Dead If You Don’t by Peter James (Roy Grace #14)

Synopsis: Roy Grace, creation of the CWA Diamond Dagger award winning author Peter James, faces his most complex case yet in Dead If You Don’t.

Kipp Brown, successful businessman and compulsive gambler, is having the worst run of luck of his life. He’s beginning to lose, big style. However, taking his teenage son, Mungo, to their club’s Saturday afternoon football match should have given him a welcome respite, if only for a few hours. But it’s at the stadium where his nightmare begins.

Within minutes of arriving at the game, Kipp bumps into a client. He takes his eye off Mungo for a few moments, and in that time, the boy disappears. Then he gets the terrifying message that someone has his child, and to get him back alive, Kipp will have to pay.

Defying instruction not to contact the police, Kipp reluctantly does just that, and Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is brought in to investigate. At first it seems a straightforward case of kidnap. But rapidly Grace finds himself entering a dark, criminal underbelly of the city, where the rules are different and nothing is what it seems .

Kat’s Rating: 4/5 Continue reading

Need You Dead by Peter James (Roy Grace #13)

Synopsis: Lorna Belling, desperate to escape the marriage from hell, falls for the charms of another man who promises her the earth. But, as Lorna finds, life seldom follows the plans you’ve made. A chance photograph on a client’s mobile phone changes everything for her.

When the body of a woman is found in a bath in Brighton, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to the scene. At first it looks an open and shut case with a clear prime suspect. Then other scenarios begin to present themselves, each of them tantalizingly plausible, until, in a sudden turn of events, and to his utter disbelief, the case turns more sinister than Grace could ever have imagined.

Kat’s Rating: 4/5 Continue reading

Love You Dead by Peter James (Roy Grace #12)

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Synopsis: An ugly duckling as a child, Jodie Bentley had two dreams in life – to be beautiful and rich. She’s achieved the first, with a little help from a plastic surgeon, and now she’s working hard on the second. Her philosophy on money is simple: you can either earn it or marry it. Marrying is easy, it’s getting rid of the husband afterwards that’s harder, that takes real skill. But hey, practice makes perfect . . .

Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is feeling the pressure from his superiors, his previous case is still giving him sleepless nights, there have been major developments with his missing wife Sandy, and an old adversary is back. But worse than all of this, he now believes a Black Widow is operating in his city. One with a venomous mind . . . and venomous skills. Soon Grace comes to the frightening realisation that he may have underestimated just how dangerous this lady is.

Kat’s Rating: 5/5

Continue reading

The House on Cold Hill by Peter James

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Synopsis: The House on Cold Hill is a chilling and suspenseful ghost story from the multi-million copy bestselling author of Dead Simple, Peter James.

Moving from the heart of Brighton and Hove to the Sussex countryside is a big undertaking for Ollie and Caro Harcourt and their twelve-year-old daughter Jade. But when they view Cold Hill House – a huge, dilapidated Georgian mansion – Ollie is filled with excitement. Despite the financial strain of the move, he has dreamed of living in the country since he was a child, and he sees Cold Hill House as a paradise for his animal-loving daughter, the perfect base for his web-design business and a terrific long-term investment. Caro is less certain, and Jade is grumpy about being separated from her friends.

Within days of moving in, it becomes apparent that the Harcourt family aren’t the only residents of the house. A friend of Jade’s is the first to see the spectral woman, standing behind her as the girls talk on FaceTime. Then there are more sightings, as well as increasingly disturbing occurrences in the house. As the haunting becomes more malevolent and the house itself begins to turn on the Harcourts, the terrified family discover Cold Hill House’s dark history, and the horrible truth of what it could mean for them . . .

KAT’S RATING: 3/5

KAT’S REVIEW: I am most definitely what I would call a Peter James fan, however after reading this I was left feeling not so enamoured. Peter James has written a brilliant series featuring Roy Grace, and in my opinion his stand alone book Perfect People was GENIUS! However, this latest effort didn’t really make an impression on me. I admit I am not the biggest fan of ‘ghost stories’ but am open minded enough to try them.

This story centres on Ollie and Caro Harcourt and their twelve-year-old daughter Jade and their move to Cold Hill House. The opening of the book sets the scene pretty well and there is a heavy sense of foreboding (which of course is justified). The family are in for a nasty turn of events and these seem to spiral quite rapidly.

There was certainly nothing specific that I disliked with the book, but I just didn’t feel like there was any real substance behind the tale. Maybe I am just too adjusted to expecting a ‘Roy Grace’ type of book this didn’t suit me. I read the book to the end but in all honesty I felt like it was a bit of a struggle. I would admit I prefer to stick to crime and thrillers, however just recently discovered Caroline Mitchell who writes Supernatural and I love that series.

I guess I felt that this was missing something, but I just couldn’t put my finger on what. I’m aware that I am probably with the minority on the review of this book, but think in future I will stick to my Roy Grace or standalone crime novels by Mr James.

A Twist of The Knife by Peter James (Short Story)

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Synopsis: With each twist of the knife, a chilling new journey begins . . . From a woman intent on bizarre revenge, to a restaurant critic with a morbid fear of the number thirteen; and from a man arranging a life-changing assignation, to a couple heading for a disaster-filled vacation . . .

In multi-million-copy bestselling author Peter James’ collection of short stories we first come to meet Brighton’s finest detective, Roy Grace, and read the tale that went on to inspire James’ hugely successful novel, Dead Simple. James exposes the Achilles heel of each of his characters, and makes us question how well we can trust ourselves, and one another. Each tale carries a twist that will haunt readers for days after they turn the final page . . .

Combining every twisted tale from the ebook bestsellers Short Shockers One and Short Shockers Two, with a never-seen-before collection of new material, A Twist of the Knife shows Peter James as the undisputed grand master of storytellers with this sometimes funny, often haunting, but always shocking collection.

Kat’s Rating: 4/5

Kat’s Review: I’m certainly, like many others, a fan of Peter James and his infamous Roy Grace Series. I’m not however a fan of short stories. Thankfully this was a great collection and I was actually impressed by how much I enjoyed them. I just re-read that and don’t mean it to sound condescending, it’s just in terms of how much I dislike short stories…that’s what I meant!

This series of stories totals thirty and there are 2 featuring Roy Grace. IN addition to the fictional short stories there are some which are factual accounts just told by Peter James. I wouldn’t want to go into the details of all the stories, there seems little point. What I would say is that this is a nice way to read many stories by the man himself and get a feel for his style of writing.

Although I still am not a fan of short stories and collections, this was pretty good. It was an added bonus that a couple featured Roy Grace, but even those without show the skill and talent that have kept Peter James up there as a Bestselling British Author.

You Are Dead by Peter James (Roy Grace #11)

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Kat’s Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: THEY WERE MARKED FOR DEATH. The last words Jamie Ball hears from his fiancée, Logan Somerville, are in a terrified mobile phone call. She has just driven into the underground car park beneath the block of flats where they live in Brighton. Then she screams and the phone goes dead. The police are on the scene within minutes, but Logan has vanished, leaving behind her neatly parked car and mobile phone. That same afternoon, workmen digging up a park in another part of the city, unearth the remains of a woman in her early twenties, who has been dead for 30 years.

At first, to Roy Grace and his team, these two events seem totally unconnected. But then another young woman in Brighton goes missing – and yet another body from the past surfaces. Meanwhile, an eminent London psychiatrist meets with a man who claims to know information about Logan. And Roy Grace has the chilling realization that this information holds the key to both the past and present crimes . . . Does Brighton have its first serial killer in over eighty years?

My Review: <HUGE sigh>, I’m not sure where to start. Peter James is a bit of a Legend in my eyes. He is one of those authors that everybody knows; the man is most certainly one of my favourites. The one small problem I have, and have continued to have with the last few books is the ongoing storyline involving his missing wife Sandy. Now for people wanting to start the series from the beginning and haven’t yet got around to it, please don’t carry on reading my review because it will no doubt contain spoilers (this also applies to people who haven’t read the latest book as things mentioned in my review refer to those events, and I HATE a spoiler.

Roy is back and is dealing with a number of big changes such as a new son, moving house and dealing with the loss of a colleague. To pick up a new Roy Grace feels like meeting up with old friends and this one is no different. Both Roy and Glen (his colleague) make these books along with a few favourites such as Norman Potting, and the ones I can’t stand such as Roy’s new boss Cassian. This new book actually opens with a pretty hair raising and dramatic abduction of Logan Somerville and the pace is pretty frantic in the beginning. In the same afternoon the discovery of remains underneath a path which look to be thirty years old mean that Grace and his team have a lot of work on.

The storyline was certainly woven with enough mystery and intrigue to keep me turning the pages and once again we see flashes of potential closure regarding Roy’s missing/presumed dead wife Sandy. As these parts of the story (albeit small parts) were revealed I was once again hoping that this element of the storyline would be concluded. Sadly, I was mistaken! Back to the main events in the book and it seems that Roy’s work life is overtaking his ability to control his personal life. I love the fact that we see both in this series. The other thing that I think is absolutely brilliant is that you get a real feel for the actual police work that Roy and his team have to go through. There is no magical ‘tah dah’ moment where Roy cracks the case as if by magic. It’s done and the story told with all of the team working and pulling their weight. This gives a real authenticity to the story as well as previous books which I love.

Sadly, I figured out part of the story towards the end but actually liked the way the story was wrapped up. However, the reason for the 4 stars and not 5 is this whole Sandy thing. I’m not entirely sure whether this is a conclusion to it, but am pretty sure it can’t be…can it? It was one of those moments that seem a little bit like a cliff-hanger. Or was this PJ’s way of closing the chapter on it all. Because I’m really not sure I don’t quite know how I feel. If this is PJ’s was of closing it, then I feel cheated. If it isn’t then I am so bored of waiting for it all to go belly up. Either way I am still a little bit confused. That aside, another really solid read once again from the main man!

Want You Dead by Peter James (Roy Grace #10)

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My Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: IF HE CAN’T HAVE HER, THEN NOBODY CAN…Virtual romance becomes a terrifying obsession in Want You Dead…Single girl, 29, smouldering redhead, love life that’s crashed and burned. Seeks new flame to rekindle her fire. Fun, friendship and – who knows – maybe more? When Red Westwood meets handsome, charming and rich Bryce Laurent through an online dating agency, there is an instant attraction. But as their love blossoms, the truth about his past, and his dark side, begins to emerge. Everything he has told Red about himself turns out to be a tissue of lies, and her infatuation with him gradually turns to terror. Within a year, and under police protection, she evicts him from her flat and her life. But Red’s nightmare is only just beginning. For Bryce is obsessed with her, and he intends to destroy everything and everyone she has ever known and loved – and then her too…

My Review: What is going on with this series? I need to clarify that I have read every one of the Roy Grace series and have loved them all (Dead Simple book 1 being my all time favourite). However a few things have been going on that have narked me, one of them being the ongoing saga of Roy Grace’s missing/presumed dead wife Sandy. More of that later, but in the meantime I was brimming with excitement at having this latest release nearly 2 months early. I immediately got stuck in and as usual the story took me away to that dark and murky corner of my mind which enjoys reading about other people’s misery. For those of you that maybe haven’t read any of these books I suggest you stop reading my review as it will inevitably contain spoilers if you are not up to date with the series. We are up to book 10 in the series and Roy Grace is on the verge of getting married to Cleo and they have a young baby son. In addition to Roy we see the other characters that us readers have grown to love such as Glenn Branson and Norman Potting return.

We meet the lead in this current story Red Westwood (GREAT character name dontcha’ think) as she is recovering from her past disastrous relationship.  Bryce Laurent is the man responsible for ruining her life a year earlier and she had no idea that in the short space of time she knew him he would turn out to be so toxic. In the present time Red is living under police protection and trying to move on without him in her life. I liked Red instantly, but on the down side by a quarter of the way through I was beginning to wonder whether I was actually reading a Peter James book. We don’t even see Roy Grace appear until that point and it was only then that I felt myself feeling much more settled. When a body turns up that is linked to Red Westwood the police aren’t altogether convinced that its anything more than coincidence. However, before too long things continue to get more and more nasty for Red and Roy soon realises that Bryce is a major issue.

Alongside the main storyline (which isn’t necessarily PJs strongest I must say) we see Roy try and prepare for his wedding to Cleo. One of the major pulls with the series in the ongoing drama with his long missing wife (now presumed dead). I was under the impression that this element of the story would be completed by now and was hoping that this book would bring closure to that element as I am tiring of wondering. However, once again we only see the briefest glimpses of what happens, and I was absolutely gutted at how this has once again been left open ended, and maybe open to interpretation by the reader. Although it may seem like it’s all negatives I’m spouting off it really isn’t like that at all. I guess with Peter James you expect perfection every time (so no pressure there Peter), and I tend to be a lot more critical with longer established writers.

Even though there were certain things I didn’t like about this story, there were also some major OMG moments too, and all I can say is “Peter James, how could you have done that”. Major story shocker for one character involved and I thought it was so sad I could have cried (I didn’t though I assure you). Overall the writing style is pure Peter James and flows smoothly, with enough pace to keep you hooked. There were some magical jaw dropping moments proving that Peter James is the King of the Castle when it comes to this genre. I managed to read it in two sittings and although not one of my favourites still a great read.

Dead Man’s Time by Peter James (Roy Grace #9)

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My Rating: 4/5

<Big sigh>, 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 story line 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 story line 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 story line 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.

Not Dead Yet by Peter James (Roy Grace #8)

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My Rating: 4/5

I have read each and every one of the Roy Grace series and I would imagine like many others was looking forward to the latest book. Like many other popular series of books the characters and their history are what add another dimension for the readers. In this latest Roy Grace book we again see the return of my favourite and much loved characters I have got to know. Of course we have Roy himself and his other half Cleo who is now pregnant and expecting their first child. In addition we see many favourites like Glenn Branson (who I adore), Norman Potting and Bella Moy.

The Brighton police force has its work cut out for them. The international superstar Gaia is filming in Brighton for the LA Producer Larry Brooker. Before Gaia leaves Bel Air an attempt is made on her life. By the time she arrives in Brighton Roy is set the challenge of ensuring her safety as well as running a murder investigation. Initially the story hits the ground running and when we see Gaia arrive in Brighton there are already two plots running through the book. On the one side we have the security and attempted murder of Gaia and on the other we have a torso found which the Murder team are trying to identify.

My attention was grabbed a lot more with the storyline in this current book than the last one so I almost felt like the books were back on the up again. The story certainly kept its pace up and I have to be honest as the story continued I got the feeling that this was a real `who dunnit’ kind of story. There are lots of plot threads, lots of action and a real head scratcher of a case. Now on the down side I have to say I am getting slightly irritated by the `Sandy’ thread of the story. I think a conclusion to this element of the story would make me a lot happier because I find myself just shaking my head in disappointment every time I read a bit more.

As I neared the end, I was genuinely taken aback by the plot conclusion and thought it was a good wrap up of the story. Then I was thrown with the last three chapters. I think one part of me admires Peter James for doing this as he has almost certainly drawn a large percentage of readers into the next book (and I admit I am one of them!). I fear that the series may get tedious but there certainly doesn’t seem to be any sign of that (apart from the Sandy part). The only one minor niggle I had was that I never got to find out the conclusion of the story regarding Norman and Bella. Yet again I think that this has been done with good reason and yet again there are things pulling me back and preparing myself for the pre-order again this time next year.

Peter James has certainly continued to show his brilliance as a Crime Writer and as usual I look forward to the next Roy Grace book.

Dead Mans Grip by Peter James (Roy Grace #7)

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My Rating: 3/5

Now the first thing I want to point out is that I am a huge Peter James fan and in particular of this series. Roy Grace is a fantastic character who I have studiously followed in each book. Peter James has always done a fantastic job of creating stories that capture you and the recurring characters that I have slowly fallen in love with. However, this book failed to leave me with the same satisfaction as others in the past.

The story itself starts off with quite a dramatic car accident. We have a short introduction of the main characters and then the accident itself is described in all its horrific detail. The beginning set the pace and as usual with a Peter James book the pace stays that way usually to the very end. This new book is as usual over 500 pages long and I felt that around the halfway mark my interest was becoming far less that it usually is.

The main storyline is centred on Carly Chase who was involved in the traffic accident that involved the death of a young man. It now seems that Carly’s life is in danger by a killer that has already murdered the other two people involved in the accident. I think the main let down for me was the killer themselves; there was a certain air of disbelief that Peter James had taken this route and I found it lessened my enjoyment of the book.

His writing style is as ever fantastic which makes a book ten times easier to read and as usual his characters are all very strong and make a lasting impression. The appearance of the much loved characters is again a sign of how good a writer he is, so from that perspective he cannot be faulted. Roy Grace along with Glenn Branson and some other recurring characters are as ever brilliantly written and people I want to continue seeing.

Roy’s relationship with Cleo is visited throughout the story and we see the glimpses of potential problems for both of them in the future. It is hard to explain why without containing plot spoilers but trust me; this element of the book is brilliant because Peter James has you so hooked on finding out what will happen you just HAVE to buy the next book he publishes.

The last part of these books is the element of Roy’s past concerning his wife Sandy. At the end of his last book I was convinced we would see a conclusion to it in this book. I was wrong! In a way I was irritated by the fact as a reader I didn’t get the answers I wanted, but boy does Peter James throw in a shocker at the end of this book! It was enough of a shocker to nearly make me forgive him the weak killer element of this story.

Overall I really enjoyed the writing style and elements of the story, but the weak element of the killer really made it feel a bit of a let down for me. Finding it hard to rate but will probably say middle of the road. Not his best book in this series, but a crucial element in the ongoing saga of Roy’s past! My advice is to start at the beginning of the series and work your way through.