J. A. Jance Analysis


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

ph_0111228329-Jance_JA.jpg J. A. Jance. Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Judith Ann Jance published her first book as J. A. Jance because her publisher believed readers would not accept a book featuring a male homicide detective that had been written by a woman. The success of Jance’s J. P. Beaumont novels has proven that a woman can create a believable male character. She has also shown that a female law enforcement officer can be popular with the reading public by her Joanna Brady series. Jance’s characters are true to their gender for the most part, acting in typically male or female ways. J. P. Beaumont, for example, is a typical man who is good at his job, attracts women, gradually accepts technology, and learns to have a life away from his job. Joanna Brady remains feminine despite being in a male-dominated profession. Even though she was a tomboy growing up, she sees no reason why she cannot be feminine and be sheriff. Joanna gets dirty and sweaty while doing her job, but she will not smoke a cigar and drink beer with the guys.

Jance has made her characters believable by not making them perfect, allowing readers to relate to J. P. Beaumont and Joanna Brady. While that is one of the reasons J. A. Jance is so popular, another is that she creates a good story. She starts with a corpse and continues with the investigation into what caused the death and the discovery of the murderer. Starting with a murder rather than building up to one may seem backward, but Jance is a master at this type of organization. She is a New York Times best-selling mystery writer, has published more than thirty books, and has sold more than eleven million copies worldwide.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Friesinger, Alison. “R-Rated Thrillers, PG-13 Mysteries.” Publishers Weekly 251, no. 15 (April 12, 2004): 35. Jance talks about writing in two genres (mystery and thriller) and the importance of place in her books.

Goldberg, Rylla. “Interview with J. A. Jance.” In Deadly Women: The Woman Mystery Reader’s Indispensable Companion, edited by Jan Grape, Dean James, and Ellen Nehr. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1998. Jance responds to questions about various topics including the business side of producing books; the place of technology in her writing; the management of writing, family, and social schedules; and the authors she reads.

Jance, J. A. “Best-selling Suspense Novelist Keeps Busy Writing, Promoting.” Interview by Jessica Agi. Anchorage Daily News, September 4, 2006, p. D1. In this interview on the release of Dead Wrong, Jance discusses her motivations for writing and stresses the importance of working at producing a novel.

Jance, J. A. J. A. Jance’s Web Site. http://www.jajance.com. Jance’s Web site gives valuable information about herself and her books. She gives personal comments on each of her novels.

Jance, J. A. “PW Talks with J. A. Jance: Strangers on a Train.” Interview by Louise Jones. Publishers Weekly 252, no. 25 (June 20, 2005): 61. This is an interview with Jance on the twentieth anniversary of the Beaumont series and the release of Long Time Gone.

Kinsella, Bridget. “Jance Promotes Book, Cancer Research.” Publishers Weekly 252, no. 31 (August 8, 2005): 19. This article discusses the charity work Jance does on her tours.

Rye, Marilyn. “Changing Gender Conventions and the Detective Formula: J. A. Jance’s Beaumont and Brady Series.” Journal of Popular Culture 37, no. 1 (August, 2003): 105-119. In an understandable manner, Rye discusses the implications of gender by a female author writing a series about a man in police work and another series with a woman in police work.