Let me start off by saying I am NOT a writer – that claim (or honor) belongs to others such as J.A.Jance and J.D.Robb (my wife’s favorite author). I am sure you have already figured out that I am a mystery reader – although some things I might consider mysteries I may be pushing it a little to far. So why would it be a surprise that I have read J.A. Jance?
Well, let me tell you what factors I use to pick what I read. As you might have noticed, I am in Texas. As a matter of fact, I am a native Texan. So it may come as no surprise to you that I am especially fond of Texas writers. I like to read mysteries by Texas writers – particularly those mysteries occurring in Texas (but not always) and involving a Texas sleuth. Now I do not choose these to read because of my big Texas ego – I do not think I have one. One of the reasons I like these is because of familiarity. Mysteries are fiction but the places they occur are sometimes real places even though (using a familiar phrase that might date me) “the names have been changed”. When I am reading these mysteries I can visualize the places they are happening since I know some about Texas – it is where I live. This is one of the key factors to how I choose what I read.
I also mentioned another factor – the sleuth. The mystery does not have to occur in Texas necessarily. But if I can relate to or picture the sleuth then I will read the mystery. One thing fascinating to me is who can be a sleuth. They do not have to be professionals – they can be amateurs as well. This is one of the reasons I use the word “sleuth” which does not imply a professional. So if the sleuth is a Texan there usually is some things familiar in the mystery – even if the place is not necessarily familiar.
Again.., how did I come to read J.A.Jance? Well…, I was in the bookstore getting the latest book by a Texas mystery writer and looking for another Texas mystery writer. This is when I came across J.A. Jance and Joanna Brady who was the wife of a law enforcement officer in Cochise County, Arizona. This is what drew my attention. My wife and her family were from that area in Arizona so I am a little familiar with the place. (Besides…, I thought perhaps my wife might be interested in reading this series since it takes place in her old stomping grounds.) Once I read the first book in the Joanna Brady series I liked the character – so I am reading more in the series.
Now this brings up another thing I like in mysteries – the series. Once I read one book in a series I like, I want to read more. A series allows you to learn more about the sleuth. In addition ro the continual development of the sleuth, the author does the same for other characters in the book. I like characters with character. This is one of the things Jance does with the Joanna Brady series and she does it well.
I have read one other book of hers in a series about Ali Reynolds. I will continue to read this series which takes place in the general area of Sedona, Arizona. My wife went to school in Flagstaff and I am a little familiar with this area.
Jance has written one more series I am aware of but have not read yet – the J.P. Beaumont series. It takes place in California. As I understand it (from another person who reads Jance) Beaumont and Brady will work together in another book – which series I do not know. So I imagine I will read the Beaumont series as well. Oh …, did you know there is a city in Texas called Beaumont? And, on a hunch, I just found out there is a Texas city called Brady – imagine that!!!