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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
As we are now in the grip (or not) of the World Cup, I would say in football parlance that for me, this book represented a game of two halves. Despite being a Peter James fan, and having read all of the previous Roy Grace novels, I found this not to be one of his best.

I found the shift away from Grace and his team as fairly prominent characters to almost bit players a negative move. It might have worked for me had I been taken with the main plot and the featured characters of Red and her sociopathic stalker ex, Bryant. As it was in the first half I found the plot too bogged down with repetitive detail, revealed via the counselling sessions with her therapist. I wasn't sympathetic to the character of Red, far from seeing her as a strong, independent character refusing to be a victim, I found her to be quite naive, if not stupid in her actions. For example, what female estate agent (given real life events) would deliberately falsify contact details in her work diary, before going to meet a client, a complete stranger, in an empty property. - especially when she knows her ex is a threat.

I was more engaged when the plot concentrated on Grace, his forthcoming nuptials to Cleo, and the team that we have come to know and in most cases love. Inevitably Sandy does make an appearance, though whether that story resolves itself I can't say. For me the novels are as much about their stories as the crimes they are investigating. The team come more into play once the plot becomes more focused on Bryant as a suspect, rather than what he intends to do and why.

Reading this review back, it feels very negative, but given how much I've enjoyed the others, it is my attempt to explain why I didn't like this as much. Peter James is a terrific writer, and this is not a bad book, it has all the drama, tension and shocks that you want from a good thriller, it just didn't do it for me, like some of his others. I'll still be waiting for news of the next one to see how things progress for Grace and his team.

I received my ebook via Netgalley in return for an honest review.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on 8 July 2014
Firstly, I would like to say that I have always been a big Peter James fan. I have read all of the Roy Grace series and have enjoyed them all immensely. I am however starting to feel that Peter is starting to run out of ideas. I know this is a winning formula for him, but the time has come for him to change things up a little. The whole Sandy thing needs to be brought to a conclusion. This is the carrot he continues to dangle in front of us in the hope that we will buy his next book. It's gone on for far too long already and I, for one have now run out of patience. I wouldn't mind if the main story was strong, but in this book it wasn't. The plots and the characters seem to be getting more bland and weaker every time.

In my view, James needs to revitalise the series by concluding the Sandy thing and take things in a whole new direction. Otherwise it's just the same old thing over and over!
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2014
Couldn't wait to start this book, wish I hadn't of bothered. Kept thinking it will get better, it didn't. Sorry, this is far the worse in the Roy Grace series, I even thought it might be a good idea to kill Roy off this time, glad he didn't, I'll give him another chance. The characters were awful, including the main heroine Red, didn't take to her at all. I think the Sandy story was good, but has run its course, I really wanted her to identify herself this time, maybe not exactly as the dream, that really would have been to laughable. Hope the next one is better.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 18 July 2014
Enjoyable enough, but I'm one of the disappointed I'm afraid. The villain has skills which would make Superman envious; the victim returns to work day-after-day having shrugged off several attempts on her life and threats to her family - and chooses to do the opposite of what any normal, terrified person might do in the same circumstances. Sack the therapist woman !
And why would Bryce want to kill Roy particularly ? Thank God for a bit of Van Morrison eh.
The Sandy thing has run it's course and whilst initially an interesting sub-plot, quite honestly, I'll be glad if what's suggested has happened to her does come to pass.
My other gripe is the "utopian" relationship between Roy and Cleo. The constant references to how deeply they love one another and the frankly saintish way in which his new Bride accepts the cancellation of her honeymoon. Or maybe I'm the odd one ? But the most annoying thing is the very un-characteristic way Roy speaks to Cleo; I think someone else has mentioned the "right back at you" response to (yet another) of Cleo's declarations of undying love. Very cringeworthy and un-Roy like.
I appreciate keeping things too real would make for quite a boring story, but the balance has been lost here and had started to shift out of kilter with the last couple of offerings.
By the way, was I supposed to know who the Irish inmate was at the end ?
On the plus side, I liked the short chapters - and I shed a tear whilst sucking on a Malteeser......
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 2014
Disappointing, repetitive and a bit boring...

The key characters both lack credibility - the 'heroine' (Red) has been saddled with a stupid name and a personality bypass as she is tedious to the point of being vacuous whilst the 'villain of the piece' (Bryce) appears to have superhuman abilities far above those that a magician would possess, he also fantasises about what he's going to do to Red far too frequently and in far too many words.

I'm also sick to death of Cleo and the sacharine sweet relationship between her and Roy Grace, now made even more unreadable by the birth of their son. Their domestic scenes contribute nothing positive to these books - all they do is make me feel more and more nauseous.

Every book has to retell the story of Sandy, who has now made a couple of guest appearances but has added very little to the storyline.

These novels are starting to become very samey with the only surprises coming from the untimely demises of various supporting characters...
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 13 June 2014
Well on the plus side it was a fast paced read which kept me on the edge of my seat, right until the end. On the negative side when it ended I felt deeply frustrated - like other readers I wanted to know more about the lives of the police characters and their families - especially Grace's lost wife Sandy, but like so often it ended on a cliffhanger forcing me to buy his next book - which will probably be more of the same!

The central story of Red and her demented ex Bryant wasn't enough to keep me interested - much of it was pretty predictable and Bryant was too much of a cartoon supervillain to be believable. I grew increasingly frustrated with the police's stupidity - they seemed to rely far too heavily on high tech gadgetry and too little on common sense. For example I could predict one obvious way a would be killer could trap a woman who works as an estate agent (think of a tragic real life case) - why can't the police on the case realise this and use it as a way to trap Bryant? (And if they had thought to install video cams and a silent alarm in her flat instead of relying on locks the mystery of Bryant's access could have been solved right from the start). As for Red - words fail me - this is a woman who insists on living in her flat (even though her murderous pyromaniac ex seems to have unlimited access to it), working at her job as an estate agent, going off to visit clients alone, who doesn't call the police after she escapes from a killer, who dislikes a 10K engagement ring because it is too 'bling' (maybe Bryant has a point :)) Are we supposed to root for this irresponsible idiot to be rescued when so many better people have lost their lives along the way?

James is trying to do too much, juggle too many storylines and ends up doing justice to none of them - possible threats to Cleo and Roy's wedding/Roy's enemy Cassian being brought in as his boss, Glenn's possible crush on Red, Bryant's attempt to frame a fireman, Sandy's possible reappearance to name but a few - in the end these just fizzle out into nothingness. I'm also getting thoroughly sick of Cleo and Roy's loved up happiness - especially as Cleo comes across as such a bland nonentity - so perfectly nice she doesn't even kick off when her honeymoon is cancelled at the last minute! Time to bring back stroppy Sandy?
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Want You Dead, Peter James, Macmillan, 2014, 405pp.

This is an interesting Inspector Roy Grace novel, but unfortunately it is time-sharing with the story of the decaying relationship between the young lady whose story dominates the novel, and her loony sociopath ex-boyfriend who is stalking her with a campaign of arson and murder. Inspector Grace doesn’t even get a mention on the dust-jacket of the hardcover edition, not even on the inside of the front cover. The two stories – that of Red Westwood and that of Inspector Grace and his supporting cast eventually merge as the violence escalates, but they are definitely two separate stories for much of the book. I wasn’t particularly interested in the fine detail of Ms Westwood’s life and relationships, well-researched and written as it was; though I can’t complain about it being here, as the book wasn’t advertised as an Inspector grace novel, and I had to skim through the pages in the library to discover that it, in fact, was. I can only speculate that the author considered this an important story to tell, or he and his publisher wanted to stretch his wings and find a new audience for his books; but, I repeat, it isn’t advertises as a Roy Grace story.

That being said, as well as the police procedural story, there is much change and progress in the life of Roy Grace and his supporting cast: his friend Glenn Branson is now a single father, and Grace himself celebrates his wedding in this story, which is attended by his first wife Sandy and their ten-year-old son... The story is excellently told, and there are a number of places where hints are dropped and paths are crossed which may or may not have a bearing on the story (or even a future one). Old characters make their returns, and at least regular one makes their exit, for even the Police suffer at the hands of this particular criminal.

The story of Ms Red Westwood is hard to describe without giving too much away, but she is an intelligent, professional young woman, whose ex-boyfriend turned out to be an abusive fantasist who remains fixated on her, and is driven to murder by her eventually taking a new boyfriend. Her evolution as a character from abused and self-blaming victim to abused but fighting-back heroine is well-described – though how many abused women in the real world have the support and internal resources to overcome their ’programming’ in this way is open to question.

The villain of the piece, the ex-boyfriend, is a fairly one-dimensional character, and does seem to have escaped from a Hollywood thriller.

So, to sum up; this is an excellent (and important episode in the) Roy Grace story, but it shares the book with a second story which I did not have any real personal interest in; BUT, as this is not advertised as a Roy Grace story, so you can’t justifiably complain about that aspect of the book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I have read all Peter James books, including the lesser known paranormal ones, and I have to say this was my least favourite of them all for a number of reason.
1. Character development was poor. We knew That the relationship for Red was abusive, but there was very little indication of how it went from being allegedly loving to how it was. As well as that there was little back story to both the victim and also the attacker.
2. Too much going on. The wedding between Roy and Cleo; the Sandy sideline; Glenn trying to juggle his promotion with his children; the relationship between Norman and bella and a familiar character coming back. It all just seemed to be squashed in with no real thought.
3. The unnecessary level of violence. I understand the attacker was classed as a sociopath rather than a psychopath. But the level of violence, and how far he would go to get back at this woman, made for incredibly uncomfortable reading. I hate leaving books half read and I struggled through to the end.
4. Certain matters were unresolved, and left me unsatisfied. Like the first man arrested for the murder. Maybe I missed it but I still don't know what happened to him and whether he was released without charge. It was like Peter James forgot.

I normally love all his books. But I have to say this was a lot weaker than the other Roy Grace novels, which is a shame as I lived last years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
When her new boyfriend is found burned to death on a golf course, Red Westwood can't believe he killed himself. And when a restaurant in the town is torched, Red begins to wonder if her psychopathic ex-boyfriend might be behind it, since it's the restaurant they used to go to together. Bryce isn't the kind of guy who takes being dumped terribly well, it appears, and now he's out to destroy everything and everyone that Red loves...and then perhaps destroy Red herself.

I've only read one Peter James book before, the first one, many years ago, so I really felt as if I was coming to this series for the first time. I'm well aware that James has a massive and loyal following, and in general this book seems to be being well received by them. But, although there are some good things in it, I'm afraid overall I found it rather disappointing.

At a whopping 500 pages, the book is far too long for its fairly uncomplex plot. The amount of repetition becomes tedious within the first fifty or so pages and worsens as the thing drags on. The book is told in the third person, with the viewpoint shifting mainly between Red and Inspector Roy Grace, but with frequent short chapters giving Bryce's perspective. While the whole thing is repetitive, it's Bryce's sections that are the worst. Pretty much every one says the same thing - Bryce isn't happy with Red; he's going to kill everyone, then her; he's obsessed by the sext messages she used to send him, which get repeated with tedious frequency. I got the message the first time - Bryce is mad, bad and dangerous to know.

So the only tension is will he or won't he manage to carry out his nefarious plans before the incompetent police manage to track him down? Sadly, it's the kind of book where you can guess the answer to that question pretty early on. James tries to put another level of tension in by having Bryce decide he'll also murder Roy (Why? No idea! 'Cos he's mad, I guess.) but that kind of tension never really works in an ongoing series, for obvious reasons.

Red is one of these stereotypical female victim-types - you know, where everyone says don't go into the house, but they go in anyway? I think she's supposed to be feisty, but actually she just appears to be pretty thick. Personally by halfway through I had ceased to care whether she lived or died. Bryce is clearly superhuman - he can do everything! He can set fires, make bombs, change his identity at will, pick unpickable locks, shoot crossbows with deadly accuracy, clean a house so thoroughly no DNA traces can be found! The police on the other hand just seem to waffle around doing nothing very much and hoping that somehow they'll find him. The bit about the gait expert who can recognise any villain by the way he walks based purely on his footprints puts Sherlock Holmes to shame (and made me laugh out loud, I fear).

To balance this a bit, the action scenes are written well, particularly the fire scenes. And the sections that relate to Roy's personal and professional lives are very well done - I assume this ongoing story is the main reason his fans stick with him. It's quite easy to pick up the thread of this aspect of the book even if, like me, you're coming to it without having read the earlier ones. Roy is just about to marry Cleo, the mother of his child, and, while Cleo is given no personality, in this one at least, Roy's feelings about her and his child are well written and believable.
In conclusion, I'd think that there's enough about Roy's life in here to keep the interest of people who are fans of the series, but it certainly isn't one that's left me with any real desire to read more. So maybe not the best one to start with for a newcomer.

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Pan MacMillan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Want You Dead, Peter James, Macmillan, 2014, 405pp.

This is an interesting Inspector Roy Grace novel, but unfortunately it is time-sharing with the story of the decaying relationship between the young lady whose story dominates the novel, and her loony sociopath ex-boyfriend who is stalking her with a campaign of arson and murder. Inspector Grace doesn’t even get a mention on the dust-jacket of the hardcover edition, not even on the inside of the front cover. The two stories – that of Red Westwood and that of Inspector Grace and his supporting cast eventually merge as the violence escalates, but they are definitely two separate stories for much of the book. I wasn’t particularly interested in the fine detail of Ms Westwood’s life and relationships, well-researched and written as it was; though I can’t complain about it being here, as the book wasn’t advertised as an Inspector grace novel, and I had to skim through the pages in the library to discover that it, in fact, was. I can only speculate that the author considered this an important story to tell, or he and his publisher wanted to stretch his wings and find a new audience for his books; but, I repeat, it isn’t advertises as a Roy Grace story.

That being said, as well as the police procedural story, there is much change and progress in the life of Roy Grace and his supporting cast: his friend Glenn Branson is now a single father, and Grace himself celebrates his wedding in this story, which is attended by his first wife Sandy and their ten-year-old son... The story is excellently told, and there are a number of places where hints are dropped and paths are crossed which may or may not have a bearing on the story (or even a future one). Old characters make their returns, and at least regular one makes their exit, for even the Police suffer at the hands of this particular criminal.

The story of Ms Red Westwood is hard to describe without giving too much away, but she is an intelligent, professional young woman, whose ex-boyfriend turned out to be an abusive fantasist who remains fixated on her, and is driven to murder by her eventually taking a new boyfriend. Her evolution as a character from abused and self-blaming victim to abused but fighting-back heroine is well-described – though how many abused women in the real world have the support and internal resources to overcome their ’programming’ in this way is open to question.

The villain of the piece, the ex-boyfriend, is a fairly one-dimensional character, and does seem to have escaped from a Hollywood thriller.

So, to sum up; this is an excellent (and important episode in the) Roy Grace story, but it shares the book with a second story which I did not have any real personal interest in; BUT, as this is not advertised as a Roy Grace story, so you can’t justifiably complain about that aspect of the book.
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