Book of the Day

Proof of Life

Proof of Life

By J.A. Jance

William Morrrow
ISBN 978-006265741
Published September 5, 2017

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Proof of Life

Review by Frank Reed

 J.A. Jance’s most endearing and enduring character, J.P. Beaumont has been a favorite for over 30 years.  Fans have followed along as he grew from a hard-headed, hard-drinking, Seattle detective with bad knees and a fractured family life to a sober, retired septuagenarian with titanium knees, a new wife, and grown children that he can be very proud of.  He spends his time puttering around his new house and volunteering with the Cold-Case department, but he is a bit bored.  So, when a survivor from an old case comes to him asking for help – it doesn’t take much prodding to get him on the case. 

One of the benefits of getting older is that, hopefully, you know better.  Impulsive and compulsive behaviors are tempered and old prejudices can be set aside.  That is one of the characteristics of Beau that I really liked.  He was very flawed – and he still has flaws – but he is doing his best and that is good enough.  Throughout the novel, Beau is presented with situations that his younger self would have completely fouled up.  But now—with a little help from friends and a big dog he manages the land-mines in his life with grace and compassion an fortitude.  

Creating a character like J.P. Beaumont that can keep readers coming back for more through 22 installments is an achievement few authors can claim.  J.A. Jance is an especially talented story-teller.  Her ability to keep characters relevant and “real” even through the changing mores of the times is remarkable.  She peppered the novel with incidents where Beau had to react to situations that were certainly out of his comfort zone, and he did so with humility and compassion. Beau is one of those great characters that you feel you could sit down and have a really interesting conversation with.  

In the end, I think that Beau has proof of life after retirement and I hope there will be more to his story.