A survivor of childhood trauma, two marriages, twenty hard years with the Seattle P.D. and the bottle, Jonas Piedmont Beaumont has spent far too much time trolling the darker waters of human nature. In the wake of a devastating professional tragedy, he has decided, at long last, to pull the pin. But there is no safety in semi-retirement for a man who, long ago, chose to make a violent world his home. Temporarily at leisure, Beau has agreed to chaperon his newlywed grandmother on her honeymoon cruise to the Gulf of Alaska. But Beau's brief idyll is abruptly shaken when a security videotape shows a passenger taking a fatal fall overboard. Like it or not, the burden of investigating a heinous crime is once again on his shoulders. Adrift a thousand miles from home, J.P. Beaumont has suddenly found himself submerged in a terrifying conspiracy that, if allowed to proceed unchecked, could have disastrous consequences, not only for Beau and his shipmates, but for the future of the world they all hope to return to.
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July 02, 2002
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Excerpt from Birds of Prey by J.A. Jance
The blonde fixed me with an appraising eye that left me feeling as defenseless as a dead frog spread-eagled on some high school biology student's dissection tray. "And what do you do?" she asked.
When the headwaiter had led me through the cruise ship's plush, chandelier-draped dining room to a round table set for six, four of the chairs were already occupied by a group of women who clearly knew one another well. They were all "women of a certain age," but the blonde directly across from me was the only one who had gone to considerable effort to conceal the ravages of time. I had taken one of the two remaining places, empty chairs that sat side by side. When I ordered tonic with a twist, there was a distinct pause in the conversation.
"Very good, sir," the waiter said with a nod before disappearing in the direction of the bustling waiters' station, which was directly to my back.For the better part of the next five minutes the conversation continued as before, with the four women talking at length about the generous divorce settlement someone known to all of them had managed to wring from the hide of her hapless and, as it turned out, serially unfaithful ex-husband. The general enthusiasm with which my tablemates greeted the news about a jerk being forced to pay through the nose told me I had fallen into an enemy camp made up of like-minded divorcýes. So I wasn't exactly feeling all warm and fuzzy when the ringleader of the group asked her question. The fact that I was on a heaving cruise ship named Starfire Breeze pitching and bucking my way into Queen Charlotte Sound toward the Gulf of Alaska did nothing to improve my disposition.