Left You Dead by Peter James

20th July 2021.

It’s been a year since I read the last book in the Roy Grace series, but it’s been worth the wait. Once again Peter James has delivered another clever and twisting story that grabs you from the first chapter and never lets go.

Eden Paternoster nips into the local supermarket and disappears. It’s not the first time she’s played games with her husband Niall. Only it’s no game when he’s arrested on suspicion of her murder. As Roy Grace begins the investigation, he has his own problems to deal with when his son Bruno is hit by a car outside his school gates.

As both threads of the story unfold, it soon becomes clear that something is awry with Eden’s disappearance. Struggling to maintain his focus, yet needing to work to distract himself from his personal problems, Roy Grace slowly pieces together a tangled web of deceit that leads to another breath taking climax on the cliffs of the Sussex coast.

Everything I’ve come to expect from Peter James is here – the direct, easy to read style, characters I’ve come to know and love, the procedural detail that gives his writing that authentic ring, and plots that always intrigue and throw up the unexpected.

It all adds up to pure reading pleasure.

Description

Niall and Eden Paternoster start their Sunday the same way they always do – with a long drive, a visit to a country house and a quick stop at the local supermarket on the way home.

But this Sunday ends differently – because while Niall waits and waits in the car park for Eden to pick up supplies, Eden never returns. She’s not waiting for him at home, and none of their family or friends have heard from her.

Gone without a trace, Niall is arrested on suspicion of her murder. When DS Roy Grace is called in to investigate, it doesn’t take long to realize that nothing is quite as it seems – and this might be his most mysterious case yet . . .

Left You Dead by Peter James

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.

Description

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.

Find Them Dead by Peter James

Dead at First Sight by Peter James

24th December 2019.   4 stars.

You know you’re always going to get an original and topical plot with Peter James. With the fifteenth and latest outing in the Roy Grace series, it’s internet romance fraud and the havoc it wreaks on lonely people. On the surface, it doesn’t sound like a subject made for thrills, but when victims begin to fight back against the fraudsters the body count starts to rise.

And then there’s the welcome return of assassin, Tooth. He returns to Brighton, tasked with eliminating a couple of the bad guys by their former employer. Only Tooth’s not at his best.

Even though it lacked the pace and suspense of many of the Roy Grace novels, I enjoyed the story and the continuing struggles he has with his slimy boss, Cassian Pewe. The story’s easy to read and follow as the various characters head for the final showdown in the countryside. It looks like it could be mayhem, but Peter James always has a couple of welcome twists up his sleeve to make you gasp and smile.

While not the best of the series, Dead at First Sight remains an entertaining read with a serious message, highlighting the dangers of internet romance. There is humour, great writing and plenty of twists and turns from an author at the top of his game. He even leaves some unanswered questions from Grace’s private and work lives, so it will be interesting to see where the story goes from here.

Thoroughly recommended.

Description

You don’t know me, but I thought I knew you . . .

A man waits at a London airport for Ingrid Ostermann, the love of his life, to arrive. Across the Atlantic, a retired NYPD cop waits in a bar in Florida’s Key West for his first date with the lady who is, without question, his soulmate. The two men are about to discover they’ve been scammed out of almost every penny they have in the world – and that neither women exist.

Meanwhile, a wealthy divorcée plunges, in suspicious circumstances, from an apartment block in Munich. In the same week, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to investigate the suicide of a woman in Brighton, that is clearly not what it seems. As his investigations continue, a handsome Brighton motivational speaker comes forward. He’s discovered his identity is being used to scam eleven different women, online. The first he knew of it was a phone call from one of them, out of the blue, saying, ‘You don’t know me, but I thought I knew you’.

That woman is now dead.

Roy Grace realizes he is looking at the tip of an iceberg. A global empire built on clever, cruel internet scams and the murder of anyone who threatens to expose them.

Dead at First Sight

Dead If You Don’t by Peter James

9th October 2019.   4 stars.

When you read a Roy Grace novel, you’re guaranteed an intriguing plot with many strands and some neat twists to wrong foot you. This one also incorporates a change of pace as the kidnap of a boy brings time pressures that crank up the tension and work rate of the police.

I enjoy the detail of the police procedures and the way the author brings mundane, but essential legwork to life. The characters too are carefully crafted and believable, especially the bad guys who are particularly menacing. The story moved between the various bad guys, the victims and the police, keeping the tension high as time began to run out for the kidnap victim, leading to an exciting climax with Grace risking his life once more.

While all the author’s trademarks are present in the story, the change of pace affected the balance between the investigation and the backstory. The short time span meant there was little room for the running backstory of Grace’s family life, which was a bit of a shame. However, his ongoing battle with his boss, Cassian Pewe, reached new and enjoyable heights.

Highly recommended.

Description

Kipp Brown, successful businessman and compulsive gambler, is having the worst run of luck of his life. He’s beginning to lose big style. However, taking his teenage son, Mungo, to their club’s big Saturday afternoon football match should have given him a welcome respite, if only for a few hours. But it’s at the stadium where his nightmare begins.

Within minutes of arriving at the game, Kipp bumps into a client. He takes his eye of Mungo for a few moments, and in that time, the boy is gone. Then he gets the terrifying message that someone has his child, and to get him back alive, Kipp will have to pay.

Defying instruction not to contact the police, Kipp reluctantly does just that, and Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is brought into investigate. At first it seems a straightforward case of kidnap. But rapidly Grace finds himself entering a dark, criminal underbelly of the city, where the rules are different and nothing is what it seems . . .

Dead if you Don't

Need You Dead by Peter James

26th September 2019.  5 stars.

I’ve enjoyed every novel in the Roy Grace series. With an imaginative and complex plot, fascinating insights into police procedure and a few surprises as the story hurtles towards the climax, Need You Dead continues the consistent high standard of stroytelling I’ve come to expect from Peter James.

So, who killed Lorna Belling?

With suspects starting to form an orderly queue, this is not going to be a simple case for Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, who has problems of his own to overcome. While Grace finally puts the mystery of his ex-wife, Sandy, to bed, it’s only the start of more demanding challenges. With Assistant Chief Constable Pewe watching his every move, the pressure on Grace leads to more than a few sleepless nights.

With several suspects and an intricate plot that makes them all potential killers, the story kept me guessing right up to the breathtaking climax, delivering an unexpected, but satisfying twist I didn’t see coming.

This is quality writing, populated with strong, believable characters, delivered with pace and panache to provide yet another exciting instalment in the Roy Grace series. While all the novels work as standalones, reading the series from the start means each book delivers much more.

I would recommend this series to anyone as Peter James always delivers memorable, top quality crime fiction.

 

Description

Lorna Belling, desperate to escape the marriage from hell, falls for the charms of another man who promises her the earth. But, as Lorna finds, life seldom follows the plans you’ve made. A chance photograph on a client’s mobile phone changes everything for her.

When the body of a woman is found in a bath in Brighton, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to the scene. At first it looks an open and shut case with a clear prime suspect. Then other scenarios begin to present themselves, each of them tantalizingly plausible, until, in a sudden turn of events, and to his utter disbelief, the case turns more sinister than Grace could ever have imagined.

Need You Dead

Love You Dead by Peter James

26th June 2019    5 stars.

My thoughts

This is one of the best, most enjoyable and original of the Roy Grace series so far. Faultless and accomplished, this is an author at the peak of his abilities, thoroughly enjoying the story he’s written. The joy shines through every chapter, every page and paragraph as Jodie Bentley works her way through rich husbands with consummate skill and conviction.

Then there’s the return of Tooth, one of my favourite hitmen with deadpan humour, a no nonsense approach to business and a complete lack of empathy. Tooth doesn’t do pity. Neither does Jodie, who’s more than a match for him.

At times, it seems like Roy Grace is on the sideline, still trying to resolve his last case with a serial killer still on the run and pressure from management. But Jodie’s no ordinary killer and seems quite capable of eluding Tooth and Grace, helping to crank up the tension for a fantastic finale with some heart-stopping moments.

And finally there’s the master stroke – the sign of a great author, showing his mastery of characterisation and story. I won’t spoil it by revealing what it is, but it’s inspired. To fully appreciate it, you need to have read the series from the beginning, though this book still works as a standalone.

This is a brilliant series, strong on police procedure, authenticity and original plots. The characters are beautifully drawn, whether friend or foe, and there’s always so much more going on than the murders.

Love You Dead is my favourite so far and highly recommended.

Description

An ugly duckling as a child, Jodie Bentley had two dreams in life – to be beautiful and rich. She’s achieved the first, with a little help from a plastic surgeon, and now she’s working hard on the second. Her philosophy on money is simple: you can either earn it or marry it. Marrying is easy, it’s getting rid of the husband afterwards that’s harder, that takes real skill. But hey, practice makes perfect . . .

Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is feeling the pressure from his superiors, his previous case is still giving him sleepless nights, there have been major developments with his missing wife Sandy, and an old adversary is back. But worse than all of this, he now believes a Black Widow is operating in his city. One with a venomous mind . . . and venomous skills. Soon Grace comes to the frightening realization that he may have underestimated just how dangerous this lady is.

Love You Dead is the gripping twelfth book in Peter James’ Roy Grace series.

Love You Dead Peter James

Dead Man’s Time by Peter James

25th February 2019 – 5 stars.

I love the Roy Grace series because you can rely on Peter James to deliver a classy crime thriller with an intriguing, well-researched plot, interesting characters and plenty of tension and thrills. Every novel is different, but with the familiar threads of the backstory developing and changing with each entry in the series.

This novel has revenge and greed at its heart as the theft of valuable of antiques leads to a brutal murder that kicks off a chase to recover the most valuable and personal possession of all. The resultant mayhem and murders of those involved in the theft leads to New York for the exciting climax.

Meanwhile, back home in Brighton, a far more sinister threat lurks as a hardened villain seeks revenge on Roy Grace, his girlfriend Cleo and their baby. The tension is relentless and kept me on edge throughout the story.

This is one of many fine threads in another complex, beautifully constructed crime thriller from an author who delivers on every level.

While you can read this as a standalone, to get the maximum benefit of the characters and relationships, you should start with Dead Simple, the first in the series.

Description

Some will wait a lifetime to take their revenge. . .

A vicious robbery at a secluded Brighton mansion leaves its elderly occupant dying. Millions of pounds’ worth of valuables have been stolen.

But as Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, heading the enquiry, rapidly learns, there is one priceless item of sentimental value that her powerful family cherish above all else. And they are fully prepared to take the law into their own hands, and will do anything – absolutely anything – to get it back.

Within days, Grace is racing against the clock, following a murderous trail that leads him from the shady antiques world of Brighton, across Europe, and all the way back to the New York waterfront gang struggles of 1922, chasing a killer driven by the force of one man’s greed and another man’s fury.

Dead Man’s Time is the ninth novel in the multi-million copy bestselling Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series, from the number one chart topper, Peter James.

Dead Mans Time

Not Dead Yet by Peter James

4th December 2018 – 5/5 stars.

Peter James always comes up with original plots that entertain, intrigue and delight. This time, it’s the world of the superstar singer/actor that gets the Roy Grace treatment as Brighton born Gaia returns to her home town to make a film.

Little does she know that there’s an embittered writer who believes his script was stolen and an obsessive fan that will go to any lengths to be number one and meet Gaia. And with a dismembered body discovered on a poultry farm, the stage is set for another exciting crime story that twists and turns as it builds to an action-packed climax.

Apart from the superlative detail the author puts into his novels, he creates some brilliant and memorable characters, getting into their minds to bring them to life with great skill. Whether it’s an obsessive fan, an obnoxious film producer or a coke-snorting actor, these characters are so vivid and believable. And then there’s Roy Grace’s team with its camaraderie, tensions and odd but likeable characters, like the anachronistic Norman Potting.

The detailed descriptions of Brighton Pavilion, the film sets and trailers and the lives of the main characters add to the enjoyment of a story that offers a couple of intriguing subplots to threaten the cosy life Roy Grace is building for himself with Cleo. I look forward to following the backstory in the next novel, alongside another intriguing investigation.

If you haven’t read Peter James, where have you been? I’d urge you to start at the beginning of the series with Dead Simple so you can follow the development of the characters through the series. It will improve your enjoyment of all the books.

(And I resisted the temptation to mention fowl play.)

Description

For LA producer Larry Brooker, this is the movie that could bring the fortune that has so long eluded him . . .

For rock superstar, Gaia, desperate to be taken seriously as an actor, this is the role that could get her an Oscar nomination. . .

For the City of Brighton and Hove, the publicity value of a major Hollywood movie being filmed on location, about the city’s greatest love story – between King George IV and Maria Fitzherbert – is incalculable.

For Detective Superintendent Roy Grace of Sussex CID, it is a nightmare unfolding in front of his eyes. An obsessed stalker is after Gaia. One attempt on her life is made days before she leaves her Bel Air home to fly to Brighton. Now, he has been warned, the stalker may be at large in his city, waiting, watching, planning.

Not Dead Yet is the eighth novel featuring Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, from the number one bestselling author Peter James.

Not Dead Yet

Dead Man’s Grip by Peter James

21st October 2018. 5/5 stars for another inventive plot and stylish addition to the Roy Grace series.

The story starts with a road accident that spirals out of control when the police discover the victim belongs to a New York Mafia family. His mother decrees that everyone involved in the accident should suffer. Tooth, a pragmatic, no nonsense hitman sets off for Brighton to deliver the contract.

This was the first Peter James novel I ever read several years ago. I enjoyed it on that occasion, but the book made a much greater impact this time around. Having read the previous six Roy Grace novels, I had a better appreciation of the characters, the setting and the backstories, which made for a more fulfilling read..

I love the detail Peter James incorporates into his stories, whether it’s police procedure, the description of the various settings or the little things that bring the characters to life. Of course, the main characters have personal issues and problems that test them as they struggle to keep pace with Tooth, who must be one the best hitmen I’ve come across in crime fiction. While he’s a ruthless assassin, this is offset by a dry, dark humour that underpins every appearance he makes.

The pace and action accelerated towards a nail biting climax in Shoreham Harbour that left me breathless. And like most of the Roy Grace novels, there was still time for a final sting in the tail at the end.

Simply brilliant.

Description

I want them to suffer, and I want them dead. . .

Carly Chase is still traumatised after being in a fatal traffic accident which kills a teenage student from Brighton University. Then she receives news that turns her entire world into a living nightmare.

The drivers of the other two vehicles involved have been found tortured and murdered. Now Detective Superintendent Roy Grace of the Sussex Police force issues a stark and urgent warning to Carly: She could be next.

The police advise Carly her only option is to go into hiding and change her identity. The terrified woman disagrees – she knows these people have ways of hunting you down anywhere. If the police are unable to stop them, she has to find a way to do it herself. But already the killer is one step ahead of her, watching, waiting, and ready …

Dead Man's Grip

Dead Like You by Peter James

5/5 stars. The final scenes are heart stopping, defying me to put the story down. Of course I didn’t.

My thoughts

From the moment you start reading, you know Peter James will deliver an authentic, well-researched thriller with an original plot, filled with surprises. In this story, he puts stranger rape under his microscope, offering an attacker with a fetish for expensive shoes.

Is it the same man who wreaked havoc on Brighton’s women in the past?

The numerous flashbacks to the previous unsolved case interrupted the smooth flow of the story in the early stages, but once the current investigation gained momentum it was difficult to put the book down. I lost count of the times I promised myself just one more chapter.

The final scenes are heart stopping, defying me to put the story down. Of course I didn’t.

One bonus of the flashbacks was the glimpse into his marriage to Sandy and why it floundered. This contrasted with his present relationship with Cleo, which is beautifully captured.

This is one of the many great moments Peter James brings to his novels. I love the detail about the expensive shoes, which must have taken some researching, about the incident rooms and the many strands of investigation followed by the various members of the team. It proves that you don’t need to break the procedural rules to write great crime.

And this is another great crime story.

5/5 stars

Dead Like You

Description

Don’t imagine for one moment that I’m not watching you . . .

The Metropole Hotel, Brighton. After a heady New Year’s Eve ball, a woman is brutally raped as she returns to her room. A week later, another woman is attacked. Both victims’ shoes are taken by the offender . . .

Detective Superintendent Roy Grace soon realizes that these new cases bear remarkable similarities to an unsolved series of crimes in the city back in 1997. The perpetrator had been dubbed ‘Shoe Man’ and was believed to have raped five women before murdering his sixth victim and vanishing. Could this be a copycat, or has Shoe Man resurfaced?

When more women are assaulted, Grace becomes increasingly certain that they are dealing with the same man. And that by delving back into the past – a time in which we see Grace and his missing wife Sandy still apparently happy together – he may find the key to unlocking the current mystery. Soon Grace and his team will find themselves in a desperate race against the clock to identify and save the life of the new sixth victim . . .

Dead Like You is the sixth novel in the multi-million copy bestselling Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series from number one author Peter James.