cover image Name Withheld

Name Withheld

J. A. Jance. William Morrow & Company, $22 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-688-11460-2

Investigating the shooting death of a man whose corpse is found in Elliott Bay, Seattle homicide detective J.P. Beaumont, seen last in Lying in Wait, turns up an excess of suspects. Nobody grieves when the victim is identified. An executive at biotechnology start-up company, he had been involved in everything from corporate power grabs to rape. The rape victim's aunt, a local antiques dealer, confesses and demands to be arrested; the dead man's boss declares himself a prime suspect. Meanwhile, a woman--possibly the murder victim's wife--is found shot to death. The one person who may understand what's happening, a wheelchair-bound PI, vanishes. Faced with these puzzles, Beaumont also confronts personal problems: his ex-wife is dying of cancer; his sometime partner remains jealous of Beau's independent wealth; and a social worker seems to be trumping up charges of child abuse against him. Juggling these elements with her usual sure hand, Jance also controls a supporting cast that ranges from diabolical to dotty. The big finish, when Beaumont and his unlikely allies battle the killer, by itself deserves a movie sale. (Jan.)