Minor in Possession (J. P. Beaumont Series #8)

Minor in Possession (J. P. Beaumont Series #8)

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by J. A. Jance

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An extended stay in an Arizona alcohol rehab ranch is not J.P. Beaumont's idea of a carefree vacation, especially with a teenage drug dealer as a roommate. It only gets worse when the punk is shot dead with Beaumont's own .38. Someone is trying to frame him for the murder of Joey Rothman, but that's not the end of Beau's problems. Because if he doesn't find the…  See more details below


An extended stay in an Arizona alcohol rehab ranch is not J.P. Beaumont's idea of a carefree vacation, especially with a teenage drug dealer as a roommate. It only gets worse when the punk is shot dead with Beaumont's own .38. Someone is trying to frame him for the murder of Joey Rothman, but that's not the end of Beau's problems. Because if he doesn't find the killer before the killer finds him, the recovering Seattle detective faces a fate far more unpleasant than cold turkey: either a long stretch in the State cooler. . .or an even longer one beneath the cold, cold ground.

Author Biography: J.A. Jance is the American Mystery Award-winning author of the popular J.P. Beaumont mystery series as well as eight mysteries featuring Joanna Brady. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington.

Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
“Taut . . . entertaining.”
Dallas Morning News
“Suspenseful, action-packed.”
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.”
West Coast Review of Books
“Believable And Intense”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fans will be disappointed by a lack of imagination in Jance's ( Until Proven Guilty ) latest mystery featuring J. P. Beaumont, hard-drinking detective. When he checks into an alcohol and drug rehabilitation center in rural Arizona, the bad-tempered Beaumont is paired with an annoying roommate, Joey Rothman, who sneaks out after curfew to deal drugs and seduce girls. After spying his own visiting teenaged daughter smooching with Joey, Beaumont waits up for him with fists bared, joined by the irate father of a young patient whom Joey has impregnated. When Joey's body is found hanging from a tree, apparently plugged dead with Beaumont's gun, the police peg Beaumont along with the pregnant girl's father as their prime suspects. The two men team up with Joey's mother to find the killer. Beaumont, throughout, spouts cliches: ``Her look of utter abandonment sliced through my heart like a hot knife.'' Despite a few dramatic mountainside car chases and fights with machine-gun-toting drug thugs, Jance's plot is plodding, disjointed and predictable. (Apr.)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
J. P. Beaumont Series, #8
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

Read an Excerpt

Minor in Possession

Chapter One

It was ten to eleven, almost time for lights-out. Mad as hell and far too wound up to sleep, I lay in the October chilled darkness of my authentically rustic cabin listening to a new squall of rain drum a wild tattoo on the noisy tin roof. Sunny Arizona my ass!

Sunny Arizona. That's what my attorney, Ralph Ames, had told me when he was extolling the virtues of Ironwood Ranch, a posh drug and alcohol rehab establishment that had risen from the ashes of a failed dude ranch outside a small, god-forsaken town called Wickenburg in the wilds of central Arizona.

I, Detective J.P. Beaumont, a Washington boy born and bred, had never set foot in the state of Arizona until the day I came to Ironwood Ranch. Driving north from Phoenix's urban sprawl in my rented Grand AM and passing through a forest of grotesque three-and five-armed cactus, I felt like the Alaska Airlines MD-80 had taken a wrong turn and dumped me on some alien planet. I was overwhelmed as much by the empty desolation of the desert as by my reason for being there. And that was before I got a look at Ironwood Ranch itself, before it had rained for three solid days and nights, and before I had met my roommate—Joseph (Joey) Rothman. The little shit.

I was lying there on the bed, leaning against my lumpy wagon-wheel-motif headboard, and waiting for Joey to come home for the night so I could pin his ears to the back of his head. My whole body ached to get with the program.

Roommate selection in rehab places is pretty much like that in jails or families—you're stuck with what ever you get for the duration. The luck of the draw had deposited me in adrafty cabin along with an arrogant nineteen-year-old punk whose attorney had plea-bargained a drunk-driving offense down to a minor-in-possession charge. According to the plea agreement, Rothman's MIP would be worked off by a six-week stay at Ironwood Ranch with the entire hefty fee payable by the carrier of Joey's daddy's health insurance.

I didn't know any of that in the beginning. What I will say is that our introductory conversation didn't exactly get us off to a flying start. Fresh out of the detox wing and still relatively shaky, I was busy unpacking my lone suitcase and trying to settle in when a young man bounded into the cabin, shedding a wet bathing suit as he went and leaving it in a puddle in the middle of the worn hardwood floor. (Ironwood Ranch's pool, stables, tennis courts, and shuffleboard courts are all holdovers from the old golden days of dude ranching, while the five-man hot tub is an upscale concession calculated to keep the place current with prevailing social practices.

"I'm your roommate, Joseph Rothman," he announced casually. "Joey for short." He stood in the middle of the room, pulling on first a pair of boxer shorts and then a heavy terry-cloth robe. "You must be the cop," he added, disappearing into the bathroom. His parting remark left me with a sudden lurch in my gut regarding Ironwood Ranch's ongoing commitment to patient confidentiality.

"That's right" I replied.

A moment later he reappeared carrying a comb—my tapered barber comb. I regarded his presuming to use my property as a fundamental breach of roommate etiquette. It also violated one of my mother's fundamental edicts about never sharing combs or brushes with anybody. When I reached out to take it from him, he blithely handed it over, feigning surprise, as though he had picked it up by accident and failed to notice that it wasn't his.

"Sorry about that," he said. "I musta left mine up in the dressing room. What's your name?"

"Beaumont," I answered. "J. P. Beaumont. People call me Beau."

Joseph Rothman was a little less than six feet tall, with the tanned good looks and sun-bleached blond hair of a well-heeled California surfer. Expansive shoulders and a muscled chest topped the narrow waist and hips of a dedicated body builder. My first impression was that he was probably in his mid twenties Later I was shocked to discover that he was still one month shy of his twentieth birthday.

"Where from?" he asked, settling easily onto one of the two monkishly narrow beds that stood against opposite walls. The action spared me having to ask him which bed was mine.

The frankly appraising look he turned on me was equal parts derision and curiosity, as though I were some kind of laughable old relic that had turned up on a dusty museum shelf. Nothing in either his question or his attitude inspired me to volunteer any extra information.

"Seattle," I said tersely.

The grunted one-word answer kept a lid on a growing urge to explain that I was a homicide cop who had been busting punks like him since well before he was born. Instead, I concentrated all my attention on sorting a tangle of hastily packed socks into matching pairs. Almost. I ended up with two extras, one blue and one black, that didn't match anything.

Joey Rothman leaned against the wall, still watching me and making me painfully aware of the slight but uncontrollable trembling in my hands. The detox nurse had told me the shakes might last for several more days. I held onto the edge of the drawer, hoping the involuntary quiver wasn't too noticeable.

"What are you in for, booze or drugs?" he asked.

"Booze," I answered carefully. "What about you?"

Joey Rothman gave me an insolent, half-assed grin—a braggart's grin. "Me," he said. "Man, I do it all."

Right that minute, I could cheerfully have murdered Ralph Ames for convincing me to check into Ironwood Ranch in the first place. He was the one who had forced me to take my doctor's diagnosis of liver damage seriously.

But at that precise moment, with Joey Rothman sitting there on the edge of his bed smirking at me, for two lousy cents I would have shit-canned the whole idea, signed myself right back out, gotten into that little rented Grand AM down in the parking lot, and driven off into the sunset. Unfortunately, I'm a stubborn man. I pride myself in never starting some thing unless I plan to finish it. No matter what. Including having to put up with nosy punk kids.

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

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Minor in Possession 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Lencrest More than 1 year ago
Although a bit slower than Jance's previous JP Beaumont novels, it's a good read in the series.
kmortland More than 1 year ago
Jance has done it again. A series of all too believable and touching characters with human foibles in a real life situation, in this case, detox. Coming back after a long absence, reading about Beaumont's adventures is like meeting an "old friend" again. Learn a bit about the process of alcoholism/substance abuse treatment, as you follow Beaumont through the twists and turns of a murder mystery. Jance would seem to have a firm grasp of the process of police investigations and the culture surrounding detox treatment. Combining that with a comfortable and humorous writing style, makes for a novel that is hard to put done.
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Momina1 More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed each of these books very much! I'm already half way thru the next one! I feel like Beau is a friend,want to see what's happening to him next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
loy55 More than 1 year ago
It was nice to go with Beau to Arizona and a new phase in his life though the visit had all kinds of unexpected happenings, resulting in another case to solve. By now I feel that if Beau walked up to me somewhere I would recognize him. I have gotten to know all his friends and associates as well. I would LUV to see a series of television movies based on the J.A. Jance, J.P. Beaumont books!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another suspense mystry in the J. Beaumont series. Difficult to figure "who done it". At the end, it all fits being its a mystry novel. Have a large numer of Jance's book in my nook library and not one of them has been a disappointment.
B-Ann More than 1 year ago
I'm prejudiced because I like anything by J.A. Jance. Theis was a great read!
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terpOK More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book. When I read the synopsis I wasn't sure I wanted to read it but I was 7 books into the series. I decided to go ahead and although parts I didn't care for I ended up enjoying it.
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baltimorenfl-fan More than 1 year ago
I love the way Jance holds the suspense until the last few chapters. Then when you get there, it seems that it not what or who you think did the deed. I recommend the whole series.