You Are Dead by Peter James
8th May 2019 – 5 stars.
There is no doubt that Peter James is a superlative writer with his original plots, great characters, and his attention to detail and procedure. He captures my attention in the first few paragraphs and never lets me go until the last final twist.
Every novel in the Roy Grace series is excellent, but a few transcend this and You Are Dead is one of those. The story is unnerving with a serial killer who’s both frightening and twisted, yet seems to fit into society without drawing attention to himself or his actions. He also seems more than capable of eluding the police for years to come, as he has already done.
This raises the stakes. This is no ordinary killer and Peter James takes you into his mind to show the ego and vanity alongside the cold brutality of his actions. Chilling stuff.
Yet you never lose hope that Roy Grace will catch him and the climax is as thrilling as any of the others in the series. And then that final twist to make you shudder …
There are surprises in the backstory involving his first wife, Sandy, which still has plenty of legs, storing up danger and trouble for the future, I suspect.
Peter James paints such vivid pictures of Brighton, the police investigation and the warped killer that this book is both a joy to read and a scary reminder that a mass murderer could be lurking in our midst.
They were marked for death.
The last words Jamie Ball hears from his fiancée, Logan Somerville, are in a terrified mobile phone call. She has just driven into the underground car park beneath the block of flats where they live in Brighton. Then she screams and the phone goes dead. The police are on the scene within minutes, but Logan has vanished, leaving behind her neatly parked car and mobile phone.
That same afternoon, workmen digging up a park in another part of the city, unearth the remains of a woman in her early twenties, who has been dead for thirty years.
At first, to Detective Superintendent Roy Grace and his team, these two events seem totally unconnected. But then another young woman in Brighton goes missing – and yet another body from the past surfaces.
Meanwhile, an eminent London psychiatrist meets with a man who claims to know information about Logan. And Roy Grace has the chilling realization that this information holds the key to both the past and present crimes . . . Does Brighton have its first serial killer in over eighty years?