cover image Without Due Process

Without Due Process

J. A. Jance. William Morrow & Company, $20 (302pp) ISBN 978-0-688-11459-6

Once she clears the clouds obscuring issues of motive in the opening chapters, Jance ( Hour of the Hunter) proceeds with a gripping expose of cop murder and cover-up. Seattle police officer Ben Weston and his family--with the exception of the youngest son-- are brutally slaughtered at a critical point in Weston's undercover probe of youth gang activity. Several suspicious student loans are traced to Weston and members of the gangs he was investigating. In his 10th appearance, narrator and fellow cop J. P. ``Beau'' Beaumont vows to avenge his friend's death, meanwhile protecting the five-year-old survivor (and sole witness) and slowly realizing that the murder has little to do with student loans; he discovers dirty politics and graft reaching far into the department. Jance demands a lot from her readers: the likeliest suspects are completely hidden for a third of the tale, the loan angle makes little sense and the unconvincingly macho Beau never quite gels. Yet the shocks delivered as the villains are gradually unveiled and as Beaumont and pals try to keep the little boy alive resonate deeply. Author tour. (Dec.)