“The dead body discovered in a Seattle dumpster was shocking enough – but equally disturbing was the manner of death. The victim, a high school coach, had been lynched, leaving behind a very pregnant wife to grieve over his passing, and to wonder what dark secrets he took to his grave. A Homicide detective with twenty years on the job, J.P. Beaumont knows this case is a powder keg and he fears where this investigation will lead him. Because the answers lie on the extreme lethal edge of passion and hate, where the wrong kind of love can breed the most terrible brand of justice.”
-Synopsis from back of the book
I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get to the third Beaumont book! I am definitely going to make a point to read more of this series this year, especially after having enjoyed this particular one so much.
Trial By Fury starts off with Beaumont and his partner Ron Peters showing up to a grocery store where a body was found in the dumpster around back. A two-day old body, to be exact. Beaumont and Peters canvass the area to see if anyone heard or saw anything suspicious in the hopes that they might gain some insight as to how this person ended up here. They also have to figure out who exactly he is, since he was found with no clothes, identification, or any rings/jewelry, etc.
Once they uncover his identity, Beau and Peters examine every aspect of the victim’s life, including his family which consists of his pregnant window who insists she had nothing to do with the crime, and the high school where the victim worked.
There were quite a few red herrings in this story and some of them were more effective than others. The synopsis along with a small part near the beginning lead me to think there would be some racial aspect to the story. There were, but not nearly enough to warrant leading us in that direction. I thought this made it less effective and the reason I say that is because in my opinion the real truth behind the crime was much more compelling than it was made to seem.
I had some confusion while reading about one of the character’s names. She seemed to go by one name at work and another in her personal life. If this was explicitly stated at any point, I completely missed it. That ended up being a detail that threw Beau off during the investigation and made a lot of what followed more difficult than it needed to be. Perhaps it was meant to be intentional but it’s possible other readers had a different experience.
By now I’ve come to like J.P. Beaumont much more than in the previous two books. I’m warming up to his character and even found myself laughing out loud a few times while reading. From what I can tell from other reviews, his character mellows out even more in future books which I can’t say is a bad thing!
This book came out in 1986. Does it read that way? Yes. But the story is good and Beaumont is a great narrator. As I mentioned, I’m already looking forward to reading the next book.
Goodreads rating: Five stars