Title: Left You Dead
Author: Peter James
Page Count/Review Word Count: 502
This is another of Peter James’ Roy Grace books, and while I say it every time, it’s still true that if you’ve read one of these books, you’ve pretty much read all of them. They’re all of a high standard and with a lot going for them if you’re into crime novels, and the characterisation and plotting is great, too.
In this one, the hook is that a guy drops his wife off at a supermarket to go and get some cat litter and then she never comes back out. For a while, he thinks that she’s mad at him for a minor argument and that she’s playing some sort of game, but it quickly becomes apparent that there’s something sinister afoot.
While all of this is happening, we also get some more of the ongoing backstory in the professional and private lives of Roy Grace and his team. In fact, that’s really the only thing that makes it worth reading these books in order, although you can still dip in and out if you want to. That’s how I’ve read them, but it has meant that it’s occasionally confusing or that you spoil yourself about something that’s coming up.
For example, by the time that we reach this point, one of Grace’s coppers is serving a jail sentence for being involved in an unexplained death. He sent a message to Roy at the end of the previous book with a cryptic hint that he had some info on Cassian Pewe, Grace’s superior, and we see what happens as a result of that here. But I don’t want to spoil it for you.
There’s also some stuff going on with Grace’s son Bruno – pretty dramatic stuff that I can’t say too much about without spoilers. But on the plus side, I never much liked him as a character, and I get the feeling that James didn’t like writing about him, either. Again, if you read the books out of order then this won’t mean much because you might not even know who Bruno is.
In fact, I have to say that this was unusual for a Roy Grace book in that it focused way more on the backstory and its development than it did on the main mystery. It got to a point where I was 300 pages in and I realised that nothing had really happened when it came to the main plot. But it is what it is.
And you shouldn’t let any of this put you off because it’s still a pretty good crime novel that’s worth reading. That’s especially true if you’ve read and enjoyed any of the Roy Grace books in the past or if you like a decent crime novel. There aren’t many authors out there who are as good at the genre as Peter James. I’m definitely glad that I read this one.
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