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on 22 June 2013
Peter James is a prolific crime writer. He writes authentically and compellingly. The attention to details are superb. Being an experienced screen-writer, adds real credibility. Evidently, he shows vast experience of working in Hollywood and closely with actresses.He knows how to deliver a gripping and thrilling read.

I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. The pace is so fast. It keeps you enthralled until the end. The plot is based on the show-business world about a film star Gaia. What is making headlines? The film star will be filming a major Hollywood production. Where is the place? It is in Brighton, the hometown of the star. Can this film reach new heights and prominence for the actress?

The film is a romantic story based on a historical period. The novel is mostly England based, without over-doing the Hollywood angle on lavish lifestyles and the usual clichés of the movie business. The consequences can be severe, if the news spread to the wrong people. Gaia is about to experience the nightmare celebrities sometimes face. There are obsessive fans hot on the trail at whatever expense. This particular fan goes to great lengths and spends ludicrous amount of money on keeping shrines and galleries of the actress. DS Grace is the central character in the author novels. He is over-seeing security arrangements of the film star, as the stalker is persistent and you cannot take the eyes of the ball at anytime. He has other pressing matters to deal with, which comes in the territory of being one of the most senior police officers in the department. There have been reports of an appalling and sickening crime in a farmhouse. DS Grace needs get to the bottom of the matter, as it maybe linked to the stalking events. DS Grace is a well-developed character. There is a spot of bother in his home life. The increasing stress and work-pressure of being in charge of an investigation is well touched upon. The Gaia's character is well-sketched, as being a well known actress is a hard job. The novel is a compelling read. This is the first novel that I have read of author. Word of mouth communication influenced me.

I intend to read other novels of the author. The darkness that engulfs the celebrity world has been well explored. The police operations are insightful. The author is experienced and has mastered the art of keeping readers glued.
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on 11 June 2012
It always seems such a long wait for the new Peter James/Roy Grace to become available - and then when it is, time passes in a flash and you are totally gripped by the twists and turns of the story coming thick and fast chapter by chapter. It's almost impossible to put the book down - you actually care about Roy - and Cleo - and dread Sandy's possible return to spoil their happiness. All too soon the last pages are turned and all the threads are skillfully knitted into the final scenes. And back to waiting another year for the next one ... it's too much to ask to read slowly and ration the number of chapters read in a day ... if you've never read Peter James' books, do start with Dead Simple and the previous titles so the storylines develop correctly but if you do know these books, rush out now and get your copy - what better way to spend a wet June afternoon or two!
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on 29 November 2012
This is the latest in Peter James' excellent Roy Grace series. Set in Brighton, murder capital of Europe in the 1930s according to this story, Not Dead Yet sees Detective Chief Inspector Roy Grace tasked with planning and executing the security to protect Gaia, the world's greatest pop diva now actress, whilst staying in town shooting her new film on location at the Brighton Pavilion. Already the subject of a murder attempt at her home in Los Angeles, Gaia commands a fanatical fan base, some of whom will go to any lengths to acquire memorabilia of their idol. In the background, the production of the film is not without its own problems, financial and on the intellectual property front.

Grace's regular team are all present and his home life with Cleo marches on apace with Cleo expecting their first child.

Peter James set a very high standard in this series right from the start and, with only a mild wobble or two, has pretty much kept it going. This is amongst the best. His knowledge of police procedure remains as current and in-depth as ever, and his overall respect for the job they do continues to shine through. James has never taken his hero down the anti-establishment route fostered by quite a few crime writers, rather he has accepted the hierarchical nature of the police service whilst acknowledging the challenging role occupied by senior officers and the pressures on everyone to deliver results. The dialogue is sharp, and the humour in some exchanges - such as those between Grace and his DS Glenn Branson - continues to lift the overall feel into something like reality (Brighton's propensity for major crime and Grace's inevitable and always spectacular part in its resolution is anything but reality).

The pace rises steadily until the conclusion when it positively soars to a maximum and I simply read to the finish without drawing breath. There is no reason why this series cannot keep going for some time yet if James has the inclination and the stamina; Detective Chief Inspector Roy Grace certainly has.
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on 22 February 2013
I've been a Peter James fan from early in my 20s when I read his older novels, such as Twilight, Host, Alchemist, Dreamer, Sweetheart, Possession. I devoured them and was continually freaked out by how scared they could make me feel when other thrillers just didn't engage me in the same way. His experience across several different areas meant he could write authoritatively, and descriptively in such a way that brought his stories, and his characters, to life.

So I was delighted when the Roy Grace series came out and became such a hit. I looked forward to each book with bated breath, bought each one when they came out and couldn't wait to read them.

This brings me to Roy Grace 8 "Not Dead Yet".

Not Dead Yet is, for the most part fine. It's a novel, about a few murders, a Detective, a celebrity & a couple of nutters. The story in itself is ok, if not mostly predictable. The predictability is a real shame, because one of the main things I loved about Peter's previous books was that certain plotlines would remain hidden, often in plain sight for most of the book, then just leap out at me, as they should, during a 'big reveal' that I was not expecting. However, with this novel, I saw the twist plotting a route and enjoying the journey towards me long before it was finally ready to deliver itself to me. A minor character appeared, had a long back story filled in then disappeared only to pop up again for a few lines. I guess he's being primed to appear in a future book because his introduction brought nothing to this one. The revealing of a secret 'romance' between two completely unlikely suitors feels desperate and strained, and a 'surprise' element in the last few books was a nice try to shake things up but I was left feeling like the author is literally making it up as he goes along. Perhaps he's dragging it out as long as possible until there's no more road left in the Grace series and he can use this overused plotline to pad it out a bit futher.

Although as I said earlier, my real beef is not with the actual plot of the book, although it's nowhere near the quality of the early books in the series. My problem is with the characters.

Roy Grace used to be, in many ways, a stereotypical cop. He had relationship issues (missing wife) and so hit the bottle a bit harder than he should. He had a mate called Glenn that he worked with, and liked, but he was a well-rounded, relatively tough cop, who had respect from his colleagues and obsessed by his work, could always get the job done with a sprinkling of drama and bravery. Let's say, if this series was made into a TV drama, he might well have been played by Robson Green. With stubble.

Fast forward, Glenn and Roy have developed quite a serious bromance over the intervening years. Roy loves Glenn lots. So much so he almost cries when his friend is upset because his kid's Mum won't let them meet a famous pop star. Um, ok. This guy was tough enough to qualify as a DI?

Then we have Cleo. Cleo who is 'stunningly beautiful' and many, many gushing adjectives. According to Roy, Cleo is the singularly most understanding, most beautiful, most forgiving, most intelligent, most hardworking woman in the world. There is no-one like her. There are literally no bad points about her at all. She is perfect. He is now devoted to her and she is the most important thing in his life. It's so unrealistic it's embarrassing. Don't even get me started on their dialogue - I firmly believe if you don't write something well, don't write it. The author should definitely steer away from 'sweet nothings' dialogue in future!

In a nutshell, Roy's character seems to be getting less interesting by the book. Now he has Cleo, and a baby on the way, he doesn't drink any more, except responsibly during dinner, he works out every day and is kind and good in everything he does. Glenn and Cleo suffer from the same 'niceitis' - they may be great and admirable people, but they're also very boring.

We then see Roy interact with his crack 'homicide' detectives, all of which have specific character traits that we are reminded of every time we enter the office (inappropriate jokes, eating malteasers etc). When addressing them at a particularly tension-filled meeting, he raises his voice above what I assume to be a gentle purr and actually GLARES at someone who has made an inappropriate comment. However, far from being the norm, this is described as "uncharacteristic". Because Roy Grace is just so NICE. So here we have a Detective Inspector that doesn't raise his voice at his team, won't look at them sideways when they mess up and who can't bear to hear a risky joke or derogatory comment without telling the perpetrator off? Come on, he'd never have made it past being a beat bobby.

Unfortunately, in making Roy Grace a 'better' person, it appears that Peter James has completely emasculated him. He is a shadow of his former self, led by the tail, nice to absolutely everyone, even the mad, bad and dangerous, doing his terribly hard and risky job without a shade of cynicism or a bad word to say to anyone. Heck, if he swatted a fly he'd probably feel guilty for days.

To go back to the TV analogy, Robson Greene as Roy Grace was a bit rougher round the edges, multidimensional, interesting, complicated, tougher, real and believable. Unfortunately he's slowly but surely being replaced by a cardboard cut out of John Barrowman.

To be honest, I'm not sure why this decline has happened, but I suspect the pressure to release at least one book a year means that quality is being replaced by quantity. Perhaps releasing Perfect People caused it, but Roy Grace either needs to "man up" (I hate that phrase but it fits here!) or he needs to be pensioned off to a nice home in the country.
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on 8 August 2012
I enjoy the Brighton based Roy Grace novels. Like the DCI Bank's series from Peter Robinson, obviously some are better than others. This is one of the less captivating in my view, dealing with a lady Gaga-like Gaia in Brighton to shoot a movie with a lot of the inevitable nasties and psychos around the town. Given James' real life increasingly good rapport with the Sussex constabulary, it's becoming a bit like advertorial with him righting the wrongs of being in the present day police force. He is both an ambassador of Brighton and it's local police. If everyone else stops reading these novels his audience in Brighton and the local police force will keep the wolf from the door. Grace is becoming a bit twee (keeps having images of his unborn son in times of near death), 'Bump', the name of the said unborn son, the soon to be pronounced dead ex wife (or is she - ex or soon to be pronounced dead?) but that aside, a good twist on about page 375 and again Roy himself is the hero of the hour as the clock ticks down. James has to watch Roy is still a normal intelligent copper and not morphing into Superman.
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on 29 October 2012
How much longer must we endure the Sandy thing ? For Heaven's Sake, end it now and get it out in the open. It is tedious beyond reason.

And why must every character mentioned be accompanied with extensive description of their hair / good looks / clothes and shoes. It's like it's being written by a looks obsessed teenage girl. And Bella and her maltesers over and over again ad nauseum..

And all the romantic nonsense that is more like a Mills and Boon than a detective novel.

I had actually sworn last time - no more Roy Grace for me - but bought this from WHSmith at a motorway service station as I'd forgotten to bring a book with me and they only had about a dozen paperbacks on the shelves. Actually had to force myself through it.

But to be fair, it was quite a good plot with a great and very unexpected twist. Just finding the characterisations very annoying and repetetive now.
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on 27 June 2014
Another amazing Roy Grace novel! This time the story is woven around the stunning Brighton Pavilion and draws into the mix the love story of King George IV and Maria Fitzherbert. What a fantastic backdrop for this novel.

There are many of the usual characters in this story with a good selection of new ones tailored for the theme. At least one "old" character gets their "comeuppance" and at last the Roy/Cleo baby arrives with all the usual delights and stresses a new baby brings. Sandy is around and we learn more about her (what a nasty piece of work she is turning out to be!).

So this is a great addition to the Roy Grace series. As always spellbinding and fascinating although a little exaggerated in places but hey this comes from the rich imagination of the author and it was a cliffhanger. Thrilling to the end.
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on 3 October 2012
This is a tale of obsession, in all its infinite variety and manifestations, some more lethal than others but mostly just a matter of degree, with neither gender being excluded from its clutches. There are enough seriously disturbed characters here to populate several novels, in a few different story lines.

The main plot deals with the discovery of an unidentifiable body whose headless, armless and legless torso is discovered on a chicken farm in East Sussex. As if that isn't enough, the area is faced with an at once wonderful and problematic event: a major American superstar [think Lady Gaga, in fact the fictional counterpart is named Gaia] is about to arrive from Los Angeles, with her entourage and film crew, to Brighton, England, the city where she was born, to star in a film which will chronicle the love affair between King George the Fourth and his mistress Maria Fitzherbert. Needless to say, her hordes of obsessed fans converge on the city as well.

A second story line revolves around another obsessive, the target of this one none other than DS Roy Grace, in charge of the Major Crime Branch of Sussex CID. But a resolution, if any, of that one awaits a successive novel, I suspect. The personal lives of Grace and of Glenn Branson, to whom Grace is a mentor, get a lot of the focus in this, the eighth series entry, as Grace's fiancée, Cleo, is in her last month of pregnancy, and Branson, who has become a "long-stay lodger" in Grace's house since the latter moved in with Cleo, is facing child custody problems in the aftermath of his now-dead "marriage-from-hell."

Cavil: It bothered me when, as happened frequently, the p.o.v. jumped around, sometimes without identifying the person from whose point of view the chapter was being told. I assume this was intentional, but it was somewhat disconcerting. As well, I felt that perhaps the first two-thirds of the book was somewhat bloated and repetitive, causing this reader's attention to wander, a first for any of this author's books. No wandering attention in the approximately last third of the book, I hasten to add, when the plot lines start to come together with more than one climactic scene, with a finish you'll never see coming. All in all, it is recommended.
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on 1 December 2012
I enjoyed the book, as I do all of Peter James' novels, but found some of the final chapters a 'bit far fetched'. This rather spoiled the novel for me. It was not up to his usual unputdownable standards.
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on 30 June 2012
Not the best in the Roy Grace series and once again kept hanging re the Sandy situation - not enough scene setting for this slow developing climax. Probably won't bother with next year's further adventures until read a review and clear that something has at last happened. Just because that aspect of Roy Grace's life may be concluded doesn't mean whole series would need to end.
Nice twist with the main miscreant but final 'battle' felt a bit weak and not really a worthy adversary to Roy. Didn't feel any real peril for Roy. Also less gritty than previous novels in the series but Peter James' evidence of research on his novels' themes second to none. Great scenes re Top Gear, Crimewatch UK. Like the introduction of an old lag with a bone to pick, potential for a great showdown. Glen Branson character feels a bit tired and cliched. If I read 'hey oldtimer' or similar one more time I shall scream!
Sadly find myself looking more forward to Simon Kernick's next book than P.J.'s.
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