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.
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 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.
, 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 13 January 2014
I have really enjoyed the Roy Grace series and at one point would say it was my favourite read (apart from, perhaps, Susan Hill's Simon Serrailler series). This book, though, I can take or leave. I found it far too padded out and repetitive. I don't know if it wasn't proofread properly but there are irritating phrases and reminders that we are told more than once in close succession. Even the constant comments about the box of maltesers on Emma's (?) desk, or Roy's ability to determine whether someone is lying or not by their eye movements just seem boring this time round. The characters didn't seem as authentic as usual either. The dialogue between Roy and Cleo, especially around the newborn son, seems completely fake to me and I agree with some other reviewers that the existence of Sandy (which was such a good twist a few books back) has now become a predictable bore). I didn't even enjoy the plot and couldn't honestly care less much of the time what the outcome was - a confusing band of baddies and too many characters. Maybe if you live in the area you could get some pleasure from hearing places you know mentioned (which James seems to do excessively in this book as if he's giving you a coach trip commentary on a bus tour)but this was a flop all round for me this time.
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 16 December 2013
I love Peter James books but really struggled my way through this one. For some reason I had no empathy with any of the characters and found myself not caring one war or another what the outcome was.
If you haven't read any Roy Grace books before don't let this put you off - just don't start with this one,
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 6 March 2014
I really enjoyed the first few Roy Grace Novels. Without wishing to repeat my previous reviews I now found them totally cliched and repetitive. He constantly recounts the characteristics of characters which he has described in previous stories. If the characters had any depth or substance people would read go back and read previous books, they haven't.
I feel now he subcontracted the writing of the Roy Grace novels to members of a Brighton creative writing group. Awful stuff.
on 25 July 2013
I enjoy the Roy Grace books, the attention to detail of a major crime investigation is excellent and authentic, the ex-wife makes an interesting link throughout the books, and his relationships with his new partner and colleagues are well formed. However, this book disappointed me. Not wishing to give away anything, but the premise of this book is that someone in the 1922 would pass over a clue that would not be resolved until the present day, and only then in what could be described as coincidental fashion was a step too far. Many mysteries stand the test of time but when you look at what the clue contained, and where it came from, you do feel obliged to ask 'how did you get that information?' Furthermore, one criminal gang had no problem in tracking down another gang, this too appeared unrealistic, even given the use of torture and lack of moral code to follow that the police have to follow. If you like the Grace series, you will find enough to keep you hooked but with this book and the previous one I feel that there is a lowering of the very high standards set early on.