Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Review of "Fire and Ice" by J.A. Jance




In this book the law enforcement officials in J.A. Jance's two mystery series - Arizona Sheriff Joanna Brady and Seattle homicide investigator J.P. Beaumont (Beau) - work together (via phone) to solve some baffling crimes.

As the story opens six dead women have been found in the Seattle area. Each body is wrapped in a tarp and burned up, and all but one has no teeth and no identification. Dental records identify the last body as Marina Aquirre, a woman who was reported missing by her fiance several months before. However Marina was using a false name and is really Marcella Andramade, a woman who has connections to  Arizona.

So Beau calls Joanna to ask for assistance. This is a bit awkward because when Beau and Joanna met on a previous case sparks flew event though this was inappropriate. However both Joanna and Beau quickly moved past this and each is now happily married - so no real problem there. In addition to assisting with the Seattle homicide investigation Joanna and her deputies also have two local cases: the brutal murder of an employee at an ATV park and a criminally neglectful nursing home for Alzheimer's patients.

While working these cases Joanna is also "best man" at her former deputy's wedding which involves partying, dressing well, and attending the nuptials. These activities - along with Joanna's home life with her husband, teenage daughter, and new toddler - helps round out her character. Beau, who inherited wealth, is contentedly working with his new wife (who is also his detective partner), driving expensive cars, and living well. So not much angst involving either Beau or Joanna in this story.

The ATV park murder in Arizona and the Seattle homicides kind of braid together and even come to involve the family of Joanna's deputy, Jaime Carbajal. Eventually, there's a rather dramatic resolution to some of the homicide cases and steps are taken to deal with the owners of the nursing home. The problem is that the reasons/outcomes for some of the criminal activity is murky (to me, at least) and I was unsatisfied at the end of the book.

Though it's pleasant to visit with familiar, well-liked characters like Joanna and Beau this is a mystery novel and on that score it falls short. Just an okay book.


Rating: 3 stars

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