Title: Picture You Dead

Author: Peter James

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 454

Rating: 4/5

I’m a big fan of Peter James and his Roy Grace books, and this latest instalment in the series is a cracking reminder of why that is.

That’s because it has everything that you might want from a crime novel, from a fascinating case to a gripping plot full of twists and turns and a bunch of memorable characters. For this latter point, we’re not just talking about the police force either, although it’s certainly true that James has written enough books by now that picking up another one is like catching up with some old friends.

Now, let’s talk about the title. James has a habit of using similar titles for each of his books, to the point at which I often find it difficult to tell whether I’ve read them or not. They all include a nod at the plot, though, and this one is no different.

The basic idea here is that a couple of car boot enthusiasts find an old painting at a bargain price. They actually buy it because they like the frame, because they think that the painting itself is vile. Then they leave it out in the sun and some of the paint is destroyed, only to reveal another painting beneath it.

That painting turns out to be worth £5 million, and perhaps more if it can be reunited with the other paintings in the series that it’s a part of. And that’s pretty much the crux of the plot, with the addition of a criminal mastermind who wants to get his hands on the painting, and by any means necessary.

I don’t want to tell you too much more because I don’t want to ruin the plot for you, but you can rest assured that with Peter James, you’re in safe hands. He has a real knack for storytelling, and it’s not a natural gift. It’s something that he’s worked at throughout a lifetime, and if you read some of his older work and compare it to this one, you can see how much he’s improved.

The only downside is that you’ll probably want to read the Roy Grace series in order. True, each book can act as a standalone, and this one is no different. At the same time, there’s also the continuous plot of the cops and their private lives to think about, and that’s a thread that runs from one book to the next.

If you skip in and start with this one, you’re in for a ton of spoilers, and there’s a risk you won’t want to continue. So don’t.

Learn more about Picture You Dead.