Tag: Brighton

Peter James – Dead Simple | Review

Title: Dead Simple

Author: Peter James

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 470

Rating 4/5

 

 

This is the first Peter James book, and I was actually quite impressed by how good it was. As a general rule, I’ve found that he got better and better as time went on, so I was surprised to find that his first was pretty good. The main problems that I spotted were a couple of typos, but they didn’t really hamper my enjoyment.

It was also interesting because it was set back in 2005, which would have been when it was written. Mobile phones had physical keypads on them and the smoking ban was yet to take effect. Then there’s the fact that we’re introduced to a bunch of characters that appear throughout the rest of the series, and so it was good to get to know them from that initial meeting.

The good news is that you don’t need to read them in order if you don’t want to, and I’ve just been picking them up every time I see them in charity shops. It’s not a bad way of doing it, but it’s also not the best, because you’ll spoil yourself for bits of the characters’ personal lives.

 

 

The plot in this one revolves around what at first glance appears to be a stag night prank gone wrong. The groom has been buried alive in a coffin and the stag party, the only ones who know where he is, have been killed in a car crash. Enter Detective Superintendent Roy Grace of the Brighton police force, as he tries to figure out what’s going on in a race against time.

There were plenty of twists and turns to keep you going throughout this novel, and I was also taken by surprise by the big reveal at the end. James does a great job of setting your expectations and then subverting them, and I think it’s that which makes him a decent crime writer. That’s especially difficult to pull off when, as in this novel, the reader gets to see from the point of view of the suspects, as well as the police force.

All in all, this was a pretty solid book and a decent start to the Roy Grace series, although I also think that it gets better over time. Seeing as it’s the first book in the series, I don’t know why you wouldn’t start here, but if you are tempted to skip in then that’s fine too. Just make sure that you come back to it eventually, because it really is worth reading. It’s a decent example of what a crime novel should be and I know it’s easy to say looking back, but it seems obvious he was destined for great things.

 

 

Click here to buy Dead Simple.

 


Peter James – Not Dead Enough | Review

Title: Not Dead Enough

Author: Peter James

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 626

Rating 3.75/5

 

 

This is another of Peter James’ Roy Grace novels and so as such, it follows Detective Superintendent Grace as he investigates a crime in his native Brighton. James is a Brighton native himself and he also spends a lot of time carrying out research so his books are as accurate as possible.

In this one, Grace has to investigate the murder of a socialite called Katie Bishop. The problem is that the main suspect, her husband Brian, seems to be innocent. Then things start to get a little bit weird, and I can’t really talk about it without sharing spoilers. Suffice to say, though, that the storyline touches on identity theft and family secrets. I’d also say that it’s one of those rare books where the investigation of the crime is more interesting than the crime itself.

In fact, I think that the most interesting part about this particular book is the side story. Each of the Roy Grace books can be read as a standalone, but you’ll get a little more out of it if you read them all in order. That’s because each of the books also covers what’s going on in the personal lives of many of Grace’s fellow coppers, but we also get a lot of Grace’s own back story including an update on his missing wife Sandy and a little bit of development when it comes to his current squeeze, Cleo.

 

 

Now like I say, I’ve read these out of order and so I kind of knew what to expect and what was coming, at least with the cops’ personal lives. Still, I’ve read enough of these books by now that I’m pretty attached to most of the characters and so it was a lot of fun to revisit them and to just hang out with them.

This is one of the longer Roy Grace books, and that poses a little bit of a problem because each of my reviews has the same number of words as the book has pages, and yet I don’t have much more to say about it because there wasn’t a whole load of stuff going on. I enjoyed reading it, but it didn’t seem to have as much substance as some of the others, so it was kind of like snacking on a big bag of crisps instead of eating a proper meal.

Because of that, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this one if you’re new to Peter James’ stuff, but if you’re working your way through the series then you also shouldn’t skip it either. It’s one of those weird books where there’s nothing necessarily wrong with it but where it feels as though it’s just business as usual. The good news is that I know from experience that the series continues to get better and to evolve and so you’ve got that to look forward to, too.

 

 

Click here to buy Not Dead Enough.