Just finished reading J.A. Jance’s Justice Denied, the 18th novel in the author’s J.P. Beaumont series of Seattle-based police procedurals. Though it’s not one of her best, Jance clearly hasn’t gotten tired and can still write a taut mystery with interesting characters. She explicitly deals with recurrent themes like “Can you trust this woman?” without making the reader feel that it’s merely a formula. Family relationships, especially those between parents and their adult children, add an extra touch, especially since the families involved vary in age, race, and social class. The author perfectly captures the internal monologue of a male protagonist who’s intellectually smart but can occasionally be socially clueless, not that I know anyone like that. Justice Denied is well-plotted but stronger on psychology than on action, so don’t read it if you’re looking for an action-packed mystery. But if you’re interested in story lines and characters, do read it, even if you aren’t familiar with any of the 17 previous novels in the series.