Taking the Fifth (J. P. Beaumont Series #4)

( 47 )

Overview

There are many bizarre and terrible ways to die. Seattle Homicide Detective J.P. Beaumont thought he had seen them all—until he saw this body, its wounds, and the murder weapon: an elegant woman's shoe, its stiletto heel gruesomely caked with blood. The evidence is shocking and unsettling, even for a man who prowls the shadows for a living, for it suggests that savagery is not the exclusive domain of the predatory male. And the scent of a stylish killer is pulling Beaumont into a world of drugs, corruption, and ...

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Taking the Fifth (J. P. Beaumont Series #4)

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Overview

There are many bizarre and terrible ways to die. Seattle Homicide Detective J.P. Beaumont thought he had seen them all—until he saw this body, its wounds, and the murder weapon: an elegant woman's shoe, its stiletto heel gruesomely caked with blood. The evidence is shocking and unsettling, even for a man who prowls the shadows for a living, for it suggests that savagery is not the exclusive domain of the predatory male. And the scent of a stylish killer is pulling Beaumont into a world of drugs, corruption, and murder to view close-up a cinematic dream at its most nightmarish . . . and lethal.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This 1987 title is one of the author's popular mysteries featuring Seattle homicide detective J.P. Beaumont. This outing finds Beamont pursuing the killer of a man done in by a stiletto heel. While the book is not out of print, this hardcover-only edition will save libraries from having to replace continually less sturdy paperbacks. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061958540
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/29/2009
  • Series: J. P. Beaumont Series , #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 159,140
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.90 (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

Taking the Fifth

Chapter One

The aid car was there, sitting next to the railroad track with its red light flashing. But for the guy on the ground, the guy lying on his stomach with his face in the cinders and dirt beside the iron rails, it was far too late for an aid car. He didn't need a medic.

What he needed was a medical examiner. And a homicide detective.

That's where I came in, Homicide Detective J.P. Beaumont, of Seattle P.D. I was there along with my pinch-hitting partner, Detective Allen (Big Al) Lindstrom. After working until midnight on our regular shift, we had been called back when the body was found. Now we were standing by, waiting for Dr. Howard Baker, King County's medical examiner, to arrive on the scene.

Doc Baker isn't a morning person, and this was very early morning. It was ten to five on a cool summer day, just after the longest day of the year. Although the horizon was hidden from view by the Alaskan Way Viaduct directly above us, a predawn glow was breaking up the darkness around us, and the waterfront odor, heavy with wet creosote, filled my nostrils.

We waited in a small, hushed group until Doc Baker's dark sedan came tearing through the parking lot and jerked to a stop less than two feet from where we stood. Nobody bothered to move out of the way.

"All right, all right," Baker grumbled, easing his more-than-ample frame out of the car and taking charge. "What have we got?"

"I'm betting on a drunk,"' Big Al told him. "Some wino, from up by the market who got himself clobbered by a passing freight train."

Al was referring to the Pike Place Market, which sat on the bluff directly behind us, a hundred orso steep stair steps above our heads.

The market is a popular Seattle tourist attraction during the day. At night, parts of it still maintain an upscale, touristy atmosphere. But there are other parts of it, dark underbelly parts, that do a Jekyll-and-Hyde routine as soon as the sun goes down. For instance, almost every night the blackberry-bordered parking lot beneath the market itself becomes a savage no-man's-land, a brutal setting for beatings, rapes, and muggings that is all too familiar to officers assigned to the David sector of Seattle P.D.

Doc Baker glowered at Al for a moment. The medical examiner's shock of white hair was uncombed and standing belligerently on end. "We'll see about that," he said, grunting, and rumbled away, dragging a train of technicians as well as a nervous young police photographer in his wake.

A squad car stopped nearby. Two uniformed officers got out and walked over to us. "Any luck finding out who reported it?" I asked.

They shook their heads in unison. "Not so far," one answered. "The call came in to 911 from a pay phone down by the ferry terminal about three-fifteen. Near as I can tell, that's the closest public phone at that hour of the night. The caller was a woman, but she didn't leave a name."

I nodded. "That figures."

Turning away, I looked back toward Doc Baker and his group of assistants. They were gathered in a small, closely knit clump around the body, which was sprawled within inches of the track itself. To one side yawned the entrance to the Burlington Northern Tunnel, a railroad tunnel that cuts through a rocky bluff and then burrows South and east under downtown Seattle, from Alaskan Way and Virginia to the King Street Station a mile away.

I felt the rumble of a train long before its warning whistle sounded or its bright headlight flashed from deep inside the tunnel. Doc Baker and his cohorts scurried out of the way.

The freight train emerged from the black tunnel like a slow-moving demon escaping the jaws of hell, with a heavy, evil-smelling cloud of smoke, laden with diesel fuel, boiling around it. Minutes after the caboose had disappeared from sight, the dense smoke still eddied around us like a thick gritty fog.

As the haze began to clear, Doc Baker charged back toward the body. The photographer, a young woman in her mid- to late-twenties, seemed to hang back, but Baker ordered her forward with an imperious wave of his hand.

Al Lindstrom favored the photographer with a bemused grin. "'She's a looker, all right," he commented, "but I bet this is the first time she's taken pictures of a real body. Understand she's a journalism major who just graduated from Evergreen."

Evergreen College is an exceedingly liberal liberal arts school in Olympia. "A journalism major!" I croaked. "What's she doing working for us?"

"I'm of the common law-enforcement opinion that anyone remotely connected with journalism can't be trusted. Even the good-looking ones. Especially the good-looking ones.

"Jobs must be pretty scarce in the newspaper racket these days," I added.

By then the young woman in question was squatted next to the body, pants pulled taut across the gentle curve of her backside, a detail that didn't escape any of her appreciative audience, except maybe Doc Baker. Attempting to follow the M.E.'s barked orders on angle and focus, she lost her balance and tipped to one side, scrambling to right herself in the railroad-track dirt and debris.

I didn't envy her. It's not so bad working with Dr. Howard Baker. He accords detectives a certain amount of grudging respect. But I think it would be hell on wheels working for him, especially as a lowly peon.

At last Baker got up off his hands and knees and strode over to us. Taking the Fifth. 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

Average Rating 4
( 47 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 1, 2012

    Highly recommended

    We always look for J.A. Jance's books either on line for our ipad or in stores while we were shopping for books. We think her stories are told very well and makes you want to read another. Get one and see!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2012

    Recomend

    Great, want it to be a longer read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

    Great read!

    I completed enjoyed this book! The J. P. Beaumont series is a great one for those who like mystery books! Great read from start to finish!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2011

    Awsome

    I am totally in love with this seris!! Everybook just keeps getting better. I bought the first book on sale for a dollar and have been hooked since. On to book 5!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2011

    8.99 for short story

    Ok but not worth the money

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 31, 2011

    Highly recommend

    Very good book. I could not put it down.

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  • Posted October 26, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    I have read Series #1 thru #8. I just love Detective Beaumont, his crazy thinking. There is only one Word, I wish had been left out of all the Series I have read, I just skip out it. Beside that I plan to read all 19 series, by J A jance about J.P Beaumont. Series # 20 will be out in 2012.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2011

    EXC READ

    GOOD AUTHOR, GOOD PLOT HOLDS YOUR INTEREST FROM FIRST CHAPTER TO THE END.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2011

    good book

    I enjoyed the book.

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  • Posted September 6, 2011

    Love this author!!!

    So good, can't put it down. Started with #1 of the JP Beaumont series on Free Friday, have read 5, I WILL read all 20!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2005

    brilliant!

    As always, Ms. Jance tells a great tale through her narrator, J.P. 'Beau' Beaumont. I am glad to see she is coming out with some of her earliest books in hardcover, as the older ones arent easy to find. I have read her since the beginning and she is among the best in mystery writers.

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    Posted November 2, 2008

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