Top positive review
22 people found this helpful
A change of direction for an Inspector Grace novel
on 2 August 2014
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.