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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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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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on 15 June 2014
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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on 29 July 2014
last thee books fab this one was hard going not the best was glad to finish it. Love his books but this one was the worst i have read and have read them all.
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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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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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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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on 10 August 2014
I could not wait to read this latest book but it was awful in the extreme. The constant repetitive texts were mind numbing. A stupid plot and very poor characters ruined any enjoyment from the book. Roy Grace books have slowly got worst. Time for Peter James to up his game. Much tighter editing needed and some careful thinking on where some plot lines are going. I look forward to the next book but my patience is wearing thin !!
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on 28 June 2014
I have always been a big fan of Peter James and his hero Roy Grace. Over the years Grace has become a real person, and Brighton has been lucky to have had him as its champion. The plots have in the main been believable and convincing, and I have always been on the lookout for the next book.

But this latest book simply will not do. The story itself is well-plotted as usual, but the secondary characters are wholly unconvincing, particularly the villain of the piece, who as drawn is simply ludicrous, and much of the the prose is novelettish. The bodice-ripping descriptions of the relationship between villain and his female victim, "Red" (sorry?), are I suppose meant to add a spot of titillation, but they are absurdly overwritten and I cannot remember anything like them in earlier books.

Well before I was halfway through I found myself unable to go on. But I shall off course look out as keenly as ever for the next one, to see if James can return to his best form.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 June 2014
This book's an absolute stormer and worth every penny of day of publication price. Thanks to Kindle and 3g, the latest offering from Peter James arrived just after midnight. I couldn't resist a peek; big mistake, despite being tired, I was totally immersed for a couple of hours in what, I believe, is one of the best plot lines so far in the Grace series. A timely look at Internet dating and stalking.

One of the strengths of these books is the development of the main characters. But each may be read as a standalone too. Roy Grace is settled with a second wife and new baby. The question of Sandy, his former wife, has arisen consistently and this book is no exception. But is the mystery solved? I'm not giving any clues on that one! Grace is a solid and likeable individual. Intelligent, compassionate and occasionally troubled. I'm enjoying the way, as readers, we move forward with him. We share life's ups and downs and the demands of leading a Serious Crime team and striking the right work/life balance. There's been a promotion within his team and it's good to see the chemistry between individuals still at play.

These stories work particularly well as strong, well rounded police procedurals full of the challenges, pressures and tensions of major crime policing. There's a real sense of urgency as the chapters mark off dates and time. The narrative is explored from a number of viewpoints; police, victims and offender. I love the way the reader is often one step ahead of Grace. We know what Bryce intends to do and I was willing Grace to make the right connections in time! The pace is absolutely relentless.

Peter James is also a master at exploring the deviant psyche. It's almost uncomfortable at times, interpreting the world and seeing victims through the eyes and mind of Bryce, a stalker bent on revenge and retribution. He's a man whose moral compass is in free fall following rejection. Being exposed to his rationale and thought process is unsettling; his 'normal' is way out of comfort zone and incredibly chilling. But that's because he works so well as a character. With both depth and dimension, his horrific plans to mete out his form of justice to achieve salvation are brutal but plausible. And the fear experienced by others is almost palpable. Then the relief when the threat's over only to be followed by another twist...he took me every step of the way!

It's a stunning psychological thriller, taut and full of the unexpected. The tension builds and builds to bursting point. It's a compelling and truly frightening study of the nature of obsession and the effects on victims and their family. It works well in every way and at every level and I loved it.
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