Title: Second Watch
Author: J. A. Jance
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Genres: Mystery, Suspense
From the publisher—
Getting old is hell. J. P. Beaumont is finally taking some time off to have knee-replacement surgery. But instead of taking his mind off work, the operation plunges him into one of the most perplexing and mind-blowing mysteries he’s ever faced.
A series of dreams takes him back to his early days on the force with the Seattle PD, and then even earlier, to his days in Vietnam, reminding him of people and events he hasn’t thought about in years. Are they just drug-induced hallucinations? Beaumont isn’t so sure. When tugging on those threads from long ago leads to present-day murders, Beau’s suspicions are confirmed. Some bodies from the second watch just won’t stay buried.
A masterful demonstration of J. A. Jance’s superb craftsmanship, Second Watch is a thought-provoking novel that is also a poignant look at one of the most painful and divisive moments in our history—Vietnam—and a reminder of the staggering cost of war and the debts we owe to those who served then . . . and those who do now.
Our favorite authors are often those who seldom, or never, let us down. Once again, J. A. Jance has not let me down.
One of the appealing things about J. P. Beaumont is that we’ve come to know him so well over the course of twenty books and, now, in the twenty-first, we get an even more in-depth look at his past and, in the end, understand him as never before. Those of us who lived through the Vietnam era can feel a true connection and re-live those times as well as Beau’s earlier days on the Seattle PD Homicide Squad.
Undergoing knee surgery means taking some pretty heavy-duty drugs and the resulting dreams (hallucinations?) take Beau back to those days when he did his first investigation, into the death of a girl named Monica. That case is still unsolved after all these years and the memories compel Beau to take a fresh look at the old case with new technology. While he’s delving in to this old mystery, another old memory comes to the surface, that of his Army friend, Lennie (Doug) Davis, who died in Vietnam. With a little help from Sheriff Joanna Brady, Beau decides to look up Doug’s’s fiancee, Bonnie, to let her know what he meant to Beau and finds more than he ever could have foreseen.
All these years later, there is still a lot of emotion involved with the subject of Vietnam and some of the wounds haven’t yet really healed—witness the uproar during John Kerry’s presidential campaign. I lost friends there as did so many of us from that period and Ms. Jance clearly has strong feelings about it, too. I really appreciate the way she focuses on the people and how the war affected them rather than the politics. Her approach brings a humanity to a still painful time. That, coupled with an absorbing and dangerous investigation into a very cold case, puts this entry in the J. P. Beaumont series at the top of the list for me.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, September 2013.
About the Author
A voracious reader, J. A. Jance knew she wanted to be a writer from the moment she read her first Wizard of Oz book in second grade. Always drawn to mysteries, from Nancy Drew right through John D. McDonald’s Travis Magee series, it was only natural that when she tried her hand at writing her first book, it would be a mystery as well. J. A. Jance went on to become the New York Times bestselling author of the J. P. Beaumont series, the Joanna Brady series, three interrelated thrillers featuring the Walker family, and Edge of Evil. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.
Catch Up With the Author:
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