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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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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 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 9 June 2012
A most enjoyable read as always. An ideal book for holidays, easy to read and has you racing to the end. It was good to find out more about Sandy and I am sure her role is set to develop.
A couple of reviews have mentioned the American link and commenting on its inclusion which is an interesting point. This book was all about the making of Hollywood film and as such it did need in my opinion some links to the USA. I thought they were right in detail and quantity. In addition one or two of the characters in the series are from America and I feel they add something slightly different and expands the setting whilst keeping Brighton at its heart. I will not comment too much on the plot so as not to spoil the storyline for others but as always it is full of twists, drama and tension. The author's fans will love it and for those who have not picked up on this hugely entertaining series they will want to read more.
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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 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 14 August 2012
I am nearing the end of this latest Roy Grace instalment, and unlike the other books in the series have struggled to stay interested

I bought the book to read on holiday, and resisted the temptation to start reading it beforehand, like other reviewers I have read all the Grace novels, and to quote an old clique 'all good things must come to an end' - this volume does not have the zip and charisma normally associated with Peter James's style of writing and plot making... The author's trademark quality of research remains undiminished but the storyline and characters are stereotypical and lack credibility, with the odd clumsy attempt to surprise the reader ie Norman Potting pulling Bella!

The author can probably go on repeating the same formula in future editions of the series with bestseller success but I hope he can improve the quality and substance, reduce the heavily repetitive quirky descriptions which become irksome, and inject some less predictable and contrived plot lines into the narrative
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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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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 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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I have read each and every one of the Roy Grace series and I would imagine like many others was looking forward to the latest book. Like many other popular series of books the characters and their history are what add another dimension for the readers. In this latest Roy Grace book we again see the return of my favourite and much loved characters I have got to know. Of course we have Roy himself and his other half Cleo who is now pregnant and expecting their first child. In addition we see many favourites like Glenn Branson (who I adore), Norman Potting and Bella Moy.

The Brighton police force has its work cut out for them. The international superstar Gaia is filming in Brighton for the LA Producer Larry Brooker. Before Gaia leaves Bel Air an attempt is made on her life. By the time she arrives in Brighton Roy is set the challenge of ensuring her safety as well as running a murder investigation. Initially the story hits the ground running and when we see Gaia arrive in Brighton there are already two plots running through the book. On the one side we have the security and attempted murder of Gaia and on the other we have a torso found which the Murder team are trying to identify.

My attention was grabbed a lot more with the storyline in this current book than the last one so I almost felt like the books were back on the up again. The story certainly kept its pace up and I have to be honest as the story continued I got the feeling that this was a real `who dunnit' kind of story. There are lots of plot threads, lots of action and a real head scratcher of a case. Now on the down side I have to say I am getting slightly irritated by the `Sandy' thread of the story. I think a conclusion to this element of the story would make me a lot happier because I find myself just shaking my head in disappointment every time I read a bit more.

As I neared the end, I was genuinely taken aback by the plot conclusion and thought it was a good wrap up of the story. Then I was thrown with the last three chapters. I think one part of me admires Peter James for doing this as he has almost certainly drawn a large percentage of readers into the next book (and I admit I am one of them!). I fear that the series may get tedious but there certainly doesn't seem to be any sign of that (apart from the Sandy part). The only one minor niggle I had was that I never got to find out the conclusion of the story regarding Norman and Bella. Yet again I think that this has been done with good reason and yet again there are things pulling me back and preparing myself for the pre-order again this time next year.

Peter James has certainly continued to show his brilliance as a Crime Writer and as usual I look forward to the next Roy Grace book.
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