Find Them Dead by Peter James
9th August 2020. 5 stars.
Roy Grace takes something of a back seat as the story focuses on the trial of a ruthless drugs baron who will do anything to escape justice. All he needs to do is lean on a couple of jurors to ensure the jury returns a not guilty verdict.
Meanwhile, back from an exciting six months with the Metropolitan Police, Grace resumes his battle with his nemesis and boss, Cassien Pewe. The brother of a key witness in the trial is brutally murdered and Pewe wants results.
The Crown Court proceedings dominate much of the story, but they’re exciting, tense and delivered with the level of detail I’ve come to expect from the author. I really felt for Meg Magellan, singled out to be the juror that will persuade the others to deliver a not guilty verdict, even though she believes he’s guilty on all counts. With threats to kill her daughter weighing on her mind, the tension and danger is palpable as she wrestles with her conscience and fears.
Then, just when you think it’s all over, the author throws in another of his masterful double twists to surprise and delight you. It made up for the moment where I had to suspend my disbelief during one scene.
While this is classic Peter James with his eye for detail, accuracy and a convoluted plot, he’s not afraid to try something a little different and tackle another area of the justice system.
I thoroughly enjoyed Find Them Dead and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys police procedurals.
Ending his secondment to London’s Met Police, Roy Grace gets a tip-off about a county lines drugs mastermind operating out of Brighton. On his first day back in his old job in Sussex, he is called to a seemingly senseless murder.
Separately, Meg Magellan finally has her life back together, five years after the car crash that killed her husband and their son. Her daughter, Laura, now 18, is on her gap year travelling in South America with a friend, and Meg misses her badly. Laura is all she has in the world.
In between jobs, Meg receives a summons for jury service. She’s excited – it might be interesting and will help distract her from constantly worrying about Laura. But when she is selected for the trial of a major Brighton drugs overlord, everything changes.
Gradually, Grace’s investigation draws him increasingly into the sinister sphere of influence of the drug dealer on trial. A man utterly ruthless and evil, prepared to order the death of anyone it takes to enable him to walk free.
Just a few days into jury service, Meg arrives home to find a photograph of Laura, in Ecuador, lying on her kitchen table. Then her phone rings.
A sinister, threatening stranger is on the line. He tells her that if she ever wants to see Laura alive again, it is very simple. At the end of the trial, all she has to do is make sure the jury says just two words . . . Not guilty.
Tags: Crime fiction, East Sussex, Peter James, Police procedural, Roy Grace, Thriller