Title: Dead Letter Drop

Author: Peter James

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 256

Rating: 3/5

This book is Peter James’ first ever novel, and to be honest, you can tell. Published in 1981, it’s an espionage thriller that’s written in the first person, the latter of which was probably my main problem with the novel. It’s hard to get first person right, and if the reader doesn’t get on well with the narrator then it’s all over before it’s even begun.

There were some good ideas though and it was certainly a high octane read, with a lot of action and short, snappy chapters and a ton of blank pages separating them throughout, so that despite its 256 pages, it’s more of a novella than a novel. That’s unusual for James, because his more recent work is typically twice the length, at least in terms of page count. It’s probably more than twice the length when it comes to the word count.

For me, the part of this that I enjoyed the most was the introduction, where James talked about the circumstances surrounding the creation of this book. Basically, Ian Fleming had died and there was a gap in the market for espionage novels, and so he decided to plug it.

And so whatever you think about the characters and the plot (I HATED the name “Sumpy”), it is at least a great example of an author writing to market. There’s something that we can all learn from that.

Learn more about Dead Letter Drop.