Second Watch (J. P. Beaumont Novels) by J.A. Jance

Second Watch Reviewed by Allen Hott

This lady can write (and has been doing so for a number of years and many books) and for some reason I have missed out on her endeavors. But no longer! Second Watch is a very intriguing story that moves along so fast that the reader doesn’t realize how quickly he has moved through it. Jance uses a lot of dialogue and narrator thought processes which are spelled out to move the story along.

J.P. Beaumont (Beau as he has been known for a long time) has just had his knees replaced and he is pretty much confined through much of the story. Strangely enough the main part of the storyline comes about because of dreams that he visualizes while under drugs for his surgery and the immediate time right after it.

He pictures a young girl standing by his bedside and can’t figure out who she is immediately. But she appears only to him, no one else sees her. On her second or third visit she talks to him and tells him she is Monica Wellington. She says that he promised her mother that he would find out who killed her and put her in a partially filled grease barrel.

Beau then remembers fully what happened many years ago when he was on police patrol duty with his partner, Rory MacPherson. They were on Second Watch on a Sunday afternoon when their dispatcher told them to go to Magnolia Bluff where two young boys reported finding a dead person in an overturned barrel. On responding they found out it was true so they called in the ME and detectives to take over the scene and the crime.

Mac and Beau finished their shift and after a weekend and off days, Beau then headed back to work. But when he arrived he was told to report to the detective squad on the fifth floor and also Mac was not around. He quickly found out that he had suddenly been promoted to detective and Mac was promoted to Motorcycle patrol. Both jobs had been wanted but were not expected for some time so it was quite a shock.

And now years later Beau wonders if his promotion had something to do with the department dropping the unsolved murder case. And his wonder grows and grows because the more he and his wife (Mel, who is also an investigator) begin to dig into the surroundings and happenings of this very old cold case the more strange things begin to happen.

It is extremely hard for them to do a lot of digging because he is pretty well hobbled with his knee(s) replacement and Mel is also busy on another case which has her out of town for a period of time.

Jance pulls it all together with not only one but two very well plotted endings. They are not contradictory but actually quite compatible. Not exactly what was expected but a great conclusion? A really well written book and easy to read throughout.

There is also an addendum in which Jance explains all about how and why she wrote this particular book. It turns out that Second Watch was somewhat of a factual happening that she deftly turned into fiction. Great story telling!

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