Tag: Storylines

Peter James – Dead Man’s Time | Review

TitleDead Man’s Time

Author: Peter James

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 504

Rating 3.75/5

 

 

Dead Man’s Time is another installment in James’ Roy Grace series in which we follow the Brighton-based detective as he investigates a crime spanning 90 years. It all goes back to a murder that took place in New York City in 1922, and I quite liked the way that the two different time periods came back together, especially towards the end. It was kind of anticlimactic in a way, but it was also the only real ending that could have happened.

It’s also interesting how the bad guys in this book aren’t actually all that bad, although they do their fair share of bad things. If anything, the main bad guy in this is the one who had it in for Roy Grace and who was out to get him and his family, a story line that took place in tandem with the main story but which wasn’t necessarily a part of it.

The main story, though, basically follows what appears to be a burglary gone wrong in which an old woman is tortured until she’s on the brink of death. They also take all of her art, her antiques and her valuables, leaving Roy Grace stuck trying to track it down in a race across time across Brighton and, later on, elsewhere in the world.

 

 

I don’t think that this is Peter James’ best book, but then I’ve read quite a few of them by now and you’re always going to find some books that are better than others in any series. It’s still worth reading though, and while you don’t need to read them all in order if you don’t want to, you will get a little bit more from the story if you do. Not from the crime at the centre of it perhaps, but certainly from the back story. When I read it, there were characters there that I knew would be dead or in jail a few books down the line.

What I will say is that even though I’ve read over a dozen of James’ books (including two 500+ page books in the last couple of weeks), I’m still enjoying them, and I’m probably going to pick up another 600-pager next weekend as I’ll be spending a lot of time travelling. James’ writing is sleek and easy to absorb, and at the same time it’s not intimidating. I don’t read his books and wonder how anyone could have ever written them. I just read them and enjoy them and then look forward to the next one.

So would I recommend this? Of course I would, but I would suggest reading through them in order if you can just so that you don’t spoil yourself for some of the storylines that come in alongside the mysteries. And it was cool that James included references to charities and other organisations that support some of the issues raised.

 

 

Click here to buy Dead Man’s Time.

 


Peter James – Dead Like You | Review

Title: Dead Like You

Author: Peter James

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 648

Rating: 5*/5

 

Peter James - Dead Like You

Peter James – Dead Like You

 

I’ve been getting really into Peter James of late, partly because his books are so good and partly because he seems so approachable on social media. He’s a best seller with a proven reputation and a busy schedule, so it’s nice to see that he takes time to speak to his fans.

In this book, Roy Grace investigates a bizarre sex crime which reminds him of a similar case – the Shoe Man – from back in 1997. The narrative jumps between the past and the present, but it’s not confusing and it works well, becoming a vital part of the story as a whole. It’s hard for authors to pull that off, but James does it well here.

He also does a cracking job of showing how the antagonist’s mind works, and while he’s shrouded in mystery throughout, you still get a sense of why he is how he is, and why he does what he does. And he stands out in my head as one of the best bad guys that Roy Grace and his team have had to deal with. There’s a real sense of menace that pervades throughout the book, and it helps to draw you in and absorb you.

 

Peter James

Peter James

 

And, despite the number of pages in the book, it’s not too difficult to read and you’ll feel like you’re speeding your way through. It also helps that the past and the present are both sectioned off in the layout, which means that you quite often whizz through a couple of pages because there’s nothing much printed on them.

You also have to take your hat off to James for the level of research that he puts in, and I was impressed that he used the bad guy’s shoe fixation for literary effect by describing the different fancy footwear that each of the female characters was wearing. It needed that level of detail, and James managed to do it in such a way that it added to the overall sinister vibe of the story in the first place.

And one of the good things about Peter James’ work is that you don’t necessarily need to read it in chronological order. You can dip in and out to suit you, which means you can do what I did and slowly build up an entire collection of the Roy Grace novels from charity shops alone. That also means that you can start with whichever book you want, and I’d say that of all of the books I’ve read so far, this one is probably the best for an overall introduction into Grace’s murky Brighton underworld, as well as his characters, their flaws and their aspirations.

 

Peter James - Dead Man's Footsteps

Peter James – Dead Man’s Footsteps

 

Of course, with any book like this, you may want to watch out if you’re a more sensitive sort, or if you usually avoid things with trigger warnings. For me, I thought it worked, but some of the depictions could well be too graphic for some people. But then, if you’re already a fan of crime novels then you probably know what to expect. James isn’t particularly innovative – he’s just solid, and consistent. That’s what he’s good at, and that’s why I like to read him. You’ll never get a bad book.

But overall, I thought this book was fantastic, and one of my favourite crime novels in general – and not just out of James’ back catalogue. Roy Grace is in fine form, as always, and even the supporting characters are not only realistic and believable but also three-dimensional. They’re not just there to move the narrative along – they have storylines of their own, and it’s always interesting to see what they’re getting up to. Unpleasant for them, perhaps, but good for keeping the reader entertained from start to finish. So read it!

 

Graham Bartlett and Peter James - Death Comes Knocking

Graham Bartlett and Peter James – Death Comes Knocking

 

Click here to buy Dead Like You.

 


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