Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dead Like You

Dead Like You (Detective Superintendent Roy Grace)
Dead Like You (Detective Superintendent Roy Grace)

by Peter James, Minotaur Books, November, 2010

I don’t know if all of the books in this series are as good as this one but I’m looking forward to finding out.

 This is the first Peter James novel I’ve read and he is a keeper! Dead Like You is the sixth novel in the Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series and reads well as a standalone story. The series, set in Brighton on the southern coast of England is quintessentially British, lots of colloquialisms and a true damp rainy climate described throughout the story. Grace is the detective superintendent of a major crimes unit in Brighton. In this installment of the series they track “the Shoeman”, a rapist and presumed killer who preys on women who purchase high end shoes. The Shoeman committed a series of rapes in 1997 and is suspected in the disappearance of a victim, Rachael Ray who went missing on Christmas Eve 1997. Although Ray’s body was never found, Grace is convinced she was taken by the Shoeman. Two rapes occurring in the present time follow the modus operandi of the Shoeman, and then the chase is on to find and stop him before another woman is taken and tortured. There are a number of credible suspects who if not guilty of the rapes are certainly up to something.

The narration alternates between action in ’97 and the present day, which I initially found a wee bit confusing, but I got into the rhythm of it. All the police procedural aspects of the story are first rate and drive the narrative in a realistic way. The suspense builds credibly throughout the book culminating in the last few chapters where Grace and his officers attempt to locate and liberate the most recent victim. The denouement, in my opinion often the weakest part of mysteries is terrific. The superintendent has an intriguing back story – his own wife Sandy went missing during the 1997 crime spree and her fate is unknown. Currently Grace is involved and hoping to marry his pregnant girl friend Cleo. Refreshingly Grace has good working relations with his superiors and appears to be able to operate successfully without breaking numerous laws and shooting up criminals. I liked him as a detective!

I don’t know if all of the books in this series are as good as this one but I’m looking forward to finding out.

2 comments:

Zibilee said...

So glad to hear this was a winner for you! I am not a huge fan of these types of books, but once in awhile, I like to take a chance on them. It's too easy to rule out a genre when you are too picky like I sometimes am. I am always looking for a new type of reading experience, so this might just work for me. Thanks for sharing your very insightful thoughts on this one!

Cym Lowell said...

Love your review! Thanks for linking up to the party. You are a great addition :)

-CYM