J. P. “Beau” Beaumont reflects on his early years as a detective with the Seattle Police Department in J. A. Jance’s novella, “Ring In the Dead.” The work, in e-book format, is among HarperCollins’ July 2013 releases. A paperback edition will follow in August.
In “Ring in the Dead” Beau receives a surprise visit from Anne Marie Nolan, the daughter of Beau’s first homicide division partner, Milton “Pickles” Gurkey. Anne Marie brings with her pages from a book her father was writing, detailing Pickles’ initial resentment at being saddled with the job of training a rookie like Beau.
Pickles’ account includes the nearly fatal heart attack he suffered in the parking lot of the Doghouse, a Seattle restaurant where he tried to prevent two men from walking out on their bill. The men fled the scene after killing a waitress, but it was Pickles who was accused of the crime after being found with the murder weapon.
The rest of the novella focuses on Beau’s efforts to clear Pickles of those charges. With Internal Affairs prohibiting him from officially following up on the case, Beau conducts his investigation under the radar with help from other police officers who also believe in Pickles’ innocence.
“Ring in the Dead” includes an excerpt from “Second Watch,” a September 2013 “J.P. Beaumont” novel. This book begins with Beau being hospitalized for knee replacement surgery.
As he emerges from anesthesia, Beau has a vision of a young blond-haired woman setting by his bedside. Identifying herself as Monica Wellington, the victim in the first homicide Beau and Pickles investigated together, she reproaches Beau for his failure to find her murderer. “You promised my mother you’d find out who did it,” she reminds him. “You never did.”
This scene is somewhat jarring after reading “Ring In the Dead” for reasons other than the obvious fact that Beau is conversing with a ghost. During her visit to Beau’s penthouse in “Ring In the Dead,” Ann Marie congratulated him for having solved the Wellington case. Therefore the novella seems to fall after “Second Watch” chronologically instead of before it.
According to its publisher, “Second Watch” will delve further into Beau’s early career, emphasizing events from his service in Vietnam. HarperCollins says, “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.”
J. A. Jance began her “J.P. Beaumont” books in 1985 with the publication of “Until Proven Guilty.” “Second Watch” will be the 21st novel in this series.
FTC Full Disclosure: A review copy of this book was provided by its publisher.
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