Dead If You Don’t by Peter James

5 Stars from me!

The fact this is the 14th book in the series certainly hasn’t diminished it’s shine. For me, one of the signs of a great author is whether or not they can make you care if someone lives or dies and I found myself racing through the pages desperately hoping that Mungo would survive his ordeal.

Peter James seemingly captures everything in this novel, his references are all current, his knowledge and detail are incredible and – while Roy Grace is like a comfy pair of slippers – the story is fast paced, interesting and exciting. I can’t recommend these books enough. If you are new to this series, I envy you enormously as you’ve got 14 fabulous books to read through!

 

Synopsis: Roy Grace, creation of the CWA Diamond Dagger award winning author Peter James, faces his most complex case yet in Dead If You Don’t.

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 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 off Mungo for a few moments, and in that time, the boy disappears. 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 in to 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 . . .

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Love You Dead by Peter James

screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-13-50-424 stars from me

Is it so bad that I was routing for the killer a lot of the time?

I loved this different take on a murderer. It wasn’t someone depraved who murders for the fun of it, or someone awful and grubby who murders to cover up a crime or a rape, in Love You Dead by Peter James we have a murder who murders as a means to an end.

It puts a whole new slant on the process. She isn’t aiming to hurt anyone or cause anyone undue pain, she isn’t seeking revenge, she is simply viewing people as a commodity, a disposable commodity, and using them accordingly.

Running through this story is the ongoing tale of Roy and Sandy, finally though in Love You Dead we reach an element of conclusion which has, for me, been a long time coming. There is obviously yet more to unfold from this sub-story but I am glad the main ‘dangling carrot’ has been removed. Without wishing to give spoilers – the bit with the fish lost this book it’s final star in the review!

Overall, exactly what you want from a Peter James novel. Roy Grace is a fabulous character and I feel I could read back to back novels as fast as the author could pen them!

 

Synopsis: 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.

Dead Letter Drop by Peter James

4Dead Letter Drop Stars from me

Right up until about 3/4 of the way through this book I was fully intending to give it 5 stars as it was really good – but then towards the end it just kind of drifted, loose ends got lazily tidied up and rather random disconnected storylines seemed to get bundled together.

Dead Letter Drop was Peter James‘ first novel and I think bearing that in mind I can forgive some of the more cliched elements of the story – the almost naff MI5, playboy, macho, studly, oh so undercover lead character for example.

Having said that, if you put the naffness to one side then it is a very enjoyable read, take the plausibility with a pinch of salt and you’ll find yourself whizzing through to the pages in no time.

For a first novel, much like a first crush, I’m sure Mr James is a little embarrassed by it – but I for one am thankful that the publishers had faith as this rough little diamond gave the author the encouragement and belief to keep on writing, which in turn lead to us readers being able to enjoy the Roy Grace series.

Synopsis: Max Flynn, undercover agent, has the unenviable job of spying on his own side. When to kill, who to kill, whether to kill are all questions which have to be answered at great speed if he wants to stay alive.

But why does an innocuous airline ticket No. 14B matter so much? Who has gone to the trouble of committing suicide? And could Flynn’s beautiful companion be a spy? The hazy, murky world of counter espionage leaves no room for errors of judgement and Flynn knows he’s finished if he makes one false move.

Denial by Peter James

Denial4 stars from me

I love reading through these old books by Peter James.

Even with the shocking typos and lack of continuity, (in Denial, the name of DS Glen Branson’s wife gets confused in several places, although we know her name is Ari she is frequently referred to as Grace!) the storylines in most of them are fabulous.

The central characters in the book, Thomas Lamark, Glen Branson and Dr Michael Tennent are all excellent in their differences; although each of them come at life with quite a self centric determination they all use it in a different way.

The Gloria/Cora elements of the story are quite touchingly poignant, the life of a faded star once society has discarded them. Sweet, yet sad.

The Gloria/Thomas relationship – just yuck! I was left wondering if Thomas would have been brilliant without the overbalance of ‘love’ from his mother.

I greatly enjoyed Denial, very much didn’t want it to end.

 Synopsis: Denial is a stunning thriller, a tense and claustrophobic story of what happens when we play with the minds of others.

When Thomas Lamark’s beloved mother takes an overdose rather than face the collapse of her acting career, Thomas decides that someone must be made accountable for what has happened. Something must be wrong with the world.

How could the psychiatrist his mother was seeing have let this happen? Doctor Michael Tennent has a lesson to learn.

 

For Thomas’ mother was a special person and Thomas loved her so very specially…

Possession by Peter James

3.5Possession Stars from me

Well, that’s two books in a row by traditional crime authors who have deviated from the norm. Completely unintentional (on my part) and I find myself wondering why they choose to do it. Maybe the standard crime thriller format grows weary to write after a while or maybe they just fancied a different challenge, either way I’m grateful.

I found Possession to be a little disappointing as I felt there were strong characters who didn’t really get a chance to shine and I felt that some storyline aspects just faded away into nothing when they held great promise. The Philip and Otto characters being good examples of this.

I would never have known I was reading a Peter James novel, which I hope is a compliment, such diversity of style is quite incredible.

I wasn’t left with a sense of the story being complete once I’d finished it – I do of course not mean the intentional part – more that an awful lot was left unexplained.

Overall, an excellent dip into the occult and its various practises, genuinely spooky/chilling in some parts and most definitely an enjoyable read.

Synopsis: After Fabian Hightower is killed in a car crash, his mother, Alex, an attractive and successful business woman, starts to have a series of increasingly terrifying psychic experiences.

Recently separated from her husband, she lives alone, surrounded by reminders of Fabian – a portrait, a gift of red roses sent before he died. She consults a medium, only to have the medium stop in mid-session and refuse to continue, terrified of something but unwilling to reveal what.

Alex becomes desperate; she is now haunted by Fabian at every turn, by his pleas of “Help me, Mother”. She begins to look into his past life, realising how little she knew her strange and beautiful son. What she finds at first worries and then sickens her.

The more she uncovers, the more she realises her safety, and even her life, are in jeopardy. Somehow, she knows, she has to free herself from Fabian’s spirit and from the cunning and evil that she is only beginning to understand…