Tag: Peter James

Peter James – Denial | Review

Title: Denial

Author: Peter James

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 502

Rating: 3.75/5

I was pleasantly surprised by this book because it’s one of the older Peter James books on my pile and I’ve found them to be kind of hit and miss, with the quality varying widely without really seeming to vary depending upon when he actually wrote the things. Most of his books have some theme or another in them and so perhaps it depends more on what his theme is than on the book itself.

Here, you can probably guess the theme based on the title of the book. The story follows the son of a well-known film star and basically covers the unhealthy way in which he comes to terms with his mother’s death. Pretty unusually, we know that the kid is the bad guy right away, and we see things from his perspective as he goes around carrying out his revenge for society’s perceived wrongs against his mother.

It’s a pretty decent thriller novel to be honest, and while I’m not exactly the biggest reader of thrillers, there was still plenty here to keep me reading. In fact, despite the fact that it’s pretty massive, I flew through it in a couple of days and was left surprised by just how easy it was for me to get through it. Sure, there weren’t a ton of characters that I liked and related to, but the story line alone was enough to get me going.

I think a big part of that was down to the way that the antagonist here was so fully fleshed out, even though he was kind of crazy. I also liked the way that he incorporated fate into his crime spree, in this case by flipping a coin to decide his next move. I kind of want to play with that myself, so perhaps I’ll work it into a story.

I like the idea of a novel that’s based on the character as opposed to the plot in which I start by fleshing out the character and allow fate to guide the plot. Every time my character flipped a coin, I’d flip a coin, and that would decide the action that the character takes and thus the plot. The only problem is that I’m usually a plotter as opposed to a pantser, and so it would be an alien process to me.

All in all then, as you can tell, I enjoyed reading this book and it gave me a lot of food for thought. The enjoyment level was so-so, but I think it punched above its weight when it comes to the ideas that it shared. That for me is more of a testament to James’ ability than anything else, and so far I’ve almost always found him to be worth reading, although I’ll also admit that there are better writers out there.

So would I recommend it, then? Yeah, probably, especially if you like thrillers. You’ll like it!

Learn more about Denial.

 


Peter James – Faith | Review

Title: Faith

Author: Peter James

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 470

Rating: 3/5

This is another one of James’ lesser hits, which is kind of unsurprising because I’ve never found his standalones to be particularly strong. I guess I’m a Roy Grace fan more than a Peter James fan, although I am still slowly but surely working my way through everything he’s written. It’s just that this definitely isn’t at his best in this one.

Part of that is probably because of the characters. We’re mostly focusing on a manipulative plastic surgeon and his doormat wife, who he basically uses as a walking portfolio. Bad things start to happen to them, but really who cares? If anything, the fun in this story comes from watching their lives slowly fall apart.

Other than that, there’s not a great deal to say about this one. It’s a pretty competent thriller I guess, but I don’t really have much time for competent thrillers because there are so many of them out there and they’re all basically the same. In fact, by the time I was a third of the way through this, I was asking myself why I was still reading. But I’m a completionist and I’m trying to work my way through everything that Peter James ever wrote, and so I had to keep on keeping on anyway or my brain would have hated me.

And that brings us on to something of a problem for me, which is that I need to write another 200 words to finish off this review. But there’s just not much to say, to the point at which my favourite characters were some of the minor ones who didn’t really get as much air time as I think they deserved.

What more can I say? It was competent but not for me, and I feel as though even if you are going to read Peter James, you shouldn’t start with this one. Read some of the Roy Grace books instead, or if you’re not into crime then perhaps it’s worth checking out The House on Cold Hill. I think that one’s even been turned into a stage play, which could be worth checking out.

So would I recommend this one? Not really, I’m afraid. It was just a bit of a filler read for me, and I’m hoping that the next one that I pick up will be more memorable. I can’t say that this was awful or anything like that, but I do think that if you ask me about it in six months, I won’t remember a thing. That’s actually surprisingly common and it’s hardly the first time I’ll have read a book and immediately forgotten it. Shame it happened with an author that I actually quite like though, but eh.

Learn more about Faith.