Improbable Cause (J.P. Beaumont #5) by J.A. Jance


“Perhaps it was fitting a justice: a dentist who enjoyed inflicting pain was murdered in his own chair. The question is not who wanted Dr. Frederick Nielsen dead, but rather who of the many finally reached the breaking point. The sordid details of this case, with its shocking revelations of violence, cruelty, and horrific sexual abuse, would be tough for any investigator to stomach. But for Seattle Homicide Detective J.P. Beaumont, the most daring piece of the murderous puzzle will shake him to his very core – because what will be revealed to him is nothing less than the true meaning of unrepentant evil.”

-Synopsis from back of the book


Cover of Improbable Cause by J.A. Jance
Cover image from StoryGraph

*light spoilers ahead*

Improbable Cause is book five in the J.P. Beaumont series. This time around, Beau is investigating the murder of a local dentist. As he and his partner, Al Lindstrom, soon discover, the victim was not well-liked among anyone in his circle and there are quite a few people in his life who would have reason to want him dead.

The primary suspect is his wife, who recently left the abusive marriage and is living in a women’s shelter at an undisclosed location. Beau’s first order of business is locating her to inform her of her husband’s death before the local news catches wind of the murder and releases his name publicly.

The investigation then takes Beau to the victim’s other family members and extended family, as Beau tries to piece together the victim’s final days before he was murdered. Beau’s former partner, Ron Peters, is again much involved in the story despite still recovering from his injury two books ago (as are his daughters who now live in Beau’s building a few floors down).

Maxwell Cole, the journalist that Beau is always at odds with, writes a scathing article about the murder with a focus on how unsafe the neighborhood has become. He calls out the Seattle P.D. for not catching the killer fast enough, something he thinks should be easy since the murder was committed in broad daylight. This puts pressure on Beau and Al to speed up the investigation before the public loses faith in them.

All the clues point to one man in particular and Beau’s team is ready to arrest the suspect and put an end to the investigation. But Beau has a hunch that the man is innocent, and wants to continue interviewing the other suspects. He has a difficult time of convincing the others of this, especially with little evidence to go on. I am purposely leaving out a few significant details because I don’t want to give away too much of what happens. Everything comes together with an exciting ending that I think is one of the most eventful of the series so far.

I’m looking forward to reading the next Beaumont book, A More Perfect Union, soon.

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