I've spent the day totally engrossed. Roy Grace is back and Peter James is at the top of the game again with a plot which, unexpectedly, starts in New York in 1922. I was a little disappointed by one of the recent books in this series. Grace, although beset by his missing wife 'baggage', was on the brink of becoming comfortable and the plotting was less convincing and a little predictable.
But make no mistake, this tale blows you away. Gangland New York sets the scene; from there the plot and characters move seamlessly back and forth in 'soundbite' style chapters, weaving together the links and intricacies. Every character is plausible. I could 'see' the seedy and slightly down at heel antique knocker as a person. I could smell fear when things went wrong. The truly chilling Apologist is in a league of his own. Peter James has created a series where the characters have dimension and relevance. The reader can understand and empathise with their conflicts and is interested in how the key characters develop and move on in their lives. Grace, the career cop, has a new family. We can appreciate what that means to him and understand his motivations and the difficulties that difference in responsibility brings. Tension builds palpably. The plotting is both creative and compelling and the climax is gripping.
For me, Peter James is one of a handful of writers who has mastered the complexity of plot and pace. This story has both, in spades. Intrigue and suspense supported by real dialogue that flows from one page to the next and you have everything for a totally compelling tale. I was totally involved and my only disappointment isthe wait for another one. Brilliant read, loved it!
Edited to add, whilst this is the most recent in the series, it works well as a stand alone read; sufficient backfill for a new reader to follow the threads of subplots which runs through the series.