Friday, August 19, 2011

A Review of "Until Proven Guilty" [54]

Until Proven Guilty by J.A.Jance
Harper, ISBN 978-00619519
December 29, 2009,  336 Pages

"The little girl was a treasure who should have been cherished, not murdered. She was only five-too young to die-and Homicide Detective J.P. Beaumont of the Seattle Police Department isn′t going to rest until her killer pays dearly. But Beaumont′s own obsessions and demons could prove dangerous companions in a murky world of blind faith and religious fanaticism. And he is about to find out that he himself is the target of a twisted passion . . . and a love that can kill."

Awhile ago, I read the most recent book, the 20th, in the J.P.Beaumont and enjoyed it a good deal. So when I saw a really good deal on this book, the first in the series, 99 cents on Barnes an Noble for a Nookbook, I could not pass it up. Well, the results were mixed.

I liked the character of Beau in both books and we get, in this first book, to learn a good bit about his backstory. The problem is that this particular part of his backstory is quite bizarre. The first part, where the body of a young girl is found and police start their investigation, starting with the fundamentalist cult her mom is a part of, is good. We meet his new partner, Ron Peters, a guy that has his own trouble past, some other officers and the oh so sleazy newspaper man Maxwell Cole. Since Beau does not own a car, we also get an interesting walking tour of Seattle. I will admit that maybe one other reason I like this series is the northwest setting. Rainy day are always a plus in my book.

But then, at the girl's funeral, we meet the Woman in Red, Anne Corley in her red dress, with her red Porsche,  it is love at first sight and things take a huge turn for the improbable. You know what your mom said...if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Well, I guess Beau's mom never mentioned that to  him. Where there is smoke, there is is may cliches come to mind.

It is not a bad book, but honestly, if this was the first in the series that I read it may have been my last. Good doubt, one of the strengths of the series...a great setting, love that rain!...and a totally unbelievable plot. I will say that the ending wrapped everything up nicely and set up the future of the series nicely, but you have to hang on to get there.


  1. There is a pretty good chance I did read this one. I know I followed the series for at least three or four books (maybe more, who knows with these books). My neighbor had them all and encouraged me to keep reading them. I liked Beau, but the most memorable thing was a particular story line with one of his wives...

  2. The books must have gotten better with time if he's up to # 20. I guess it took a while for him/her? to hit his stride.

  3. well, I believe by book 20 he is up to wife 3...and both of the previous 2 had very interesting stories.

  4. I remember the first time I read a J.A. Jance and thinking, oh what an unbelievable plot, and then like the very next week, a very similar crime happened in Tucson! And I thought, well, she just reads the newspapers, I guess!

  5. I often find that it's better to jump into a well-established series either at the end, or someplace in the middle. Many authors don't hit their stride until the third or fourth book.

    In this case, I think the characters are so good that they overpower implausible plots. This is one of my favorite series. And her others aren't bad either.


please speak up, I LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!!