Payment in Kind (J.P. Beaumont #9) by J.A. Jance


“In death, they were entwined like lovers – a man and a woman hideously slaughtered, then stuffed into a closet in the Seattle School District building. But what appears a cut-and-dried crime of passion, complete with an ideal prime suspect, goes deeper than investigating detective J.P. Beaumont could ever have imagined. For an accused betrayed husband is keeping something shocking carefully hidden, a terrifying truth that’s hotter and more sordid than extramarital sex. And some secrets are more lethal than murder.”

-Synopsis from back cover


Cover image from StoryGraph

Payment in Kind is book nine in the J.P. Beaumont series, and it might be one of my favorite Beau books so far (though Minor in Possession is still up there). Beau and his temporary partner, Paul Kramer, are at odds from the beginning of this story which really sets the tone for how this investigation is going to proceed. Kramer is convinced that they have an obviously guilty suspect right from the beginning, whereas Beau is less inclined to believe the first theory that pops into his head.

There is a lot of tension between Beau and Kramer throughout the book. Kramer is not a team player and his independent style of working is making Beau look bad. At first Beau is willing to sit back and let Kramer dig his own hole, but that backfires and both are called into question for not working on the case as a team.

It makes for an entertaining series of events as they try to one-up each other again and again. They ultimately have to find common ground to solve what turns into a very twisted, dark case with many suspects. Maxwell Cole plays a huge role in this story, and finds himself on the suspect list, at least for! This added a lot of depth to the character who has been so far a minor annoyance in Beau’s peripherally for the last eight books. I had no idea how things were going to play out and it was a very exciting, suspenseful ending.

Ron Peters and his daughters make appearances, of course, and they are always delightful. I was also happy to see that Beau was sticking with his sobriety from the previous book. It’s making me like him even more as a character.

I look forward to reading book ten, Without Due Process, soon!

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