Tag: Chickens

Peter James – Need You Dead | Review

Title: Need You Dead

Author: Peter James

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 502

Rating 4/5

It’s been a while since I’ve read a full-length Peter James novel, although I picked up The Perfect Murder, a standalone novella, towards the middle of last month. I actually picked this one up because I filmed a YouTube video where my cat picks my TBR, and this is one of the books that Biggie chose.

The story here follows an investigation into a murder where there are a bunch of different suspects, some of them more plausible than others. We also get an insight into what happens when the police are forced to investigate one of their own. Peter James does a hell of a lot of research and so you can bet that the stories he tells are grounded in reality.

This is also a relatively recent addition to the Roy Grace series, and while you can read the books as standalones, it’s a better idea to read them in order if you can. Don’t do what I did and just pick them up from charity shops as and when you see them because you can end up spoiling yourself on some of the backstory that’s continuing to develop alongside each of the cases that the Brighton police force takes on.

For example, in this book, Roy Grace has to deal with an important funeral and he also ends up basically taking in a son that he didn’t know he had. That also reminds me that there were a few bits that didn’t quite tie up here, like the fact that the assistant commissioner can speak German but isn’t comfortable with Grace knowing that. I can only assume that he’ll deal with it in a future release, and I look forward to finding what it’s all about.

As for this book, I don’t think it’s James’ best and there were a couple of points at which my mind started to wander and I wasn’t wholly absorbed by the story. With that said, on the whole I thought it was still pretty good, and it can only be a good sign that it only took me a couple of days to read it. And I would of course recommend it, but I’d also suggest following the series in order if you can.

Peter James is also an approachable guy on social media, and he even has a YouTube channel where he interviews other authors and talks about his books. It’s through his Instagram that I learned that he has his own chickens, and it was pretty cool to see that Roy Grace has them, too. I think the main thing that I like about reading Peter James is that you can see how his real life experiences go into his writing, and I feel like I can learn from it.

If you haven’t read any Peter James – and any of his Roy Grace books in particular – you should.

Click here to buy Need You Dead.

Andrew Johnson – Factory Farming | Review

Title: Factory Farming

Author: Andrew Johnson

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 274

Rating: 3*/5


Andrew Johnson - Factory Farming

Andrew Johnson – Factory Farming


The first thing to mention is that I read this book as part of the research for a new novel that I’m writing called Meat. Meat is set on a factory farm, and so I picked up this book as one of the half-dozen or so most well-reviewed non-fiction books I could find about factory farming and its effects.

There were two main problems with this book. The first was that it was perhaps overly technical, which caused by eyes to glaze over from time to time and which stopped me from absorbing as much of the information as I potentially could have. The author has a very dry writing style which conveys a lot of facts but which doesn’t really bring them to life. The other problem was that by now, it’s quite a few years out of date. I haven’t checked the publication year, but from the legislation that it covers I’d guess it was written in 1989 or so, around the time I was born.

Still, I did learn some fascinating stuff, predominantly around the different tests that have been carried out on the capacity of animals to feel pain. There was one test that found that cows would rather brave the cold at -20C to sleep on straw rather than sleeping in the warm on a metal grid, and another that found that chickens get so bored that given the choice between completing a task (such as pecking a target) for food and simply being given it, they’d rather work for it.


Factory Farm

Factory Farm


Click here to buy Factory Farming.