Peter James - Shastrix Books

Peter James

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Dead Man's Time

Dead Man's Time

Peter James

4th May 2017

The most disturbing opening chapters to a book I've read for a long time. Everything seems to be going wrong and the world feels a pretty grim place, especially as we see into the minds of villains setting out crazy schemes. Part of it is that there are so many plot threads, and all of them are dark ones.

Fortunately the book moves past that as what is ostensibly the main plot gets moving. An elderly lady has been robbed, and beaten. And it's up to our protagonist, Det Supt Grace, to solve the crime.

However that plot doesn't really feel like it's the main focus of the effort in this novel. Instead it seems like it's just there as a structure to hang the secondary plots, and there are at least four, around - moving characters into the right places for those to unfold. And this novel does make some pretty big changes to those soap-opera sub-plots that have been running through the series.

Overall, an entertaining read once the depressing start has been passed, but not quite on the level of the earlier books in terms of the actual mystery itself.

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Not Dead Yet

Not Dead Yet

Peter James

19th April 2016

Book eight in the Roy Grace series (a series which I strongly recommend be read in strict chronological order) sees the now Detective Superintendent called in when a body is found without arms, legs or head in the waste product produced by a chicken shed. Simultaneously, his bosses challenge him to manage security arrangements for a major Hollywood star making her new movie on his patch.

As usual, it's a great complex plot with a rich number if threads to follow that give the reader just enough information to be tantalising close to piecing everything together, but still being one step away until the final moment.

The character work continues to be fascinating as well, spinning out a little into some of the minor characters and exploring their lives as they become more prominent parts of the plot. There are also some new events in the ongoing storyline that ties the books together that surprised me, and pointed to more interesting things to come.

I think my favourite thing though about the book is its pacing. The use of lots of very short chapters means you never get bogged down while reading and always feel like continuing, and reading just one more before your train pulls in.

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Dead Man's Grip

Dead Man's Grip

Peter James

6th December 2015

The sixth book in Peter James' series of Brighton-based crimes investigated by Roy Grace brings us back to the detective shortly after the end of his last adventure, with a lot going on in his personal life. A tragic traffic incident leads to a murder investigation that snowballs beyond what might be expected, leading to a thrilling story.

I absolutely raced through this story, aided by the structure of many short chapters which mean it's easy to keep going right until the train arrives into the station rather than stop at a convenient point in expectation.

The story has an interesting set up and this leads too a fascinating range of characters to deal with and a series of events that I think did become a tad too fantastical. One of the things I liked best about this novel is how James is building up a world and a continuity between his books with multiple threads which you can imagine coming together at some point. He has a great talent for intrigue and dropping little hints that gradually grow as you put two and two together. It's really clever that a story that isn't really a mystery as the reader gets all the points of view can still end up surprising you.

So overall a really great addition to the series that's made me very excited to keep reading in the hope that various things will pay off in the books to come.

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Dead Like You

Dead Like You

Peter James

5th April 2015

The sixth Roy Grace novel returns us to Brighton, where the characters personal life continues to move on in a nice bit of added realism. There's some new colleagues making his work life easier too, and the only problem is the rapist that seems to have reappeared after a fourteen year absence, who Grace is tasked with tracking down.

As crimes go, it's as good as any from earlier in the series and has a perfect balance of viewpoints, character interaction and growth, and enough of a mystery to keep the reader guessing along with the characters, which makes it a more enjoyable read than some of the earlier novels. I really liked seeing into the minds of the various suspects while still not knowing which of them was the guilty party, and finding out about each of their backstories and what possible motivations they might have.

James is a master of the thrilling crime novel at the top of his game. The short chapters that have irritated me in the past were perfectly formed this time and didn't bother me one bit. A really good read with parts that I hope continue to foreshadow things to come in later novels.

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Perfect People

Perfect People

Peter James

8th November 2014

This is the first book by Peter James I've read outside of his Roy Grace series of detective novels, and I wasn't sure what to expect. It's the tale of a couple who find they are both carriers of a genetic disease, and their attempt to have a child that doesn't inherit those genes. It's an exploration of the concept of designer babies, and looks at some of the possible things that would arise.

It's one of the most interesting novels I've read in a while, despite really being more within the thriller genre that crime, and one of the few recently that I've found I wanted to keep reading when I got home in the evening rather than reserve just for my train journeys. The short chapters that James uses make for a very fast feeling plot and really keep the reader engaged.

There are some disturbing scenes - but I've come to expect that from a Peter James novel, and actually I'd predicted that something like that would be coming up, but it's still a bit shocking when it comes. I'm not really sure how the plot makes me feel over all, and I'm not sure either quite what moral the author was planning to put across, if indeed any - if the book was intended to change or challenge my own views on genetics though I'm afraid it didn't feel believable enough for that.

A very enjoyable, if dark, and interesting read throughout, which I'm glad I read. I'm still nervous though about picking up any more of Peter James' novels if they're going to be as intense as this.

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Dead Tomorrow

Dead Tomorrow

Peter James

14th April 2014

Fifth in the series and absolutely huge in hardback, I couldn't put it down. The balance of Roy Grace's home and work life is perfect as he investigates a body dredged up from the channel as well as entering a new phase in his life.

I really love how every set up manages to keep the reader guessing - there's no point that the plot becomes obvious, there are always multiple routes that it can go, and I really enjoy it when it seems that things are going to go a certain way and James throws in a twist that takes things a different route.

The ongoing story of Grace's personal life continues strongly - this is one of the best crime series I read in this respect. One of the guest characters in this book is fantastic - Lynn - who, without giving away too much, really grows through what she experiences in a way that is touchingly authentic.

The plot is original, believable, shocking as always, and the narrative contains just enough gruesomeness to stay interesting without putting the reader off. I very much enjoy the series and look forward to visiting the characters again.

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Dead Man's Footsteps

Dead Man's Footsteps

Peter James

12th December 2013

Book four in the series is just an engaging as the first three. While more of a procedural novel than a mystery, there are puzzling aspects and it's more a question of seeing how the jigsaw comes together.

This book sees detective Roy Grace investigating the death of a body found in a storm drain, while simultaneously dealing with a new colleague who seems to be out to get him. The author manages to cleverly weave together two plot strands several years apart to create a narrative that flows really well.

The first third of the book is quite focused on the main character and serves to re-establish and deepen his backstory a little. There's certainly a feeling throughout the series so far that it's building up to something and it's almost painful having to wait to find out what it will be. Obviously as I write, there are another five books already available in the series, but they are quite chunky and I generally dislike reading consecutive books back-to-back.

After that the book moves much more solidly into this plot and some of the character stuff seems to get forgotten about. This didn't interfere with the flow as I read, but looking back felt a bit weird. Overall an enjoyable and interesting read from a series I'm certainly planning to continue with.

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Other reviewed books

Not Dead Enough
Looking Good Dead
Dead Simple

Unreviewed books

Billionaire
Dead If You Don't
Love You Dead
Need You Dead
The Truth
Want You Dead
You Are Dead

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