Second Watch

Less than one week after the release of Second Watch, I’ve received wonderful feedback from you, my readers.  Those of you who are reading, or have read Second Watch, and those who’ve been to signings, understand how deeply emotional this book is.  I want to share these emails, and thank you for being a part of this tour.  Personal information has been removed for privacy.


Read it in less than 2 days.

As always, a good book!  When I got near the end, the part set in Bisbee, it really hit me.  When you listed the names of the men lost in Vietnam from Bisbee, I was so hoping that these were the real names.  And they were!  I was in tears from then on, through the end of the book.  I grew up in Tombstone.  We were relatively lucky–we lost only one man, Micheal Montijo.  He, like Doug, was a few years older than me.  My brother service 2 tours in Vietnam and came home with a cast from his hip to his ankle.  My sister served during the Vietnam era at Walter Reed hospital.  Cousins, friends, my ex-husband–so many.  I see this book as a tribute to all who served.

Thank you for another winner!

Dear Friend,

Thank you for telling about Lt Leonard D. Davis and our soldiers who were in viet nam.  As a ’64 graduate of West Point, I was a company commander of an Infantry Company and  had so many great people that I served with, most of whom returned home and did well, but I still get calls from some of our “walking wounded”, and I worry that I have never visited the parents of my KIAs. I have been blessed many times over, but still feel uncomfortable when Viet Nam is discussed.  Than you for your kind words and putting a face on our soldiers during that time.

 You did it again! 

This is another nearly-impossible-to-put-down book.  You have woven a tale that has seamlessly melded fiction with non-fiction.  (I have never seen that done before, even at your hands.)  If I had not been aware that you truly knew and lived (as part of Doug’s life) that non-fiction part of the tale I would have been startled at the epilogue-like afterword.

(You also hit the bilateral-knee-replacement portion of the story spot-on.  I’ve worked in that world; the “why did I wait so long to have this done?” reaction is the most delightful and repetitive afterwards commentary that I hear.  And thank you for the underlying urging of patients to truly engage in the post-op physical and occupational therapy part of the healing process!)

Your description of The Wall is accurate – and it is why I have avoided going to see that most heart-wrenching structure and its Travelling sibling.  I grew up in the Vietnam War era and those are not just names on stone, those are lives carved in blood and pain.  I have too many friends there.

I have not (except for one time – to encourage a newbie to keep writing) asked for an autographed copy of a writer’s work.  I do not want to contribute to a chronic case of writer’s cramp – you may wiggle tired fingers in response to that statement if you like.  But I will raise a verbal (written?) glass of congratulations and salute to skill, good humor (that Marge had me chuckling and shaking my head!), and capitalized-on-purpose Heart.

Blessings on you for your salute to our too-often under-appreciated Vietnam veterans.  They had to face war on two fronts: here and in Southeast Asia.  Their families and loved ones had to face their fears for their warriors and their (and their neighbors’) conflicted feelings about that war.

Now to get out of your face and let you get back to your writing.  Again, God bless you.

Second Watch is your best book yet!

Enjoyed getting to know more detail and why you wrote the story.  What a beautiful tribute to those who served in Vietnam and to dedicated policemen.  Thank you for writing this story.

26 thoughts on “Second Watch

  1. I am a Vietnam era veteran who just wanted to take a moment to thank Mrs. Jance, not only for her “can’t put down” novels, but also for what she did recently during her stop at Ft. Knox. Providing free copies of her latest JP Beaumont to all military families might not have seemed like a lot, but it was. Military families ALL make a sacrifice being away from home, and it is easy to think that folks have forgotten about you! I was the first in line in Nashville Mrs. Jance and had intended to express my thanks then but didn’t want to take up more of your time. Thank you!

  2. Thank you for your courage to reach down inside your soul, to write the truth…finally someone has in regard to our servicemen of Viet Nam, and the people within their lives who loved them. Historically, for thousands it has always been a love story, but it took JA Jance to write it and share it with the world, five decades later. Thank you, Judith Ann Jance, for bringing ALL of our boys home.

    Chaplain LJ Tucker
    Widow of SGT RL Tucker – USMC/Viet Nam

  3. I’ve just finished reading “Second Watch” and am touched beyond belief…as a Viet Nam veteran and a retired police officer I read your book and it brought emotion that is hard to describe….as I sat in Bonnie’s living room with JP and Mel, tears poured down my cheeks…..for so long, I have kept such real feelings inside because that is what police officers and military men are suppose to do…..Thank you for “Second Watch” and the tribute to Lt. Doug Davis. His story will be read by so many family members who lost dear one during that conflict…..Respectfully, R. Harris

  4. It started when I was about 18 reading Beau’s books. JA Jance always has me wanting more. When I start one of her books I can’t seem to put it down. Will read each one many times. Second Watch has been no different. Great story intertwining fact and fiction as well as bring Joanna in to it as well. As I read it I was, just slightly, disappointed that 2 previous characters were mis named. First Kelly’s husband was called Jeff when he was Jeremy in previous books. Second was Beau’s nemesis Paul Kramer, who was called Phil in SW.
    Great read!

  5. J. A., imagine my surprise when I read Second Watch and found Sammamish was the site of a double homicide. A few years ago when you paid a visit to the library in Sammamish, I introduced myself as the Mayor of Sammamish (yes, “white-haired guy” but no “custom-tailured suit”) and suggested that our fair city (recently ranked as the friendliest city in the U.S. according to Forbes) of close to 50,000 has never had a murder and has never been in one of your J.P. Beaumont novels. Well, you broke our 14 year old no murder record, which might have disappointed me until I read on page 175 that the location was “the twenty-six thousand block of Northeast Forty-fifth Street here in Sammamish” which actually is not in Sammamish. Whew! Dodged that bullet (pun intended). The novel was great, as usual, and the interweaving of fact and fiction was expertly done. I am not ashamed to admit that there were tears in my eyes upon reading The Story Behind Second Watch. Come visit us again, my friend.

  6. I have read all your books and J.P.B.
    has always been a sentimental favorite
    because of a shared recovery…
    I just wanted to say Bravo Judith, this
    was your best yet and I also so enjoyed
    reading what you offered about you and
    how you do what you do so well,
    Thank you???? Keith

  7. Ms. Jance, I just finished reading “Second Watch”. Wonderful book. Well written book. And then to find how you wove actual people and events into your work of fiction – outstanding work and an emotional experience for me. Well done and I look forward to reading more of your novels in the future!

  8. All I can say is WOW! I have read all of Louie Lamour books and have all of them in hardback. I cried when he died and I had never met the man. I have been searching for a author for years to replace him. 2 weeks ago I was in a store in Kuna Idaho and discovered the Joanna Brady series and bought 5 of your books that was in the used book section. I thank you for coming into my life. I am 70 years old and still actively working and read almost every evening and their has been lots of times, that I have said someday I will find another author that will be captivating and I have. I can not wait to get more of your books.

  9. My wife and I have read many, but probably not all, of JAJ’s books – many of them we have listened to on trips and have thoroughly enjoyed them. Our local library has a lot of her books and I was fortunate to have seen a copy of Second Watch and then checked it our on the same day I saw it for the first time at Costco. I think this story touched me more than any of JAJ’s books – I really like the character J.P. Beaumont, but more than that, weaving the story of LT Doug Davis into the plot added special meaning to me. I am retired Army having retired as a full Colonel at FR Hauchuca just a few miles to the west of Bisbee where JAJ and Doug Davis went to high school. Also, my father-in-law was born in Bisbee in 1924. My wife and I had some friends who worked there, one as the County Attorney who JAJ knew also. Anyway, I think she did a marvelous job with this whole story. The end of the book [DVDs] explained that Doug Davis was a real person, etc. and summarized JAJ’s friendship with him – that was special – it brought tears to my eyes – I am quite sensitive about such matters, and Vietnam was part of my era. Next time I am in D.C. I am going to look his name up on the Wall – I was stationed at the Pentagon from March 1988 through June 1991 and often ran up the National Mall and stopped by the Wall and stood in reverence of its meaning.

    Anyway, this is my first blog entry – ever – Those who are JAJ’s fans know what a great story teller she is, and what a struggle she had to get to where she is at – we should all take note of those efforts and apply them in our own lives – that is if we want to improve our lot in life by finding something we want to do or become and then achieving it. I read a lot and have never found a story teller I enjoy more. When I was in the library yesterday, I searched through over the many JAJ DVDs they have – shucks, I have read or listened to all of them. I think JAJ needs to increase her production to keep readers/listeners like me [us?] satisfied!
    David Felt

  10. Just started reading Second Watch and enjoying it! Been missing JP. Have one question about the reference to Dick’s drive in… Did they really have carhops at one time?

  11. Thank you for writing Second Watch and including some of your life in Bisbee ,Arizona . I too live with a Vietnam Vet who spent 8 years of tour and is hard to talk about his experience. The way he explains it you had to have been there to understand .

  12. I just finished Second Watch and your story about the real Doug Davis. When I was a freshman in college and a biology major in 1963, I went into a lab and asked a woman scientist if she had a job. She said, “No, I don’t hire women.” I asked why and she responded, ” Women are not good at science.” I nodded and left, in complete confusion. Like you, I did not take the advice I was given. I got a Ph.D. in genetics, taught for years, and wrote 8 genetics texts, 2 physical therapy texts, one memoir, and soon-to-be published book on dogs. I do hope women are still not being discouraged! I have been delighted over the years by the books you have written.

    • Thanks for the kind words. Perhaps we should co-write a book: Helpful Advice: When not to take it!

      We’re both lucky that we ignored the naysayers and followed our dream. As for Doug? It was an honor for me to be able to bring his story to the world outside Bisbee, Arizona.


  13. Ms. Jance, thank you for Second Watch. It was a beautiful story. I helps me to remember. My own grieving about Vietnam only started a couple of summers ago, while sitting at our local dog park with some Iraq war veteran families. One veteran was absent; his wife talked about the physical and mental damage that keeps him isolated. They shared stories about families and how they were picking up their lives. As I sat there listening (the only older person around), something stirred. Suddenly it was as if I’d been transported back to 1968. I started feeling the anxieties and sorrow that I’d had during the war in Vietnam and about my friends who were fighting there. It amazed me. Gone from my mind for 40 years, and back again in an instant. Only back then I’d been naïve, trusting my government’s intentions (remember the domino theory). I held my breath until that war was over and my friends all came back, mostly physically intact. I didn’t ask a lot of questions. Just let it all go and didn’t look back.

    I am active in political and environmental issues. I get angry, but not in the personal way that began to grow that day in the dog park. It was an anger that I didn’t feel (but should have felt) in 1968 and it came full-force. I wanted to stand up and howl at the top of my lungs – how could we do this again? How could we do this to our children?

    I’m still coming to terms with it. Maybe others feel similarly. Thank you for offering us another look.

  14. Just finished Second Watch. Absolutely brilliant! Evocative to say the least! Korea July4, 1950-June 1, 1951. Thanks. John

  15. I just listened to Second Watch on Books on Tape. I read the hard copy but couldn’t resist listening to it. My only thoughts was that it was great, EXCEPT for the fact that Gene Engene was not the reader. He did such a great job on all the other JP series, I think that there might have been one other that he didn’t. Why?

  16. have enjoyed your writing since i first met Allison,, Beau and Joanna.. they live for me, which is a true test of making a good book, I think. always looking for more.. from a South Dakota fan…….. Muriel Jamison

  17. Second Watch deserves so much more than a ‘thank you for another great read’ because the Lennie D (Doug Davis) is so personal. The ‘Story Behind Second Watch’ is a great tribute to all those soldiers and those left behind during the Viet Nam war (although the government refused to call it what it was). I sure shed a lot of tears during my read. Because that era was so much a part of our lives (me also born in 1943), I focused on Lennie D but I don’t want to gloss over the story about Monica, Amelia, Donnie, Frankie, Delilah, the cover-up good old boys, and, of course, Beau, Mel, Ron and then there’s Marge – what delicious characters whose situations are still alive today.
    From a replanted (from Chicago) Seattleite, it was a pleasure meeting you at a book signing in the early 2000’s at Lake Forest Park Library and hear a synopsis of your life’s story (up to 15 years ago). Hope to see you around again. I’ve learned to enjoy Allison and Joanna too even though I’m not familiar with Bisbee.

  18. I just buried my Mother this past week and had yet to cry and grieve. The final chapter of Second Watch had me sitting in my car with tears in my eyes and grieving. Thank you for a moving book that has actually helped me begin my grieving process and begin to move forward. It was the little tokens given to the former fiancée that brought the tears.

    Thanks so much.

    • Please accept my condolences on the loss of your mother. That’s what good books are supposed to do–make us laugh and cry. In this case crying is exactly what was needed

  19. I read “Second Watch” right before my 50th reunion at West Point in 2015. Doug Davis was my classmate. Bonnie Abney was at our reunion and enjoyed meeting her. Matter of fact, I was in Seattle last weekend for a memorial service for my classmate Rick Bunn. There were 30 classmates and wives paying our respects to Rick. We also talked about Doug and Bonnie in the “Second Watch”. My wife and I spent Sunday afternoon with Bonnie talking about Doug Davis, her life and ours. Bonnie has some big, friendly Bermese Mountain dogs -The Boys.

  20. I suggested my daughter read “Second Watch” before her knee reconstruction. She said it helped lots.
    How old is Beau? He must be in his 70s. Don’t policemen have to retire at 65?

  21. After serving on the City Council for the first 19 years of Sammamish’s existence (and four times mayor), I finally retired two years ago. Now I am on a steering committee setting up a Sammamish Senior Center and have volunteered to start a Senior Center book club. In order to provide some focus before our first meeting, I decided to select the first book to be read and discussed. Naturally I selected Second Watch which is my favorite of your J.P. Beaumont books. I am accumulating a dozen or so copies to give to the initial club members and had a thought. Could I bring them to you to autograph them ahead of giving them out? What a great way to kick off the Sammamish Senior Center Book Club!

  22. The physician in Second Watch Dr. Merritt Auld was the father of my good friend and I was wondering what the story is behind selecting that character? The Merritt Auld I knew was a physician in Yankton S. D. I can’t help but wonder if your family had some connection with him when living in Watertown.
    Of course I love all your books especially the characters..I feel I know them all and they are my neighbors

  23. I love your books J A Jance and I must tell you that Second Watch in my opinion is truly your best ever. I especially enjoy JPB stories and to have read this heartfelt prequel with real mixed in with fiction was amazing. I began as a fan living and working in the Seattle area and now in retirement live in AZ so it all comes close to home. I picked up Second Watch recently in our local thrift store and what a treasure. It is first edition, autographed by you and Bonnie for someone named David. This tome will remain on my bookshelf and not be recycled back to thrift as others are. Thank you for your work, your research and especially for your wonderful writing. I enjoy your work tremendously and absolutely devour each book.

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