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The Many Faces of Betrayal,
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This review is from: Betrayal of Trust: A J. P. Beaumont Novel (Kindle Edition)
"Betrayal of Trust" is the latest in J.A. Jance's J.P. Beaumont series. This time Beaumont, who now works as a detective for the Washington State Attorney General's Special Homicide Investigation Team (yup, the acronym for this entity is a crappy one), and fellow detective Melissa Soames (who is also J.P.'s third wife) are sent to investigate what is possibly a snuff video. The Governor of the State of Washington found the video on her step grandson's cell phone. This makes the inquiry very sensitive. It also presents several thoughtful examples of betrayal, whether it is adults betraying their responsibilities to youth and to each other, youth betraying their responsibilities to adults and to each other, or characters betraying their responsibilities to themselves and to society. Jance also, I believe, seems to say that time betrays us all.
As Beaumont and Soames look into the matter, they find themselves dealing with people from opposite ends of the socio-economic spectrum, teenagers with enormous problems, bullying, and the exploitation of vulnerable youth. Much of what they see reminds Beaumont of his own adolescence, which reminds him of growing up with a single mother who struggled to make ends meet and being looked down upon by classmates who had more money and social status. An unexpected email from a woman claiming to be his dead father's niece disturbs him. The email also persuades him he might finally discover who his father was. Beaumont is physically hampered by the deteriorating condition of both of his knees, which makes it difficult for him to carry out some normal activities.
I became a fan of J.P. Beaumont as soon as I read the first book in which he first appeared, "Until Proven Guilty". "Betrayal of Trust" is not the best of these novels, but it is a nice entry into the series, continuing Jance's logical and sympathetic development of her character. Beaumont's musings on the way some people from privileged backgrounds treat those who are less fortunate, his longing to know about his father and his father's family, his reluctance to admit to the physical toll that aging is taking on him, and his reflections on prejudging people based upon flimsy reasoning make it a worthwhile read. Beaumont reflects more on his own life and its meaning than he does in other most entries in the series.
I did correctly suspect at least one of the culprits fairly early on in the book. I didn't feel the sense of urgency to finish the novel as I have with other, earlier entries. Also, I missed some of the recurring series characters who are absent in this novel, such as Beaumont's disabled, former partner. His entertaining boss and his lawyer make only very brief appearances.
I recommend this book for the issues it addresses, its sympathetic presentation of Beaumont, and its depiction of some of the problems teenagers face and of some of the games they play. I also recommend that, if you haven't done so, you read the entire series, starting from book one. One of the best qualities of the book is how Beaumont has developed as a "person" as the series progresses.