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.
on 27 June 2014
These stories just get better. I have enjoyed all the "Grace" novels and am amazed that P.J. can come up with an incredible and different story each time. This one is grounded in Brighton but starts and finishes in New York. We learn about the changes in the lives of the principle characters so the threads from the previous novels are still being woven together. Sandy is still around. I know some fans are fed up with the constant reemergence of this character but I am fascinated and wonder where it will all end. Also there has been a new and for me unexpected twist regarding Sandy and another person from a previous story! I won't comment further not wishing to give a spoiler here.
But this is an emotional story which in some ways is so tragic for one particular player in the story. There is also danger for Cleo and her baby, again I won't say more. I was spellbound to the end and just when I thought the whole story was wound up there was a last minute twist! Again no further comment, I hope it whet's people's appetite for reading this amazing story.
, Peter James and Roy Grace, where do I begin? I have read all of the books in this series and am normally gripped by each and every book I read. When I read the synopsis for this one I really wasn't sure. I was (as usual) to be proved wrong. This latest Roy Grace novel starts out with a vicious robbery at a Brighton Mansion and millions of pounds worth of antiques taken. It also leaves an elderly woman, Aileen McWhirter, fighting for her life. Roy Grace and his team lead the enquiry when the woman dies from her injuries and her brother Gavin Daly gets involved.
There is one item that is absolutely invaluable to Gavin, and although he is now well into his nineties he is still a force to be reckoned with. The invaluable item is a specific watch and the story, believe it or not, all revolves around the watch. I'm not one for major spoilers so will go no further with the storyline or plot.
What I will say is that Peter James is an awesome writer, however, there is one thing that is driving me insane. If, like me, you follow the series there has been an element to each book regarding Roy's first wife Sandy who has been missing for over 10 years. This is the thing that is the cause of my angst. I really think the storyline concerning her needs to be dealt with and then finished, or dropped altogether. I feel like it has gone on for far too long and to the point where it's lessening my enjoyment of the book. This particular book tells the story of Roy Grace and his team now, and the past concerning Gavin Daly and his family which forms part of New York's gangs in the 1920's. This alone, was done with skill and the story had me gripped from start to finish. However, every time Sandy get's mentioned I feel like hurling my book into a wall.
Okay, I know some of you may think that's extreme but when you have read a certain storyline for years (8 years in the case of the Roy Grace novels) certain elements are key. Sandy is now NOT key in my opinion, and the more I hear about it the more it grates on me. Do I want answers, yes! Do I want snippets each year, No! Deal with it and let's move on?!?
Anyway, that aside this is actually a brilliant story and as usual Peter James shows off his skill with style. I think the majority of fans will love this book and newcomers should definitely read from the beginning of the series (although not an absolute necessity). Once again, we wait another year to see what is next on the agenda for Roy and his family and friends.
on 11 July 2013
No one can doubt the skills of Peter James as a fine crime writer. Dead Man's Time did not really tick the right boxes of what I expect of the author. Not Dead Yet is a much better piece compared to Dead Man's Time. The build up to the novel is incredibly slow and tedious. The momentum of the novel picks up at some point, but dries down later. The novel tackles the area of petty crime within the antique world. It paint the characters within the trade in a negative and stereotypical light. There is needless waffle throughout the novel, as the writing becomes repetitive. It feels though the author struggles to put pen on paper. DS Grace is a strongly represented character. The attention to details of police procedures is insightful. Pace of the novel needed to pick up much quicker as it did in earlier pieces. I did not find the novel compelling and gripping enough, to maintain my interest. Three stars is a fair reflection on this occasion.
on 26 April 2016
Reading the synopsis for this book and having enjoyed Peter Jame's previous Roy Grace stories I was looking forward to reading it.
I won't enlarge upon the plot and characters, but basically I felt it was a little far-fetched and over-complicated and I really didn't find myself having much empathy with the main character Gavin Daly who had clearly not run his business within the law!
I'm getting tired of reading about Grace's wife Sandy (who disappeared without trace ten years previously). I realise the implications of this concerning his current partner, Chloe, who is expecting their baby, but now we are made aware of Sandy's situation through conversations with her counsellor and no doubt in the next book, she will pop up even more!
I also find it irritating that both Sandy, in previous stories and now Chloe, frequently address Grace by his current police title, e.g. "I hope you know how much I love you Detective Inspector Grace" - what is that all about?!!!
Having said some negative things, it doesn't put me off reading the next book in the series. The different characters in Grace's team are likeable and the relationship he has with DS Glen Branson, which shows their mutual respect, affection and humour is a strong part of each investigation. I hope I won't be too disappointed with the follow-on from this book.
on 27 July 2013
Although I'm a fan of Peter James, I have found the last few Roy Grace books somewhat disappointing. The last book, Not Dead Yet, was a marked deterioration in quality from the earlier books in the series, with lazy characterisation and a pretty implausible plot, so I was hoping this book would be a return to form.
So is it? Well, not really, but it's better than Not Dead Yet.
The plot centres on the robbery of an elderly lady, whose antiques appear to have been stolen to order. This plunges Roy Grace into the murky world of shady antiques dealers, whilst the brother of the victim decides to use his own methods and contacts to bring the robbers to justice, and recover a particularly priceless watch.
The side-plots of Roy and Cleo, Glenn and Ari, Bella and Norman - and of course Sandy - are all present, but they don't take over as much as they did in the last book, leaving more room for the main plot to flow. And the main plot is not bad at all, intriguing and fast-paced as ever, although the "twists" were so obviously signposted I worked them out pretty much straight away. There is also a sub-plot featuring Amis Smallbone - I knew he was being set up for something in the last book! - but this is not very convincing, and seems tacked on just to make Roy more of the focus of the book. To be honest, I don't really care about Roy's personal life and don't really want to see him turning into some superman fending off personal attacks all the time - just give the man some interesting crimes to solve!
The real problem with Dead Man's Time is that too much of it feels like filler. It's like Peter James stopped caring a few books ago but has to fulfil some contractual obligations or something, and so keeps churning out these sub-standard instalments. Maybe he needs to go and write some more stand-alone books for a while like the excellent Twilight (his book, not the Stephanie Meyer twaddle!), Prophecy or Host and put Roy Grace out to pasture for a while.
on 4 December 2013
Well I have been an avid fan of Peter James for years but his last 2 books have been disappointing. Maybe its time for a different series? I love Peter James's style of writing as when I pick up his books I know I can get straight into them. However the plots of the last 2 books haven't been up to his usual standard. I do hope there are still some good ideas to come from him as I really really don't want to give up on one of my favourite authors!
Detective Superintedent Roy Grace is tired, exhausted as is his soon to be wife, Chole. They have a new seven week old son, Noah. As all parents know, the first year in a child's life is one of little sleep for the parents. Grace is worried that this lack of sleep will interfere with his job. One of his colleagues keeps interjecting his thoughts about how love leaves after a child enters the picture. What worries the new father has, as if he does't have enough troubles with a new murder to solve.
The victim, Aileen McWhirter, 92, is tortured to obtain the details of the combination of her safe as well as her bank account details. The thieves steal more than antiques, it turns out a valuables Patek Phillipe watch, a family heirloom has gone missing. Gavin Daly, Aileen's brother, is a very rich man who made his money via antiques. His son, Lucas it seems is a drug addict, and he and his father do not get on well. However, Daly and is son are determined to get the watch back, never mind the rest of the antiques. And,they work against the police which sets Grace's nerves on edge.
The mystery of the watch is a terrific plot, and the writing is solid and entertaining. There are several interesting twists and turns. And, of course, Sandy, the former lost wife, turns up. This part of the series has become so dull that I have come to dislike Sandy. She is not interesting nor a part of he plot that I want.
One of Grace's former prisoners, who hates Grace with a passion, is out on parole, and he is set to enact revenge. This part of the storyline is a litte off base, but brings some interest. Grace's travel to New York City is a part of the book that could have been deleted. Like Officer Cobb, I don't understand why Grace feels the need to be there.
One of Grace's colleagues is always eating Red Maltesers, and I finally googled to find out what they are:
'Maltesers are a confectionery product manufactured by Mars, Incorporated. Maltesers consist of a roughly spherical malt honeycomb centre, surrounded by milk chocolate. They are most popular in Denmark, the UK, Australia, Switzerland, Spain, Ireland, Canada, France, Hong Kong, and Portugal. Maltesers are also one of the types of sweet included in Mars's Revels assortment.' Wiki
I found it tough going in the first third of this book, but it picked up and it became a fast paced mystery, the kind I love.
Recommended. prisrob 06-20-13
on 27 February 2014
I've loved the Grace series but this is one too far. It is as though the author had to rush something out to fulfill a contract with a poor story line, limp characters and an ending so contrived it was almost laughable. This is a series which has gone over a cliff.
on 16 February 2014
I used to love the early Roy Grace series; The plot was riveting. But the only word I can use to describe reading this very, very long book is laborious.
On the back of the book, the comment from a certain newspaper says 'packed with constant red herrings'. I find it difficult to understand how some of these comments find their way onto the books. There is no red herrings and the answer to the problem is clearly visible from page twenty.