Until Proven Guilty (J. P. Beaumont Series #1) [NOOK Book]

Overview

The little girl was only five, much too young to die -- a lost treasure who should have been cherished, not murdered.She could have been J.P. Beaumont's kid, and the determined Seattle homicide detective won't rest until her killer pays dearly. But the hunt is leading Beaumont into a murky world of religious fanaticism, and toward a beautiful, perilous obsession all his own. And suddenly Beau himself is a target -- because faith can be dangerous...and love can kill.

...
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Until Proven Guilty (J. P. Beaumont Series #1)

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Overview

The little girl was only five, much too young to die -- a lost treasure who should have been cherished, not murdered.She could have been J.P. Beaumont's kid, and the determined Seattle homicide detective won't rest until her killer pays dearly. But the hunt is leading Beaumont into a murky world of religious fanaticism, and toward a beautiful, perilous obsession all his own. And suddenly Beau himself is a target -- because faith can be dangerous...and love can kill.

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Editorial Reviews

Orlando Sentinel
“Credible and entertaining.”
Washington Times
“J.A. Jance does not disappoint her fans.”
Entertainment Weekly
“Taut . . . entertaining.”
Dallas Morning News
“Suspenseful, action-packed.”
People
Praise for J.A. Jance:“Jance delivers a devilish page-turner.”
Booklist
“J. P. Beaumont is a star attraction.”
West Coast Review of Books
“Believable and intense.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061758225
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Series: J. P. Beaumont Novel , #1
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 4,991
  • File size: 484 KB

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. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle and Tucson.

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

Chapter One



She was probably a cute kid once, four maybe five years old. It was hard to tell that now. She was dead. The murder weapon was a pink Holly Hobbie gown. What little was left of it was still twisted around her neck. It wasn't pretty, but murder never is.

Her body had rolled thirty feet down a steep embankment from the roadway, tossed out like so much garbage. She was still tangled in a clump of blackberry bushes when we got there. As far as I could see, there was no sign of a struggle. It looked to me as though she had been dead several hours, but a final determination on that would have to wait for the experts.

My name is Beaumont. I've been around homicide for fifteen years, but that doesn't mean I didn't want to puke. I was careful not to think about my own kids right then. You can't afford to. If you do, you crack up.

My partner, Ron Peters, was the new man on the squad. He had only been up from burglary a couple of months. He was still at the stage where he was long on homicide theory and short on homicide practice. This was his first dead kid, and he wasn't taking it too well. He hadn't come to terms with the idea of a dead child as evidence. That takes time and experience. His face was a pasty shade of gray. I sent him up to the road to talk to the truck driver who had called 911, while I prowled the crime scene along with a small army of arriving officers.

After the pictures, after the measurements, it took the boys from the medical examiner's office a good little while to drag her loose from the blackberry bushes. If you've ever tried picking blackberries, you know it's easy enough to get in but hell on wheels toget back out. By the time they brought out the body bag, I was convinced we weren't going to find anything. We slipped and slid on the steep hillside, without finding so much as a gum wrapper or an old beer can.

I climbed back up and found to my relief that I had waited long enough. The swarm of killer bees that calls itself Seattle's press corps had disappeared with the coroner's wagon. I like reporters almost as much as I like killers, and the less I have to do with them, the better off I am.

Peters' color was a little better than it had been. He was talking with a man named Otis Walker, who was built like an Alaskan grizzly. In the old days people would have said Walker drove a sewage truck. These are the days of sanitary engineers and environmentalists, so Walker told us he drove a sludge truck for the Westside Treatment Center. That may sound like a high-class detox joint, but it isn't. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but if it looks like a sewage plant and smells like a sewage plant, that's what I call it.

However, Otis Walker had a heavy, square jaw and a nose that showed signs of more than one serious break. His biceps resembled halfgrown trees. I chose not to debate his job title. Despite his fearsome appearance, he was having a tough time talking to Peters. The words stuck in his throat, threatening to choke him.

"You gonna catch that SOB?" he asked me when I appeared over Peters' shoulder. I nodded. "I got a kid of my own at home, you know," he continued, "almost her age. Wears the same kind of gown. Shit!" He stopped and swiped at his face with the back of one meaty paw.

"That's our job," I told him. I wondered what kind of murder this was. The easiest ones to solve are the hardest ones to understand, the husbands and lovers and wives and parents who murder people they ought to cherish instead of kill. The random killers, the ones who pick out a victim at a football game or a grocery store, are easier to comprehend and harder to catch. That's the problem with homicide.

I turned to Peters. "You about done here?"

He nodded. "Pretty much."

Walker pulled himself together. "You guys through with me?"

"For right now," Peters told him, "but don't go out of town without letting us know where to find you. With all this timely-trial crap from the Supreme Court, we may need to get ahold of you in a hurry."

Walker looked dolefully at the blackberry clump halfway down the hill. He shook his head. "I wish I never saw her," he said. "I wish I'da just driven past and never knew she was down there, know what I mean?" He climbed back into the huge blue tractor-trailer and started it, waving halfheartedly as he eased past where Peters and I were standing.

"What now?" Peters asked.

"Not much doing here as far as I can tell. Let's go get something to eat and come back for another look later." The call had come in about eleven in the morning. It was now well after three. I'm one of those guys who has to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or I begin to foam at the mouth. I was getting close.

Peters gave me a reproachful look. "How can you think about food? Where are her parents? The medical examiner says she died sometime around nine or nine-thirty. Someone should have come looking for her by now."

"Somebody will come," I assured him. "With any kind of luck it will be after we finish eating." As it turned out, they found us before we even got out of the car in the parking lot at G.G.'s.

Until Proven Guilty. 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 3.5
( 921 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(253)

4 Star

(331)

3 Star

(214)

2 Star

(63)

1 Star

(60)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 925 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 8, 2011

    Must Read!

    This is the first Beaumont story and a great one at that! I have read all the Beaumont and Brady stories and Jance has created great characters and stories in books that can be read over and over again. I love this book because it's the story of Beaumont and Anne Corley. She remains a presence through all the Beaumont stories, so this book is a must read to really understand the back story that persists through the series. This book originally came out in the mid-80s, so I also loved the crime solving using the technology that existed back then. Reading the story now, it really makes you see how far technology has come. Overall, great read and one anyone should try!

    19 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2005

    Great Book

    I just got done reading this book and it was another I just could not put down.If you are into those cnt put a book down readers then this is the book for you.It is a suspense -romance-fiction all in one and I am most definatly going to check out other books by this GREAT author.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2002

    Great J. P. Beaumont story!!

    I'm a new reader of the J. A. Jance books, but so far, I've been very pleased. This book definitely kept you guessing and I definitely recommend it to those who like a puzzle!

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good read

    This is the first book I have read by this author. I had several preconceived notions based on the plot description, but was pleasantly surprised to find the none of them were correct. The plot moved fairly quickly with reasonable character development. I will likely read more by this author, both in this series and others.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 30, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Must Read

    this book is one of the best I have read. It's very suspenseful and hard to put down.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent

    A little slow at first, but halfway thru it picks up and is excellent.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    good book

    this book was full of surprising twist and turns

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2008

    Must read to continue series.

    This book was well written but wasn't as suspenseful as I thought it would have been. I do have to commend J.A. Jance on the plot, I was not expecting that twist. If you want to read the whole series for J.P. Beaumont you must start with this book since it is his debut.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    Highly Recommended

    Could not put this book down due to the mystery of each characher......I love good "who done it's"..good book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2012

    Great Read

    J.P. Beaumont is a likable character. Great mystery series!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2012

    Excellent read

    This the 15th book by this author I've read so obviously I would recommend it highly. ENJOY!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

    Recommend

    It was really good

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2012

    Interesting Concept.....

    Umm.........It started out interesting enough and I was really caught up in it; wanting to find out who the killer was and why. Then it just fell FLAT on it's face for me. The shift of focus on the romance and away from the mystery was disappointing to me. and the ending did not pay off AT ALL in my opinion. It felt like the writer lost her way and then tried to quickly tie it all in together at the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2012

    Until proven guilty

    Read her books in order -they make sense- these 20 books are the best books to read -she is the best author i have read - i recommand to read all of them !

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2012

    Must read

    Two thumbs up

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2012

    Love it

    This is a great book but i also like all the crime investigation stuff. If that's what you're into i strongly recomend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2012

    exciting story

    Ms. Jance's J.P. Beaumont mysteries start with this one and every one of them had me reading the last 8-10 pages as fast as I could, not believing what was happening. At the end my heart was pounding and I was stunned. Beau is a great character and i highly recommend all. Read in order for best understanding.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2011

    Guilty

    ...of buying a really bad book!

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2014

    more from this reviewer

     For a more in depth review, please visit my blog, Chorley Chron

     For a more in depth review, please visit my blog, Chorley Chronicals! 




    This was my first J.A. Jance novel, and I absolutely plan to continue the series. It's not often that I read books where the main character is a male, but it certainly was a welcomed change. I enjoyed the testosterone of the story and hearing about a love-type story coming from a male's perspective!




    J.P. Beaumont is one hell of a main character and I thoroughly enjoyed the plot of the book. It was not like any other plot that I've ever read, and it kept me interested and entertained, and certainly kept me guessing clear to the end, as I was holding my hand over my gaping open mouth in awe! Very well done Ms. Jance!!




    I am interested to see where the series goes for J.P. Beaumont, and although I haven't bumped the series up to the top of my favorite list, I will continue reading the series, at least for now! Overall, I enjoyed the twists and turns of the story, and was certainly shocked at the outcome, so I was quite impressed with the writing of J.A. Jance. I am glad that I stumbled upon this book at the library, because it was honestly just a chance meeting, one that I wouldn't regret for a moment!

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  • Posted December 13, 2013

    Very Enjoyable

    I enjoy her work and the series. I have read this series before and loved it. I am rereading it just because. I love the charachters.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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