Looking Good Dead

December 2017

5/5 stars. Peter James’ meticulous research is legendary, creating a world filled with memorable characters and authentic detail


One single act of kindness becomes an endless reign of terror. . .

Tom Bryce did what any decent person would do. But within hours of picking up the CD that had been left behind on the train seat next to him, and attempting to return it to its owner, he is the sole witness to a vicious murder. Then his young family are threatened with their lives if he goes to the police. But supported by his wife, Kellie, he bravely makes a statement to the murder enquiry team headed by Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, a man with demons of his own to contend with.

And from that moment the killing of the Bryce family becomes a mere formality – and a grisly attraction. Notice of Kellie and Tom’s deaths has already been posted on the internet. You can log on and see them on a website. They are looking good dead.

My thoughts

As Peter James has written 13 novels in the Roy Grace series, I’ve joined the party a little late, but that hasn’t spoiled my enjoyment. I liked the imaginative premise and storyline and plot of Dead Simple, the first Roy Grace novel, but loved Looking Good Dead.

With great skill and insight, the author weaves in the details that bring Roy Grace and his demons vividly to life. The disappearance of his wife, Sandy, still troubles him and prevents him from moving on. His admission of consulting a psychic medium for help with a case has become national news with the media ridiculing both Grace and Sussex Police. Naturally, his boss isn’t amused, threatening to transfer him away from his beloved Brighton unless he solves the case of the dismembered body, found headless in a field.

After finding a CD on a train, Tom Bryce, reports the vicious killing he finds on the disc and makes himself and his family targets for the killers.

Peter James’ meticulous research is legendary, and allows him to create a world filled with memorable characters and authentic detail. He took me into the heart of an incident room to follow the officers in the squad and their relationships with each other as they work tirelessly, often at great cost to their personal lives, to bring killers to justice. It adds both depth and authenticity to this thriller, as officers race against time to prevent more deaths.

The mix of personal and professional lives, combined with comment on modern policing, media hostility and funding cuts, created a vivid picture of the police today, and the additional struggles officers face in carrying out their duties. Mix in an original plot, populated by some truly evil killers and this novel delivers on every level.

While I may have arrived late, I’m certainly enjoying the party and looking forward to spending a lot more time there.

5/5 stars

Looking Good Dead

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