Birds of Prey by J.A. Jance

 

Mystery

Birds of Prey Birds of PreyJ. A. Jance; Avon 2002WorldCatBeverly and Lars Jenssen are taking an Alaskan cruise for their honeymoon. Beverly insists that her grandson, J.P., accompany them. J.P. Beaumont, who is a grandfather himself, is reluctant. Beverly convinces that she and his AA mentor really want him to take the cruise with them. J.P. isn’t sure about being a chaperone for his 80+ grandmother and step-grandfather, but agrees.

J.P. has recently retired from the Seattle police department as a homicide detective. The death of his last partner and the promotion of annoying co-detective were the final actions that decided him. He is considering taking a position with a special team with the state to investigate homicides. This cruise will be a time to relax and consider his future. But things happen…

A woman disappears from the ship. Later someone mentions seeing the woman falling off the ship. J.P. sees the tape showing her fall; she has duct tape over her mouth. She didn’t fall; she was pushed. He also learns there is an FBI special investigation team on the ship. There is a cult targeting special doctors for “elimination”. One of the neurologists on their list is speaking at a seminar on the ship. That same doctor is also the missing woman’s ex-husband. What is the connection?

Even on vacation J.P. can’t escape homicide. Plus he finds himself as a marriage counselor for the octogenarian newlyweds. This cruise is not the escape he had hoped. The one bright spot is Naomi Pepper. She is having her own family problems and turns to J.P. for help. He finds he is willing to give it.

Birds of Prey is a good non-violent detective novel. I recently took a similar Alaskan cruise, so was able to follow the references to the cruise itself and the sight seeing stops, including the train in the mountains above Skagway. The murder mystery itself is well done. For once I was able to figure “who done it” from the cast of characters. The denouement was enjoyable. Plus there is the fun of watching J.P. with his grandmother – at one point he even becomes the “parent” again when she does something stupid. “What were you thinking?” Haven’t we all heard that at some time or another when we realized we’ve done something we knew we shouldn’t have? J.A. Jance has another winner in this series.

Joanna Brady and J.P. Beaumont series
More books by J.A. Jance

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