I first picked up a Peter James book a while back entitled `Dead Simple’. It was (luckily for me) the first in the Roy Grace Series and was based around a harmless stag night prank that went wrong. From that book I was hooked and each of the 4 books that followed was fantastic. Thankfully this latest instalment is no different. This latest Roy Grace offering is pretty hefty with a massive 500 pages. This didn’t put me off, in actual fact quite the opposite.
This story all starts following the brutal rape of a woman on New Years Eve. Only a week later another woman is attacked. What concerns Roy is that both of the women that were attacked had their shoes taken. It begins to ring alarm bells with him as these current attacks seem to mirror those that haunted Brighton back in 1997. The attacker back in 1997 had been named `The Shoe man’ and was believed to have raped 5 women before moving on to kill another 2. The attacker was never caught and Roy finds himself wondering whether the killer is back or whether they have a copycat on their hands.
Roy Grace has come back in this book a little more relaxed than before. He is living with his girlfriend Cleo who is due to give birth to their first baby any day. Cleo and Roy’s relationship has taken time to grow on me but as you see more and more of Cleo’s supportive side you get to like her that little bit more. In addition to Roy we see the return of Glen Branson who works with Roy. He recently split from his wife and is going through a hard time. I must admit we didn’t see as much of Glen this time as in previous books and I missed his presence at times.
The story itself is written over two time periods. The further in to the investigation Roy goes, the more of the past you get to see. We see him working both crime scenes both in the present and the past. It’s written cleverly and isn’t made too complicated. The reader gets to see the parallels and the differences between the two cases which ended up making me feel like I had solved the case halfway through. I was wrong, so I think my police career is a non-starter!
There are still enough plot twists to keep you interested and several suspects which makes for interesting reading. I also thought that Peter James had dealt with the rape storyline very well with it not being too over the top, but trying to be sensitive at the same time. I whizzed through this in a matter of days and thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes I was disappointed that we didn’t see anything of the `Sandy’ storyline come up but there is always hope for the next instalment.
If you have never read Peter James and like Crime/Thriller’s, I would highly recommend you give this a try.