J.A. Jance’s two most popular characters, Joanna Brady and J.P. “Beau” Beaumont, come together to solve a mysterious death case in Partner in Crime. The death of Rochelle Baxter happens on Sheriff Brady’s Arizona turf. She approaches the case as any other under her jurisdiction. Tracking down the next of kin for notification of Rochelle’s death ends up connecting Sheriff Brady with the Washington State Attorney General’s office in Seattle. J.P. Beaumont, recently promoted, is the new guy in the Seattle office. With his known independent style of working, he’s elected to go to Arizona to work with the Brady. If the death is anything other than natural causes, the Attorney General’s office has a problem.
Partner in Crime is not only a meeting of two great characters, but it also holds onto their viewpoints. As with the past nine Joanna Brady novels, this maintains the third person viewpoint for Sheriff Brady’s story. Similarly, as with the past fifteen J.P. Beaumont books, this retains the first person voice for Beaumont’s side of the action.
Brady follows procedure with her excellent though small staff. The pressure of working one homicide is stressful on everyone. When a second murder is discovered and tied to the first, everyone wonders when they will get a good night’s sleep again. Brady and Beaumont bristle when they first meet. Brady doesn’t want someone assessing her detective skills; Beaumont wants in on the action and doesn’t enjoy being kept in the dark. Each admires the others’ style and intelligence, and once they do start partnering on the case they bond quickly.
The storylines are skillfully intertwined. Having the story told in two viewpoints adds to the tension and pulls the reader into the action. As suspects, clues and autopsy results are revealed the reader
wonders who did it and why. Mystery readers will enjoy not being able to solve the puzzle until the end. Fans of J.A. Jance will be hoping for future collaborations between these two characters.
Partner in Crime is fun to read, if not for the interaction of these two very independent law enforcement officers, then for the Arizona setting and storylines behind the murder of a witness in the witness protection program. Fans of Sheriff Joanna Brady or J.P. Beaumont, or both, will enjoy the coming together of these two beloved characters. This is also a good introduction for readers not familiar with J.A. Jance; although knowing the backstory of these two main characters adds value, readers will not lose any enjoyment by lacking their history.