Fire and Ice
by J.A. Jance
Review by Cathy Green
Harper Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061239236
Date: 01 August 2010 List Price $9.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Fire And Ice, now out in mass market paperback, is the second time J.A. Jance has paired up her two main detectives, Washington State investigator and former Seattle PD detective J.P. Beaumont and Cochise County, Arizona sheriff Joanna Brady. Beaumont is investigating a series of murders of women whose bodies are found wrapped in blue tarp, burned, and with their teeth pulled out and Brady is investigating the possibly drug related murder of the caretaker of an ATV park.
Beaumont catches a break with his case when a sixth murder victim turns up with her teeth intact, leading to her identification as Marcella Carbajal, the younger sister of one Sheriff Brady's deputies. Marcella had abandoned her son Luis to her brother and her parents and run off with a large amount of money that she and her convict husband had stolen from a drug dealer. The identification of the body leads to the discovery that she was living under an assumed name in a trailer park in Seattle and working a straight job as a Denny's waitress.
Sheriff Brady meanwhile is trying to cope with breaking in her new second-in-command Tom Hadlock and adjusting to the new medical examiner, Dr. Machett, who is something of a jackass while acting as best man for her former second-in-command Frank Montoya's wedding. Beaumont and Brady reconnect when Beaumont calls her while she is hosting the bachelor party to ask her to notify the Carbajals about Marcella, which is certainly a mood killer.
Jance does a good job of tying the two cases together despite the fact that Beaumont and Brady are not in the same room until Marcella's funeral. She also neatly mixes the personal and professional of the characters despite the fact that in Fire And Ice she is dealing with twice as many characters as usual without increasing her standard page count.
As with previous novels, Jance does a nice job of fleshing out characters that are unlikely to recur in future books, such as Mama Rose Brotsky, former homeless prostitute, trailer park owner, and Powerball winner. In Fire And Ice Brady and Beaumont are not so much working together and working in parallel to each other and the characters have alternating narratives. At first this can be a bit jarring, as the Joanna Brady parts are written in the third person and the J. P. Beaumont parts are written in the first person, but it does make it easy to distinguish between the two story lines. Fan of either series will definitely want to buy this book.