Still Dead: A J.P. Beaumont Novella

Version: Unabridged
Author: J.A. Jance
Narrator: Alan Sklar
Genres: Detective Stories
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Published In: August 2017
# of Units: 2 CDs
Length: 1 hour, 38 minutes
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Overview

Since the disbanding of the Special Homicide Investigation Team, J. P. Beaumont's biggest concern is pondering whether he and his wife, Mel, should finally get a dog. But one voicemail from his old friend Ralph Ames is about to change that. Through Ralph, Beau has become involved in an organization called the Last Chance, which enlists a number of retired homicide investigators to tackle long-unsolved cold cases. The one that has just landed on Beau's plate is a thirty-year-old missing-persons case.The facts are muddy at best; Janice Marie Harrison's car was found abandoned near a bridge, and scratched in the dirt nearby was the word "sorry." It's possible her death was a suicide, but her body was never found. And as Beau begins to investigate, he discovers that no one connected to Janice-not her once all-star football player widower, Anders; not her long-grieving sister Estelle; not sheriff Gavin Loper, who was deputy sheriff at the time of Janice's disappearance; and not Anders' second wife, Betsy-is exactly what they seem. The question is, which of them knows the truth? And why have they kept it buried?

Author Details

Author Details

Jance, J.A.

Considering J. A. Jance's now impressive career -- which includes two massively popular mystery series and status as a New York Times bestseller -- it may be difficult to believe that she was initially strongly discouraged from literary pursuits. A chauvinistic creative writing professor advised her to seek out a more "ladylike" job, such as nurse or schoolteacher. Moreover, her alcoholic husband (a failed Faulkner wannabe) assured her there was room in the family for only one writer, and he was it. Determined to make her doomed marriage work, Jance put her writing on the back burner. But while her husband slept, she penned the visceral poems that would eventually be collected in After the Fire.

Jance next chose to use her hard times in a more unlikely manner. Encouraged by an editor to try writing fiction after a failed attempt at a true-crime book, she created J. P. Beaumont, a homicide detective with a taste for booze. Beaumont's drinking problem was clearly linked to Jance's dreadful experiences with her first husband; but, as she explains it: "Beaumont was smart enough to sober up, once the problem was brought to his attention. My husband, on the other hand, died of chronic alcoholism at age 42." So, from misfortune grew one of the most popular characters in modern mystery fiction. Beaumont debuted in 1985's Until Proven Guilty -- and, after years of postponing her writing career, Jance was on her way.

As a sort of light flipside to the dark Beaumont, Jance created her second series in 1991. Inspired by the writer's happier role as a mom, plucky small-town sheriff Joanna Brady was introduced in Desert Heat and struck an immediate chord with readers. In 2005, Jance added a third story sequence to her repertoire with Edge of Evil, featuring Ali Reynolds, a former TV reporter-turned-professional blogger.

And so, the adventures continue! A career such as Jance's would be extraordinary under any circumstances, but considering the obstacles she overcame to become a bestselling, critically acclaimed novelist, her tale is all the more compelling. As she explains it: "One of the wonderful things about being a writer is that everything -- even the bad stuff -- is usable."