This is a novel that deviates from the norm for this author. Jance usually delivers compelling mysteries with good accompanying personal developments in the life of the main characters. In this case, there is a lot more focus on what is going on in the life of J.P. Beaumont and on the political games within the police department. In turn, the mystery is not nearly as interesting and the conclusion feels rushed and does not include all the necessary details.
Beau is working babysitting a movie crew when a body turns up in the water by the location where filming is taking place, which means that he is not part of the case, but his interest is piqued. Since one of the lead detectives on the murder case is obnoxious and pedantic, Beau gets involved, in an effort to bring justice to the victim and show his newly found nemesis how to perform good police work. This in turn will generate tension within the department and pose challenges for carrying out the investigation. For the reader, this implies that we do not get a full picture of the facts, and therefore, find it harder to make sense of who the culprit is and why the events unfolded in the way they did.
Even though this is a subpar effort for J.A. Jance, I think that it is a slightly above average novel for this genre. I found myself reading almost nonstop and finishing the book quickly, but the most interesting part was Beau's interactions with other characters, not the murder case. I think that this means that for those people that are not familiar with the series, it is going to be a lot more interesting to look elsewhere. Those that have been reading this series in order though, will probably find that they like the story, and that it represents a change of pace from the previous installments. However, now it is time for this author to come back strong with another exciting and fast-paced mystery!