters together in the same novel. Ostensibly, it is a marketing ploy that is used to introduce readers to characters they nay not have read before. The results are often mixed from a reader perspective but in this case it seems to have worked fairly well.
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