Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Breach of Duty (J. P. Beaumont Series #14)

Breach of Duty (J. P. Beaumont Series #14)

4.1 30
by J. A. Jance

See All Formats & Editions

The end of the old woman's long life came suddenly. She died in her home, torched to death by a fiend with an unknown motive. While Seattle is undergoing unwelcome upscale change, it is strictly on the surface, as the Grim Reaper still lives in the shadows of the city. And it falls to Homicide Detective J.P. Beaumont and his new partner, Sue Danielson, to get to


The end of the old woman's long life came suddenly. She died in her home, torched to death by a fiend with an unknown motive. While Seattle is undergoing unwelcome upscale change, it is strictly on the surface, as the Grim Reaper still lives in the shadows of the city. And it falls to Homicide Detective J.P. Beaumont and his new partner, Sue Danielson, to get to the bottom of his latest handiwork. But the trail will lead to places and events that will leave two police officers and their cases shattered—and nothing will ever be the same again.

Editorial Reviews

Dallas Morning News
“Suspenseful, action-packed.”
The Oregonian (Portland)
“One of the country’s most popular mystery writers.”
“A dillusioned, cynical hero in the classic hard-boiled tradition.”
Entertainment Weekly
“Taut . . . entertaining.”
Orlando Sentinel
“Credible and entertaining.”
Praise for J.A. Jance:“Jance delivers a devilish page-turner.”
Washington Times
“J.A. Jance does not disappoint her fans.”
The Barnes & Noble Review
J. A. Jance has a very easygoing, intimate literary style, which always guarantees a good read — so much so, in fact, that it's easy to overlook how fresh and sharply observed her writing is. Too many writers think style is something that needs to call attention to itself. Jance, a wily pro, knows better. Her new J. P. Beaumont novel, about an all-too-human Seattle detective, shows just how much of a pro she is. There are two main plotlines here, one dealing with an elderly woman who died alone with $300,000 stashed in her garage; and the other with some kids who stumble upon the remains of a Native-American shaman. Beaumont, being the suspicious type, wonders if the kids know more than they're saying, especially given the hate crimes that have been going on. Jance gives us some bedazzling glimpses of shamanism among Native Americans and ties these cleverly into the story line. Nice plotlines. But what makes them even nicer, what raises them above the too-familiar, is the telling. Right before he died, John D. MacDonald did an interview in which he said that the writers he really admired were not the overnight successes, but rather those whose careers grew slowly and carefully. They learned something with each book, and just got better and better. Judy Jance started out as a very good teller of tales. She also started out with a knack for character and mood. She even took some risks with her hero. He wasn't a white-hatted fuzz complete with all the Dirty Harry mannerisms. He was a real human being. All these books later, Beaumont is even more of a human being because, asJance'stalent has grown, so has her risk-taking. She gives Beaumont the breadth and depth you usually associate with mainstream fiction. Beaumont's problems with his bosses, for instance. Nary a cliché in the whole subplot. Everybody's has bad bosses. You'll sympathize with Beaumont here. Jance makes it all completely believable. Her take on Seattle is similarly bold. She borrows the direct-address technique from John D. and Ed McBain. Beaumont gives you his opinion about life in this modern city, and he doesn't always shut up when you want him to. But instead of being irritating, his opinionating is enjoyable. For those of us in our 50s, the world is indeed becoming an unrecognizable place, and we've got to express our culture shock somewhere. Where better than in a mystery novel? This is Jance's most accomplished novel to date. The twin mysteries are gripping, and so is the daily life of J. P. Beaumont. Jance is well on her way to becoming a major bestseller, and this book will show you why. Ed Gorman's latest novels include Daughter of Darkness,Harlot's Moon, and Black River Falls, the latter of which "proves Gorman's mastery of the pure suspense novel," says Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. ABC-TV has optioned the novel as a movie. Gorman is also the editor of Mystery Scene Magazine, which Stephen King calls "indispensable" for mystery readers. Copyright, Disclaimer, and Community Standards Copyright 1997, 1998, 1999 barnesandnoble.com llc
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In his 14th outing (and first in three years), Seattle homicide detective J.P. Beaumont (Name Withheld, etc.) finds, along with his new partner, Sue Danielson, that seemingly ho-hum investigations grow in grim complexity even as personal distractions multiply. The pair has been assigned to investigate the arson death of Agnes Ferman, a woman disliked by just about everyone; the more than $300,000 found tucked away in her garage points to plenty of suspects. In Seattle's Seward Park, meanwhile, a group of costumed, role-playing teens have been using human bones in their games. Beau is warned that the bones may be those of Quinault shaman David Half Moon, and that anyone handling them is in grave danger. Beau scoffs, but when some of those associated with the investigation meet violent ends, he and Sue develop open minds. Adding texture to the doings are Sue's troubles centering around the sudden reappearance of her violent ex-husband, who, uncharacteristically, wants to take their sons on a dream trip to Disneyland. A coincidence--that most of the Seward Park suspects regularly congregate at one of Beau's haunts--stains the narrative, but otherwise Jance, as usual, relates a clean and tightly woven plot distinguished by authentic dialogue, honest emotions and characters readers will care about. (Feb.)
Library Journal
J.P. Beaumont, "Beau," is back from the hiatus imposed by creator Jance while she focused on her Joanna Brady series. In this 14th mystery, the sensitive Seattle police detective, a recovering alcoholic, juggles several mysteries, including the arson-induced death of an older woman and a series of crimes related to the stolen bones of a Native American shaman. Meanwhile, partner Sue Danielson is hounded by her ex-husband, and all three "cases" move to violent conclusions almost simultaneously. Readers with an aversion to the supernatural may be put off by the curse of the shaman, but series fans will surely want this. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/98.]

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
J. P. Beaumont Series , #14
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

There are people who like change. There are even a few who thrive on it. That's not me. If it were, I wouldn't have reupholstered my ten-year-old recliner, and I wouldn't resole my shoes until they're half-a-size smaller than they were to begin with. When I move into a house or, as in the present case, into a high-rise condo, I'd better like the way I arrange the furniture the first time because that's the way it's going to stay until it's time to move someplace else. In fact, my aversion to change probably also accounts for my Porsche 928. George Washington's axe, with two new handles and a new head, probably doesn't have much to do with our first president. And my replacement Porsche doesn't have a lot of connection to Anne Corley, the lady who gave me the original. Still it's easier to hang on to the one I have now out of sentimental reasons than it is to admit that I just don't care to make the switch to a different car.

In other words, I'm a great believer in the status quo. It also explains why, on the Monday morning after Beverly Piedmont and I drove home from Lake Chelan, I came back to work expecting things at Seattle PD to be just the way they had been. And to begin with, there was no outward sign of change. Sue Danielson and I walked into our cubicle to discover a yellow Post-it note attached to the monitor of the desktop computer we share when we're in the office as opposed to the laptops we're supposed to use in the field.

"See me," the note said. "My office. Nine sharp."

There was no signature. On the fifth floor of the Public Safety Building, no signature wasnecessary. Captain Lawrence Powell has never made any bones about hating electronics in general and computers in particular. His idea of surfing the net is to go around the Homicide Squad slapping Post-it notes on every computer in sight.

Sue sighed. "What have we done now?" she asked, glancing at her watch. At 8:02, there was no reason to hurry to Larry Powell's fishbowl of an office. If we were going to be chewed out for something, I'm of the opinion later is always better than earlier.

"Who knows?" I said. "But remember, whatever it was, I was out of town most of last week, so it can't be my fault."

"You'd be surprised," Sue returned.

Sitting down at the desk I removed the note and turned on the computer. In typical bureaucratic fashion, when the department finally decided to create a local-area network and go on-line, they bought computers from the lowest possible bidder. As a consequence, they take for damned ever to boot up. I tapped my fingers impatiently and stared at the cyberspace egg timer sitting interminably in the middle of an otherwise blank blue screen.

"Probably has something to do with that well done smoker who set herself on fire last Tuesday," I suggested.

"Oh," Sue said. "That's right. I forgot. You missed it."

I didn't like the sound of that "Oh." My antenna went up. "Missed what?" I asked.

"Marian Rockwell's preliminary report."

Marian Rockwell is one of the Seattle Fire Department's crack arson investigators. "Agnes Ferman's death is no longer being considered accidental," Sue continued. "Marian found residue of an accelerant on Agnes Ferman's bedding."

Smokers die in their beds all the time — in their beds or on their sofas. As far as I was concerned, arson seemed like a real stretch.

"What did she do, dump her fighter fluid while she was refilling her Zippo? Right. The next thing you're going to tell me is that Agnes Ferman is Elvis Presley's long-lost sister."

Sue scowled at me. "Don't pick a fight with me about it, Beau," she said. "I'm just telling you what Marian told me. You can believe it or not. It's no skin off my teeth either way. It's all there in the report I wrote up Friday morning."

Squabbling with my partner in the face of an imminent and possibly undeserved chewing out from the captain more or less took the blush-off the morning. Up till then, it had seemed like a fairly decent Monday.

"So what else did you do while I was gone?" I asked.

"On Ferman? Not much. I counted and inventoried all the money and..."

"Money? What Money?"

"The three hundred some-odd thousand in cash we found hidden in a refrigerator in Agnes Ferman's garage. I had planned on starting the neighborhood canvass and talking to her next of kin, but counting that much cash takes time. Agnes has a sister who lives up around Marysville and a brother — and sister-in-law in Everett. That's about all I know so far. I haven't had a chance to track any of them down. The same goes for neighbors. Marian interviewed some of them — the one who reported the fire — but so far nobody's really canvassed the neighborhood."

Cash or no cash, homicides come with a built-in timetable. A murder that isn't solved within forty-eight hours tends to not be solved at all. As with any rule, there are exceptions, but the chances are, the longer a case remains unsolved after that deadline, the worse the odds are that it will ever be cleared. Next-of-kin and neighbor interviews are where investigations usually start. The fact that no interviews had taken place so far wasn't good. Furthermore, since my whole purpose in life is to see that killers don't get away with murder, I wasn't the least bit pleased by the seemingly unnecessary delay.

"Great," I fumed. "That's just great. Our case goes stale while all those concerned stand around twiddling their thumbs."

Sue shot me an icy glare. "I don't suppose you watched the news when you were east of the mountains."

Breach of Duty. Copyright © by J. Jance. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

J. A. Jance is the New York Times bestselling author of the J. P. Beaumont series, the Joanna Brady series, the Ali Reynolds series, and five interrelated thrillers about the Walker family, as well as a volume of poetry. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.

Brief Biography

Bellevue, Washington
Date of Birth:
October 27, 1944
Place of Birth:
Watertown, South Dakota
B. A., University of Arizona, 1966; M. Ed. in Library Science, University of Arizona, 1970

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Breach of Duty (J. P. Beaumont Series #14) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Beau is back! And all I can say is, it is about time!! I am a huge Beaumont fan, from the original days of McNaughton's at the Dog House. J.A. Jance has proved once again why people snap up her books faster than U2 tickets! Her latest offering is a quick paced rollercoaster ride that leaves you breathless at the end. I am looking forward to the next installment, to see what JP Beaumont is up to next.
Lencrest More than 1 year ago
The 14th book in this series is not up to the previous standards of a good pace. It's pretty slow for the middle half of the book and quite predictable. All in all though if you like JP Beaumont you will want to stay with the series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've ever read. It keeps you in suspence the whole time and you don't want to put it down till it is finished. Well written and easy to follow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gramkins More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed this series from book 1. I hope the rest of the books are as good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
another good book in the series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sequim More than 1 year ago
All the books in this series are great reads! Can't wait for a new one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago