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Failure to Appear (J. P. Beaumont Series #11)

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Overview

"Lean forward, grab on, and ride for adventure." So says Library Journal of J. A. Jance's last J. P. Beaumont mystery, Without Due Process. Now Jance's veteran police sleuth is back in Failure to Appear, tracking an insanely clever killer through the well-heeled world of actors, stage folk, and arts patrons. Beaumont doesn't exactly have a simple life, solving murders as one of the Rainy City's finest, staying sober one day at a time, and dealing with his frustrating new girlfriend. But when his eighteen-year-old daughter, Kelly, runs away to ...
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Failure to Appear (J. P. Beaumont Series #11)

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Overview

"Lean forward, grab on, and ride for adventure." So says Library Journal of J. A. Jance's last J. P. Beaumont mystery, Without Due Process. Now Jance's veteran police sleuth is back in Failure to Appear, tracking an insanely clever killer through the well-heeled world of actors, stage folk, and arts patrons. Beaumont doesn't exactly have a simple life, solving murders as one of the Rainy City's finest, staying sober one day at a time, and dealing with his frustrating new girlfriend. But when his eighteen-year-old daughter, Kelly, runs away to join a theatrical commune and announces her plans to marry a krumhorn-playing thespian, Beau hits the wall. He has no choice but to follow her south to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, thereby landing himself a part in a modern-day Greek tragedy. Murder enters stage left. One of Beau's unsavory acquaintances turns up very messily dead, and the Festival's beloved Juliet, Tanya Dunseth, is the star suspect. Trying to please a headstrong daughter, a difficult girlfriend, and an implacable exwife, Beau agrees to do what he can to clear the actress of the charge. Then a second corpse makes an appearance soon after the mysterious arrival of a kiddie porn tape featuring a very young Tanya in the leading role. Way off his beat, and faced with a territorial local cop who doesn't appreciate out-of-town help, Beau races against time to sort through the tangled plot lines before the final act of this deadly revenge play comes to life. With fascinating characters and tight plotting, Jance tells the story in the unflappable Beaumont style that her readers love and have come to expect. In Failure to Appear, she takes us to new turns in Beau's life and new heights of storytelling magic.

When J.P. Beaumont's teenaged daughter runs away, her tracks lead the sober-but-struggling sleuth to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. And, in addition to his very headstrong offspring, Beau find something else backstage: a case of cold-blooded murder.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Child pornography and revenge figure into this well-crafted novel featuring detective J.P. Beaumont. (Sept.)
Emily Melton
Seattle sleuth J. P. ("Beau") Beaumont has reassembled his life after a painful divorce, the tragic death of his second wife, and a bout with alcoholism. All that's left to do is locate his runaway daughter Kelly, whom he tracks down at the Oregon Shakespearean Festival in Ashland. But Beau is in for a shock--not only is Kelly a bride to be, she's also quite pregnant. Then an old acquaintance of Beau's is brutally murdered after turning up at the festival, and there seems to be a definite connection between his death and a kiddie porn videotape featuring the festival's biggest star. Before the trouble ends, there's another murder, Kelly is seriously injured in a fall, and the house where the festival actors are staying blows up. Jance has written a well-crafted, entertaining story featuring a nice blend of humor and tragedy and some pithy comments on the ironies of life. But it's hero J. P. Beaumont--tough, principled, kindhearted, and well acquainted with the vagaries of human nature--who is the star attraction.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380758395
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/1994
  • Series: J. P. Beaumont Series , #11
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

J. A. Jance

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 four 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.

Biography

Considering J. A. Jance's now impressive career -- which includes two massively popular mystery series and status as a New York Times bestseller -- it may be difficult to believe that she was initially strongly discouraged from literary pursuits. A chauvinistic creative writing professor advised her to seek out a more "ladylike" job, such as nurse or schoolteacher. Moreover, her alcoholic husband (a failed Faulkner wannabe) assured her there was room in the family for only one writer, and he was it. Determined to make her doomed marriage work, Jance put her writing on the back burner. But while her husband slept, she penned the visceral poems that would eventually be collected in After the Fire.

Jance next chose to use her hard times in a more unlikely manner. Encouraged by an editor to try writing fiction after a failed attempt at a true-crime book, she created J. P. Beaumont, a homicide detective with a taste for booze. Beaumont's drinking problem was clearly linked to Jance's dreadful experiences with her first husband; but, as she explains it: "Beaumont was smart enough to sober up, once the problem was brought to his attention. My husband, on the other hand, died of chronic alcoholism at age 42." So, from misfortune grew one of the most popular characters in modern mystery fiction. Beaumont debuted in 1985's Until Proven Guilty -- and, after years of postponing her writing career, Jance was on her way.

As a sort of light flipside to the dark Beaumont, Jance created her second series in 1991. Inspired by the writer's happier role as a mom, plucky small-town sheriff Joanna Brady was introduced in Desert Heat and struck an immediate chord with readers. In 2005, Jance added a third story sequence to her repertoire with Edge of Evil, featuring Ali Reynolds, a former TV reporter-turned-professional blogger.

And so, the adventures continue! A career such as Jance's would be extraordinary under any circumstances, but considering the obstacles she overcame to become a bestselling, critically acclaimed novelist, her tale is all the more compelling. As she explains it: "One of the wonderful things about being a writer is that everything -- even the bad stuff -- is usable."

Good To Know

Geographically speaking, Jance is equal parts J. P. Beaumont and Joanna Brady. She splits her time between Beaumont's big-city home of Seattle and Brady's desert residence of Arizona.

Before her writing career become truly lucrative, Jance made little more than "fun money" off her books, and on her web site, she wryly recalls "the Improbable Cause trip to Walt Disney World; the Minor in Possession memorial powder room; the Payment in Kind memorial hot tub."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Judith Ann Jance
    2. Hometown:
      Bellevue, Washington
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 27, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Watertown, South Dakota
    1. Education:
      B. A., University of Arizona, 1966; M. Ed. in Library Science, University of Arizona, 1970
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Failure to Appear

Chapter One

It had started only three days earlier, although now that seemed a lifetime ago. It began with. a ringing telephone and with me cursing the noisy instrument that I regard as technology's worst blight on the human race. Telephones follow me everywhere, Even in my car. There is no escape.

The blaring phone jarred me to my senses sometime around seven o'clock on a drizzly Saturday morning toward the end of June. Friday night had been a late one. I wasn't nearly ready to. rise and shine, but homicide cops at Seattle P.D. are used to unscheduled, early-morning wake-up calls.,

Around what locals call the Emerald City, people tend to knock each other off in the middle. of the night or in the wee small hours of the morning, especially right after the bars, close on weekends. If I the work load -- gets too heavy for the regular night-duty squad to handle, they start calling for reinforcements. Being off-duty doesn't, mean you're home free. When your name comes up on the rotation, you're called and you go in, regardless of what you may or may not have been doing the night before. Having a personal life is no excuse.

I figured my early morning phone call meant it had been another one of those busy Saturday-night-special Friday nights around Seattle P.D.

"Beaumont here," I grumbled into the phone, wishing we could somehow convince the city's crooks -- the gangs, the thugs, and the variously affiliated, drug dealers -- to use each other for target practice during regular day time eight-hour shifts. "What up?"

"This is Dave," an unfamiliar male voice replied. "You know, David Livingston?"

I was still muffledin a warm, sleep-induced cocoon, and this joker had me stumped. I could have sworn, I didn't know anyone in the whole wide world by the name of David Livingston. The telephone must have passed along my blank silence, because a moment later good ol'Dave gave me a helpful hint.

"You may not remember, but we met once, a while ago down in Wickenburg, Arizona. I don't think we were ever properly introduced."

Jump-started now, the old brain finally fired and caught hold. Of course! That Dave Livingston. My ex-wife's second husband. No wonder I didn't recognize him!

I sat up a little straighter in bed. Of all people, what did Dave Livingston think he was doing calling me up? So early on an otherwise peaceful Saturday morning that I had not yet tasted a single sip of coffee, here was Dave, already up and about and letting his fingers do the walking.

In a universe full of complicated matrimonial merry-go-rounds, second husbands don't often reach out and touch first husbands. By telephone, that is. It isn't done. Not unless it's a dire emergency a matter of life or death or missing child support. We're all reasonable adults, but there is a limit.,

Now, though, I heard Dave,talking to me as calmly as if conversations between us were an everyday occurrence. Since child support has never. been a source of controversy, my mind leaped instantly to all the other worst possible conclusions.

"Dave,"I croaked. "'What is it? Karen?"

He paused a moment and cleared his throat. "No, not Karen.

"The kids then?"

I said "kids" aloud, but even as I said the word, I knew it was a lie. I have fathered two offspring -- Scott and Kelly. Scott, my firstborn, is as steady and responsible a kid as any parent, good or otherwise, has any right to hope for or expect. He's never given any of us -- Dave Livingston included -- a moment's trouble.

Kelly is something else, our collective problem child -- a wildhaired, pain-in-the-ass-type kid who started wearing makeup and testing limits at the tender age of eleven and has been off the charts ever since. She had run away from her stepfather's home in Cucamonga, California,

some four months earlier, disappearing one week shy of her eighteenth birthday and several months short of high school graduation. Once Karen finally saw fit to tell me what was going on, I had hired an L.A.based private investigator to look into, Kelly's disappearance.All he had sent me so far was an outrageous bill.

"Kelly then," I added. "Did you find her?"

"Sort of,"Dave Livingston allowed gloomily. "More or less."

For a supposedly hotshot accountant, Dave was being damnably nonspecific. Meanwhile, my homicide cop's mentality was working overtime, filling in the most gruesome kinds of missing person details the dry ravines where unsuspecting people sometimes stumble over vulture scattered human remains. Memories of long-overlooked and rotting corpses -loomed in my mind's eye. Unfortunately, cops have chillingly realistic imaginations. We've seen it all. More than once too often.

"Tell me then, for God's sake!" I urged. " 'What

the hell do you mean, 'more or less'?, Is she alive or not? And if she is alive, is she all right?"

"I haven't talked to her yet," Dave put, in quickly. "Not in person; neither has Karen. As a matter of fact, Karen knows nothing about all this. She was so bent out of shape when Kelly ran away that I didn't exactly tell her I was hiring, a detective."

Great minds think a like. So Dave and I had both hired private eyes. His had gotten results. I'd have to fire mine.

"So where is she?" I prompted. " Is she okay?"

" In a little town, in southern Oregon. A place called Ashland. Ever heard of it?"

I had heard of itas a matter of fact. Months earlier-the town of Ashland had been nothing more than a green-and-white freeway exit on I-5, the last stop in Oregon before ... Failure to Appear. Copyright © by J. Jance. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2012

    Another good'n

    Great installment to the series. Interesting twists and turns and surprises. Out of left field but great ending, gripping plot that kept me glued. Many throwbacks that a new reader to the series will not fully understand or appreciate as much, so I only recommend this for the devoted Beaumont fan. Get it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2014

    JAJance

    Does it again. I love her books

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  • Posted January 16, 2012

    If you enjoy JP Beaumont, you will not be disappointed

    up to the usual excellent standard of storyline

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