Categories
Crime Fiction Mark Bailey Peter James Reviews

Review: Peter James – Want You Dead

Peter James – Want You Dead

UK Hardback: 400 pages (June 2014) Publisher: Macmillan ISBN: 9780230760585

UK EPUB: (June 2014) Publisher: Pan ISBN: 9780230760615

UK Paperback: 400 pages (October 2014) Publisher: Pan ISBN: 9781447270287

Peter James - Want You Dead
Peter James – Want You Dead

Red Westwood meets Bryce Laurent through an online dating agency. He seems to be handsome, charming and rich and there is an instant attraction. But as their relationship continues the truth about his past and the dark side to his personality begin to emerge. Everything he has told Red about himself is a lie and her infatuation with him turns to terror. But Bryce is obsessed with her, and he intends to destroy everything and everyone she has ever known and loved – and then her too . . .

As usual with Peter James’ Roy Grace novels this is crime fiction for those who like to have well-rounded detectives with a believable private life. The life of Roy Grace is advancing on slowly from book to book so there is very little gap between titles – this means Roy Grace has a long time to go until retirement.

The short snappy chapters are still there that are a Peter James trademark (120 chapters in 400 or so pages) are still there so you find it hard to put it down – you do tend to think I have time for just one more chapter.

This one probably could be read as a starter as the links to the past are a bit less prominent that in previous books but if you are reading the series in sequence then there is a cliff hanger at the end to hook you for the next book.

Overall, any Roy Grace novel by Peter James will always float to the top of my to-be-read pile for the foreseeable future.

My copy was provided by the publishers, Pan Macmillan, via Netgalley.

Categories
Arnaldur Indridason Carlo Lucarelli Christopher Fowler Declan Burke Euro Crime Hakan Nesser Mark Bailey Nigel McCrery Peter James Peter Robinson Year-End Review

Year-End Review: 2011

Favourite Discovery of 2011

Absolutely the best thing that I have read this year is Carlo Lucarellis De Luca trilogy (Carte Blanche (Carta Bianca), The Damned Season (L’estate Torbida) and Via delle Oche ) – small delicately shaped morsels (the longest is 160 pages and all three together are shorter than your typical doorstop novel).

In the last days and aftermath of World War II Italy, the world of Commissario de Luca, a fundamentally good man driven by a desire for justice who is (and has been) forced by circumstance to work for people with evil in the hearts is, to my mind, one of the great creations of modern crime fiction. I have the award winning TV movie adaptions on my to-be-watched list for Christmas and can’t wait.

 

Best of 2011

Of the new releases in 2011 (either in paperback or hardback), I would recommend (not in any particular order)

  • Outrage by Arnaldur Indridason (the 9th book in the series but using Elinborg rather than Erlendur as the chief protagonist)
  • Bad Boy by Peter Robinson (the 19th Inspector Banks novel)
  • Dead Man’s Grip by Peter James (7th Detective Superintendent Roy Grace novel)
  • Bryant & May and The Memory of Blood by Christopher Fowler (9th book about Arthur Bryant, John May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit)
  • The Inspector and Silence by Hakan Nesser (5th Chief Inspector Van Veeteren book)
  • Scream by Nigel McCrery (3rd Chief Inspector Lapslie novel)
  • Down these Green Streets edited by Declan Burke(an anthology of essays and short stories on Irish crime fiction)

They reflect my liking for police procedurals.

 

Categories
Adrian McKinty Cath Staincliffe Christopher Fowler Crime Fiction Edmund Crispin Euro Crime Helene Tursten Ian Rankin Jo Nesbø John Harvey Mark Bailey Martin Edwards Peter James Peter Robinson Reviews W J Burley Year-End Review

Year-End Review: 2012

Of the new releases in 2012 (either in paperback or hardback), I would strongly recommend (in alphabetical order by author as I don’t want to choose an order)

  • Fowler, Christopher – BRYANT & MAY AND THE INVISIBLE CODE (10th novel about Arthur Bryant, John May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit – another strong Bryant & May novel with a very intricate plot with lots of twists and turns; some new characters (some of which are almost fantastical) are introduced to set up for the future which he has got a 2 book deal for starting with BRYANT & MAY AND THE BLEEDING HEART).
  • James, Peter – NOT DEAD YET (8th Detective Superintendent Roy Grace novel)
  • Nesbo, Jo – THE BAT (the 1st Harry Hole novel chronologically – it was nice to see the back plot to the later novels explored in more depth)
  • Rankin, Ian – STANDING IN ANOTHER MAN’S GRAVE (Rebus is back – I read it in a day and loved it)
  • Robinson, Peter – BEFORE THE POISON (not a DCI Banks book but it takes the well-used idea of somebody becoming obsessed with solving a decades-old murder and executes it very well)

 

Other 2012 releases that had good points were

  • McKinty, Adrian – THE COLD COLD GROUND (the 1st Sean Duffy novel set in 1980s Northern Ireland; yes I am biased as I go past most of the places in this novel on my train to work every day but this is an assured police procedural in the main – the next book (I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET) is just out as I write and if it is just a tad better then that is one of my 2013 best reads sorted)
  • Staincliffe, Cath  – DEAD TO ME  (the 1st Scott and Bailey tie-in novel by Cath Staincliffe; yes this is a tv tie-on but it captures the characters and is compellingly written)
  • Tursten, Helene – NIGHT ROUNDS (the 4th Irene Huss novel; this is a good novel but I have seen the first 6 Swedish TV movie adaptions so I spoilt it for myself).
  • Wanner, Len – THE CRIME INTERVIEWS VOLUMES ONE AND TWO (These are available most easily for Kindles but if you like tartan noir, they are a good insight into how authors minds work as they have interviews with 19 crime writers between the two volumes)

 

‘Blasts from the past’ series reread or read for the first time in 2012 are

  • Crispin, Edmund – the Gervase Fen series (I re-read these in the Summer. They are whodunit novels with complex plots written in a humorous, literary style with references to English literature, poetry, and music; my favourites are THE MOVING TOYSHOP (1946) and FREQUENT HEARSES (1950) – it is a crying shame that Crispin went 25 years between the penultimate and the last novel in the series).
  • Burley, W J – the Wycliffe series (I remember the tv series with Jack Shepherd well and recently bought them on DVD but had never read the books; yes they are dated and even the later ones read like those written in the 1970s (they were 22 written from 1968 to 2000) but they are also tightly plotted concisely written books with a great sense of place and a complex main character)
  • Edwards, Martin – the Lake District Mystery series (these were a new read for me and as said elsewhere on the website these are very classy page turners with a good sense of history and the area it is set in – the English Lake District)
  • Harvey. John – the Charlie Resnick series (I am just over halfway through re-reading this quality police procedural series set in Nottingham in the late 1980s and 1990s in the main – the last one was published a decade later in 2008)

 

Again, they reflect in the main my liking for police procedurals.

Categories
Crime Fiction Euro Crime Mark Bailey Peter James Reviews

Review: Dead Man’s Time by Peter James

Dead Man's Time by Peter James
Dead Man’s Time by Peter James

Dead Man’s Time by Peter James, June 2013, 416 pages, Macmillan, ISBN: 0230760546

DEAD MAN’S TIME is the ninth in the series of Detective Superintendent Roy Grace novels by Peter James.

In 1922 New York, 5-year old Gavin Daly and his 7-year old sister Aileen board the SS Mauritania to Dublin and safety – their mother has been shot and their Irish mobster father is missing. A messenger hands Gavin a piece of paper and his father’s pocket watch – on the paper are written four names and eleven numbers, a cryptic message that haunts him then and for the rest of his life. As the ship sails, Gavin watches Manhattan fade into the dusk and makes a promise that he will return one day and find his father.

In Brighton in 2012, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace investigates a savage burglary where an old lady has been murdered and ten-million-pounds worth of antiques taken including a rare vintage watch. To his surprise, the antiques are unimportant to her family who care only about the watch. As his investigation continues he realizes he has stirred up a mixture of new and ancient hatreds with one man at its heart, Gavin Daly, the dead woman’s 95-year-old brother. He has a score to settle and a promise to keep which lead to a murderous trail linking the antiques world of Brighton, the Costa del Crime fraternity of Spain’s Marbella, and New York.

Again, Peter James produces crime fiction for those who like to have well-rounded detectives with a believable private life. The short snappy chapters are still there (126 chapters in 416 pages) but so is the slight hint of unrealism in the significant figure from his past and this is dragging on far too much and it really is the case now that you will appreciate this book much more if you read the series in sequence.

The other issue with this book for me is that the ending did seem rather too reliant upon coincidence to tie up the loose ends rather the intervention of Grace and his team.

Mark Bailey, July 2013

Originally published at EuroCrime

Categories
Crime Fiction Euro Crime Mark Bailey Peter James Reviews

Review: Not Dead Yet by Peter James

Not Dead Yet by Peter James

UK Hardback: 560 pages (June 2012) Publisher: Macmillan ISBN: 9780230747265

UK EPUB: (June 2012) Publisher: Pan ISBN: 9780230764897

UK Paperback: 624 pages (September 2012) Publisher: Pan ISBN: 9780330515578

 13538698

NOT DEAD YET is the eighth in the series of Detective Superintendent Roy Grace novels by Peter James and follows on from the events of DEAD MAN’S GRIP for Roy Grace and his team.

 

The worlds of Tinseltown and Brighton clash as a movie adaption of the relationship between King George IV and Maria Fitzherbert hits town.

This is a make or break project for LA producer Larry Brooker who is on the verge of insolvency.

This could be the project that enables Gaia to make the shift from rock superstar to serious actress.

The City of Brighton and Hove relishes the publicity value of a major Hollywood movie being filmed on location there which could be incalculable for tourist revenue and attracting future films.

For Gaias number one fan, it is the chance to cement their relationship.

These events collide to become a nightmare for Detective Superintendent Roy Grace when an attempt on the life of Gaia is made days before she leaves her Bel Air home to fly to Brighton (her home town) so he has to juggle the hunt for a potential obsessed stalker in his city with an ongoing murder investigation with very few leads and the continuing pregnancy complications of his girlfriend, Cleo.

Also the significant figure from his past is now getting much closer to home.

 

This is crime fiction for those who like to have well-rounded detectives with a believable private life.

One question which immediately springs to mind is who is Gaia based upon – Peter James did confirm in an interview on BBC Breakfast that he saw Gaia as a cross between Madonna and Lady Gaga  (still online at the moment at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00vb9b1 – at least in the UK)

The short snappy chapters that are a Peter James trademark (127 chapters in 560 pages in the hardback edition) are still there so you find it hard to put it down – you do tend to think I have time for just one more chapter.

The slight hint of unrealism is still there especially in the significant figure from his past who I do hope is brought to the fore in the next book as that back story is starting to drag on quite a bit.

Once again I would say that it is a very good read that engages you from the first page and I, for one, am looking forward to the next novel in the series – I would stress that it is becoming more the case that you will appreciate it much more if you read the series in sequence.

This review originally appeared at Euro Crime

 

Categories
Crime Fiction Euro Crime Mark Bailey Peter James Reviews

Review: Dead Man’s Grip by Peter James

Dead Man’s Grip by Peter James

Hardback: 544 pages (May 2011)

Publisher: Macmillan  ISBN: 978-0230747258

15deadmansgrip

Dead Man’s Grip is the seventh in the series of Detective Superintendent Roy Grace novels by Peter James.

Roy Grace and his team investigate a road traffic accident in Brighton, Sussex where an American student Tony Revere has died of his injuries after his bicycle was shunted into the path of an articulated lorry. Was this entirely an accident or was there a deeper motive is one of the questions that Roy Grace and his team have to ask as the investigation escalates down dark avenues.

The novel is primarily concerned with the consequences of that accident for the family of Tony Revere, Carly Chase (a solicitor specialising in divorce law) who swerved to avoid him and crashed into a café window, for lorry driver Stuart Ferguson who had been driving for more hours than is legally permitted and the unknown driver of the white van who either accidentally or deliberately shunted Tony Revere into the path of Stuart Fergusons lorry.

It is also concerned with Roy Graces private life where his girlfriend, Cleo, is having complications with the pregnancy of their child, his work is becoming less investigative and more paper work (a change he does not like), and a significant figure from his past reappears and looks like they will be returning in a later book.

This was a real page turner for me with the short snappy chapters that are a Peter James trademark (115 chapters in 544 pages in the hardback edition for this book) which I find that you just have to continue reading. Some of the plot strands do tends towards being significantly less realistic than has been the case in previous Roy Grace novels but overall it is still a very good read that engages you from the first page and I, for one, am looking forward to the next novel in the series.

Dead Man’s Grip can be read as a standalone novel but you will appreciate it more if you read the series in sequence.

This review originally appeared at Euro Crime