“All manner of sinners and sufferers come to the rehab ranch in Arizona when they hit rock bottom. For Seattle detective J.P. Beaumont, there is a deeper level of Hell there: being forced to room with teenage drug dealer Joey Rothman. An all-around punk, Joey deserves neither pity nor tears – until he is murdered by a bullet fired from Beaumont’s gun. Someone has set Beau up brilliantly for a long and terrifying fall, dragging the alcoholic ex-cop into a conspiracy of blood and lies that could cost him his freedom…and his life.”
-Synopsis from back cover
Minor in Possession is book seven in the J.P. Beaumont series, and we are finally in the 1990s – yay! All this time I’ve been getting a kick out of just how 80s the first few books in this series felt, and now we are inching closer to a more modern time.
Since this book is set in Arizona, it’s safe to say I was really looking forward to reading it. I love being able to picture a setting perfectly and having lived in Arizona so long, I am familiar with all of the locations of this book.
The ranch where Beau is set to do his rehab, located in Wickenburg, is an isolated stretch of desert. The saguaro cacti, dry, dusty land, and plethora of Southwest decor at Ironwood Ranch are foreign to Beau but will be his home for the six weeks that are required of his stay. We get to see Beau’s ex-wife and kids for the first time, which I was fascinated by because we’ve only heard bits and pieces about them until now. I wouldn’t say they play a huge role in the story but their presence was significant for Beau.
The story starts on an interesting note with Beau having issues with his roommate at the ranch, Joey Rothman. When Joey disappears, Beau at first thinks the teenager is up to no good and nothing more than that. Then Joey is found dead and Beau gets pulled into the investigation as a suspect, though he was not the only one with a vendetta against the kid.
The first third or so of the story was a little meandering. Beau is convinced that the snake in his room was planted by someone trying to kill him. From my perspective as someone who is from Arizona, it’s extremely likely to find wildlife near or in your home especially after it rains which happened throughout this book. Beau wouldn’t know that, not being from Arizona, and he is fixated on this event being an attempt on his life. It was a little repetitive though the snake does resurface towards the end.
There is only so much Beau can do as a Seattle officer in another state, but he teams up with a relative of Joey’s to help find out what happened to him in order to ensure Beau isn’t framed for the murder. The case ends up being more involved than Beau could have ever realized, and takes him all across Arizona from Wickenburg to Phoenix, Scottsdale to Tucson. I can tell you every street and location mentioned is real and accurate which I was happy to see.
By the end of the book I was gripped by the story and eager to find out what happened. It all boiled down to what was happening in Joey’s life which Beau put together with the help of Joey’s seven-year-old half-sister and Joey’s mother.
The best part of this book is that Beau does in fact have a successful experience becoming sober and though there are many occasions where he can break his streak, he chooses not to.
I’m curious to see how this will change his character in future books, and looking forward to the next book in the series as always.