Review: Want You Dead by Peter James (5/5)

Monday, 2 June 2014
The 10th book in Peter James' multi-million-copy selling crime series, featuring the definitive Brighton detective, Roy Grace.

IF HE CAN'T HAVE HER, THEN NOBODY CAN . . .

Virtual romance becomes a terrifying obsession in Want You Dead . . .

Single girl, 29, smouldering redhead, love life that's crashed and burned. Seeks new flame to rekindle her fire. Fun, friendship and – who knows – maybe more?

When Red Westwood meets handsome, charming and rich Bryce Laurent through an online dating agency, there is an instant attraction. But as their love blossoms, the truth about his past, and his dark side, begins to emerge. Everything he has told Red about himself turns out to be a tissue of lies, and her infatuation with him gradually turns to terror.

Within a year, and under police protection, she evicts him from her flat and her life. But Red's nightmare is only just beginning. For Bryce is obsessed with her, and he intends to destroy everything and everyone she has ever known and loved – and then her too . . .


I received this book for free in return for my review, and I hope that this review does the book justice. I found it a hard one to write as Peter James is one of my all time favourite authors and I have very high expectations when it comes to his work. With a Peter James book I expect the writing and storytelling to be impeccable and second to none. He is one of the best crime writers out there. The writing, as strong as ever and the story as gripping as ever. Certain stories didn't progress as much as I would like them to but that's a fault with me not the author or the book. This review will also contain 'spoilers' for those that haven't read previous books.

The Roy Grace series is one of the best, and one of my favourite crime fiction series of all time and I was very excited to read this book. Grace is a fascinating character and one that I just could never tire reading about. Along with Tom Thorne, Mark Heckenburg and Robert Hunter I think I have a pretty good bunch where favourite detectives are concerned. Grace is about to get married and is the very proud father of a new baby. I was interested to see how he was coping with this. Fans will know that Grace is the sort of police officer who is completely consumed by his job, everything else comes second. It caused untold problems between him and Sandy (more on her in a minute!) and Grace fears the same could happen between him and Cleo, though she does seem pretty understanding throughout this book when work gets in the way. I do like them as a couple, when they first got together it felt a bit forced to me but I love their relationship now and hope it lasts long into the future.

Now, Sandy... For the first few books I was gripped by this storyline. Where is she? Is she alive, dead, kidnapped, murdered, ran away? The reader is left as confused as Grace and as eager to find out what happened as he is. A few books ago however James revealed to the reader just where Sandy has been all of these years, however it has been dragged out over the past few books to the point where I am just screaming inside for Sandy to reveal herself to Roy. But at the same time Grace has ended previous books on some of the best cliffhangers I've ever read so at the same time I want the storyline to draw to a close but I love the cliffhangers!

Sandy does feature in this book, in a big way in some ways but in others it's very brief. This is where my confusion over how to rate this book comes in, I just felt that with book ten there would be a bit more closure regarding this storyline rather than once again a snippet or two and a cliffhanger. That said the cliffhanger was the best one yet and has left me dying to read book eleven. It was definitely a case of reading the cliffhanger and realising there were no pages left in the book and being furious! And so I suppose as Peter is the talented author and I am just the reader his skill of manipulating and hooking the reader in is definitely working! After the events of this book regarding Sandy I have no idea what will happen next. As much as I want her to reveal herself I think once/if it happens I will miss that aspect of the books! So I clearly have no idea what I want to happen with Sandy!

As for the storyline I think it was a good one but by no means his best. It was certainly gripping and all too believable in this day and age. Red Westwood has left her abusive ex Bryce Laurent and is in police custody. Bryce however is living in the same building, and has access to pretty much every aspect of Red's life. Her keystrokes are logged, her phone calls and texts intercepted and he knows where she is every hour of every day. Bryce is also some sort of super magician, and there were some questionable sleight of hand aspects but I guess that's the whole point, when I see it on TV I'm left dumbfounded. One of my favourite parts of the book were the chapters from Bryce's point of view. I always love crime fiction which lets you get inside the psychopath's head and the bits here were certainly quite gripping. Bryce is a very disturbed and scary individual and one I wouldn't want stalking me!

For most of the book though I felt Bryce was all talk, he kept saying what he was going to do but not actually doing it however something then happened which left me speechless. Sometimes I think writers are a bit hesitant to write certain storylines and it's so hard to say more without giving it away but I definitely wasn't expecting a certain storyline which occurred here! After that it was fair game and I had no idea what Bryce would do next and couldn't read quick enough to find out. Also featured of course are the brilliant characters from previous books including one of my favourites Glenn Branson and the brilliant but awful Norman Potting, who actually went up in my estimation in this book. There's also the return of one of Grace's nemesis's who is about to become his boss, awkward! This leads Grace to question his future in the police and he worries that he may be pushed out. Towards the end of the book something significant regarding this does happen and I can't wait to read more in the next book.

I think Peter's fans will agree this is a solid read and very worthy of the asking price. You know with a Peter James book you are in for a brilliant read, just don't go into it expecting closure regarding Sandy. Just another massive cliffhanger that will tease you for the next 12 months! Well I say 12 months, there is another Roy Grace next year, right?!

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