This was more of an experience than a read. The title refers to Beau's second watch, his experiences and memories with things from his past left unfinished... brought on by pain meds and anesthesia based dreams. I had my own second watch, things I had left somewhat unfinished due to my ex-husband, or at least. I had not come full circle .. and .. well read on! This book was amazing, as are all of them. It was my first read in this particular series and I was totally fine with it. Bear with me as I tell you a little story.
A little over thirteen years ago, the phone rang during the chaos which was my house with five kids underfoot. I was in the middle of trying to find extra socks since we had no mittens and for some freaking reason it choose to snow over night in Fort Huachuca, Arizona. I hadn't lived in a place that snowed in so long I was caught off guard. We only had been in Arizona for one month and just had gotten our household goods two days before, so most of my life was strewn about me amidst the dust colored packing paper and boxes. Mittens? If we even had any were not in a box marked "MITTENS AND WINTER GEAR" more like, "BOTTOM OF THE BACK OF THE STORAGE SHED"
"What mother," The evilness of caller-ID. It annoys her to no end.
"Honey you would save money if you didn't waste it on the need to know who was calling you!"
Yes and then I could not ignore you when you called while Bill and I were having hot sex. "Yes mother, but I am afraid it is necessary for Bill and his job." Notice I said necessary and not required, you have to work it at times with the parental units.
"I have a present to send you and I have no clue what your new address is anymore. I only have at least 5 here, do you think you can grace me with your current whereabouts? " Well crap, now I felt like poo.
"Mom I am sorry! I thought I had sent you a postcard, here...let me give it to you." Rambling off the address while wrestling a 14 month-old into his high chair while cooking oatmeal, I was doing pretty good so far, but my curiosity got the best of me.
"Is that Willy I hear?"
I avoided telling her how I really felt by letting out a sigh, "His name is not Willy, he is not a penis he is a William and we call him Liam do we need to go through how confusing this is?"
"A thank you would be nice!"
"Not when I haven't gotten anything yet, and then I promise to hire a quartet and sing it for you... Madre!!" I was now getting annoyed. (and as a sidebar I am sure you are wondering just what in the world this has to do with a J.A. Jance Book, I promise it is about my experience, not just my read)
I hear my mother titter, which means she is being her usual funny no filter self and I want to strangle her... with a smile and a thank you, of course."I found books for you!" she literally squeals, literally which frightens me a bit.
Oh now that was cool, this was something my mom is really good at, and she had to know I probably was going through missing my house in Texas, and my friends and I needed more of my other friends, books. But now I am feeling guilty, she has the touch, because I was contemplating death and dismemberment by then, or hanging up.
"I found an author who not only is from Bisbee, that quaint town you, Bill and the kids went to on Sunday, but she writes with Bisbee as the backdrop, and apparently she is pretty good!"
She had me at, Bisbee. I already fell in love with the town. looking back, I am really glad I didn't hang up on her because I found a new best friend in those books. And now, I am a sucker for reading books set in places I have been or are in. The big reason is my adventures with J.A. Jance and her Joanna Brady Mysteries. She weaves this world of real people. I know authors do this all the time, but you have to know Bisbee to understand what I am talking about. Bisbee was a haven in the three years we lived in Arizona. I had friends whom are part of my extended family. (Love you Li and I adore you Chris).
Living as YOU was what Bisbee, AZ was about for me... MEMORIES
But more importantly, and why I am talking about it for this book, is I associate Bisbee, AZ with my strong pride as a military wife. Two years running we did Memorial Day in Bisbee, AZ. The kids and I helped serve warm Koolaid, burnt but lukewarm coffee and stale cookies at during the memorial day picnics. Bisbee is even higher in the desert than Huachuca at 5387 ft so snow there is nothing new, but it is beautiful and built into the hills. It's a functioning and historically maintained quirky mining town (well some of it, the brothel is an three-decker apartment, the steps in the black and white at the top were taken at 69 OK Corral Street. I kid you not! My friend had the top floor). It held magic for me then and I learned a lot about how Bisbee treat's the memories of it's fallen soldiers, of all manner, not just those in the military. The community itself is magical, supportive and as rock solid as the hills surrounding it.
This is how J.A. Jance writes. But this book (as I have rambled now on and on) Is a J.P. Beaumont novel. An investigator in Seattle, WA. In this, his 21st novel, he is now with the Attorney General's office in the Special Homicide Investigation Team. His group often goes by the first letters of those four words. Yes that is S.H.I.T (and no there is no real unit the closest is HITS which is Homicide Investigation and Tracking System Unit, but it could happen, you never know). I have only read the cross over novels involving Detective Beau, as he is want to be called because his real name something of a ... well.. I can't tell you, I want you to discover and smile for yourself!
I was a bit worried diving into this one because of that, and was even more worried due to the nature of it being said a bit of a departure from the normal Beaumont mysteries. I may not get the same feel as I had from my Joanna Brady Mysteries. Boy was I wrong. This was not just a read, it was a blast to my past, a blast to Beau's Past.. to the the past of many Seattle detectives, and loves lost, family members found, it is all about those six degrees of separation and the threads that you forgot you left hanging. I was left sobbing in the end. Memories of the morning I wrote out above, the taste of those stale cookies and sticky Koolaid stained faces and dancing in the streets during New Years.
But you never lived in Bisbee or have a connection with this series, so would you want to read it? Could I recommend it? Yes. I "met" the detective a few times within her other mysteries, and I was able to navigate just fine, in fact. I may go broke doing so, but I will own and read every single one of the JP Beaumont books. From Seattle homicide Detective all the way up to the Attorney General's office with S.H.I.T. (had to get that in one more time) Beau is here, even if he is part bionic with his new knees, and through a drug induced flood he is awakened to find threads and things he needs to finish and have closure with. He is also a Vietnam Vet which is where the memorial day comes in! And every cop has that one case that got away from them, this book involves that case.
I can recommend it because this book is not just about a place on the planet, but a place within you. It is not just a Mystery Novel (yes this is "A Mystery") it is several stories that flow around our characters and make you feel like you are with them. J.A. Jance has such a talent for drawing out each of our own experiences that allow us to find something from our past to associate with. I recommend this with:
5 Stars and then some
Chuckling, I have to do a sidebar, in the last Joanna novel she finds out she is pregnant and is hugging the toilet and her morning habits are so funny to read and I remember remembering all of my mornings.. yes that SIMPLE of a moment. Such a small part of the story, but I stress this is part of why J.A. Jance is such an amazing author. She didn't let me down with this one in the least. If you have only her other series, this is different, but still with the same flavor, her color of ink and style. Did I figure it out? No, and her trick? OMG if you read it get in touch with me, I want to know if you had the same thought I did because MAN she had me going!