Thursday, October 08, 2009

Fire and Ice by J.A. Jance

Title: Fire and Ice, a Beaumont and Brady Novel
Author: J.A. Jance
ISBN: 9780061239229, William Morrow, 2009
Genre: Police Procedural
Rating: A

First Line: Ken Leggett wasn't what you could call a warm and fuzzy guy.

Seattle investigator J.P. Beaumont is working a series of murders in western Washington in which six young women have been wrapped in tarps, doused with gasoline, and set on fire. At the same time, two thousand miles away in the Arizona desert, Cochise County sheriff Joanna Brady is investigating the homicide of a caretaker of an ATV park. A breakthrough in Beaumont's case leads him right to Cochise County, and for the second time (after 2002's Partner in Crime) these two will be working together.

I've read the first two or three books of Jance's Beaumont series and have to admit that I never took to J.P. On the other hand, when I picked up the first book of the Joanna Brady series, it was love at first sight. When Jance first put her two crime fighters together, I was wondering how it would work out. I should've known that with two professionals like J.P. and Joanna (and a consummate writer like Jance), it would go well. Fire and Ice is even better than Partner in Crime.

Until the end of the book, J.P. and Joanna stay in their own jurisdictions to work their cases, and both characters are more comfortable that way. It's interesting to see how the two cases eventually link together.

J.P. seems to have made quite a few changes in his life; so much so that I might just try reading about him again. Joanna's life is the usual hectic blur of being sheriff in a county that's larger than some states, of being the wife of a writer who has to go on book tours, of being the mother of an infant and a teenager. J.P. has always been a bit of a loner. Joanna Brady is surrounded by family and friends and co-workers, many of whom have their own story lines woven seamlessly into the narrative.

In both series, Jance has created characters that, after a few books, can easily feel like members of your own family. Jance's plots are always interesting and flow smoothly, and her settings are close to perfection. Fire and Ice is yet another winner for J.A. Jance. When she stops writing books, I think I'll cry.


  1. Sounds like an interesting, read! Thanks for sharing. I like it best, too, when I find the sleuth (or at least, the main character) likeable, or at least someome I could read more about.

    Interesting approach, too, to telling a story (i.e. haviing the two sleuths work separately). The same thing is true in the Gears' Anasazi series, where two stories take place in two different time periods, but they are connected at the end.

  2. Interesting, I've read several of the JP books, and really loved them, but I haven't gotten to the Brady books yet. I have a long way to go before I can start reading the joint books.

  3. I wasn't too fond of J.P. either at first but he grew on me. This one is definitely going on my "must read" list because I really enjoyed the first time they worked together and I love the Brady series. Jance always hooks me right from the first page.

  4. I'd like to read the book just to see how the author accomplishes this duo sleuthing device.

  5. I need to catch up on the Joanna Brady series. Like you, I never quite took to J.P. However, maybe I should read the 2 duo books and go from there.

  6. Margot-- I've read and enjoyed the Gears' Anasazi series. Good stuff!

    Beth-- I think my issue with J.P. has always been his drinking. I don't have much tolerance for anyone who tries to drown their sorrows in the bottom of a bottle. (Alcoholic in the family.)

    "RV"-- I agree. Jance is one of my favorite writers.

    Margot-- Through phones and computers! ;)

    Kay-- That seems to be what's helped me with J.P. He's changed through the years, and if I could go back to the book where he began his change, I could go on from there.

  7. I've never read either series. I like the sounds of Joanna Brady - I think I'll start with that series.

  8. Note to Beth - J.P. is a recovering alcoholic now. He's a much nicer person.


  9. I fell in love with the Brady books many years ago, and then was surprised I enjoyed the Beaumont series as well (although I like the newer ones better!).

    I stopped reading both series at some point not too long ago, and now am not sure where I was. Maybe I'll pick this book up, and if I still like them, I'll see what books I need to backfill.

  10. Oh I've always enjoyed both series, and have been waiting for more...this one sounds great. Thanks for the honest review.

  11. OOO...just found it at the Public Library on absolutely favorite way to 'read' J.A. Jance.

  12. Belle-- I think you'd really enjoy the Joanna Brady series.

    Laura-- I hope you do get a chance to pick them up again.

    Tina-- Great, I hope you enjoy it!

  13. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed this one. I got it from PBS and almost took it off my WL as I don't usually read the Beaumont series. I've only read 1 or 2 and didn't really click with them. I love the Brady series though and did want to miss out on any of her story.

  14. Melissa-- There's no way I'd miss out on the tiniest speck of Joanna's story!


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