Review: You Are Dead by Peter James

Tuesday 19 May 2015
Title: You Are Dead (Roy Grace, #11)
Author: Peter James
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication Date: 21st May 2015
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9781447255741
Rating: 4.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
The last words Jamie Ball hears from his fiancée, Logan Somerville, are in a terrified mobile phone call. She has just driven into the underground car park beneath the block of flats where they live in Brighton. Then she screams and the phone goes dead. The police are on the scene within minutes, but Logan has vanished, leaving behind her neatly parked car and mobile phone.

That same afternoon, workmen digging up a park in another part of the city, unearth the remains of a woman in her early twenties, who has been dead for thirty years.

At first, to Roy Grace and his team, these two events seem totally unconnected. But then another young woman in Brighton goes missing - and yet another body from the past surfaces.

Meanwhile, an eminent London psychiatrist meets with a man who claims to know information about Logan. And Roy Grace has the chilling realization that this information holds the key to both the past and present crimes . . . Does Brighton have its first serial killer in over eighty years?

The latest Roy Grace novel from Peter James is always one of the highlights of the reading year, and so I was incredibly thankful to Best Crime Books for passing on her review copy. See her review here and be sure to follow Best Crime Books on Twitter if you don't already!

You Are Dead begins with two events that at first seem unconnected. The first being the kidnap of a young woman and the second the discovery of a woman in her early twenties, believed to have been dead for thirty years. When another woman goes missing and another body from the past surfaces, Roy Grace and his team have no idea what they are up against.

If asked to name my favourite thing about the Roy Grace series, near the top of my list would definitely be the level of detail in which Peter goes into police procedure which adds to the overall authenticity and very few authors I think achieve that realism in the way that Peter does with this series. I enjoy following the team on a case more in these novels than in most others. Another highlight is the Brighton setting, a place that I have never visited but I imagine that if I did, I would instantly recognise landmarks and places because of the way the city has been vividly described throughout this series.

Minor spoilers but you know when you meet a character in a book and instantly mark them down as the bad guy? I did that here almost instantly but the real strength of You Are Dead was in its brilliant characterisation, Peter James creating a realistic and believable sociopath. I finished the book hoping that Grace's Brighton would find itself with another serial killer very soon as it was a truly gripping tale. I did find myself waiting for a couple of killer twists that in the end never materialised, and at times the red herrings and false leads followed by the police were just so obviously false but other than that, brilliant.

Returning readers will remember the introduction of Cassian Pewe and the events at the end of Want You Dead revealed that Pewe was about to become Grace's boss. I enjoyed the rivalry between the two, exacerbated thanks to Pewe's history with Grace's missing wife Sandy. In terms of the relationship between these two characters there were a number of little surprises in You Are Dead, particularly towards the end. The spoiler police can pipe down as I won't elaborate but I hope to see Pewe play a larger role in the next novel. Also returning are Glenn Branson and Norman Potting, Branson being one of my favourite secondary characters in the crime genre and Potting sadly returning for the funeral of a much-loved character.

Now: Sandy. Unless you are fully up-to-date with the series I would suggest not reading on. At book eleven you might expect this storyline to finally be given some closure, but if anything Peter James has once again ended it on a cliffhanger. I think. It is impossible to discuss what happens in regards to Sandy but at the end of Want You Dead there were some quite major developments concerning her! For me the Sandy storyline cannot end until we get that killer showdown with her and Grace, and so Peter James cannot end it as he did with You Are Dead, it just didn't feel right. Peter is the master storyteller and so I assume he knows what he is doing, let's see what happens in book twelve before talking any further! I would love to know what readers think of the storyline once they finish the book so come back and let me know.


1 comment:

  1. Sooooooo glad you think the same Shaun....WTF!?!?!?!?


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