by Peter James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’ve read and enjoyed Peter James series about Detective Superintendent Roy Grace and his crime fighting efforts. They always include a very British approach to life, love, and fighting the bad guys, as well as lots of insider details on police procedure, British style. The latest by this international best-selling author, Not Dead Yet (Minotaur Books 2012), is his best. It is the story of a sexy singer-turned-Hollywood star with the lofty name ‘Gaia’ who comes to Britain to shoot a movie despite death threats that end in the murder of her assistant just before leaving the US. Because of the high profile nature of the star and the rapacious press interest, Roy Grace is assigned the unenviable task of keeping her safe during her time in Brighton. It doesn’t take long for threats to surface despite her multiple body guards and Grace’s focused security efforts (impinged sadly by police budget cuts) and he must unravel the stalker’s plot before real danger reaches the famous star.
He almost doesn’t make it.
Thriller lovers will know they’ve picked the right book from the first line–“Gaia Lafayette was unaware of the man out in the dark, in the station wagon, who had come to kill her.” As it turns out, he’s only one of several who want to see Gaia dead. Keeping the beautiful star safe turns out much more difficult than it at first appeared to Grace, knowing she has her own security staff well-aware of the threats to her life.
By page 7, I couldn’t stop reading, in no small part because of the many details James includes on the human side of Grace and the events that control his life outside of policing. In some books, this would slow the pace down. For James, it’s becomes his voice and what we readers have come to expect from his novels. Many chapters open with some introspective insight into a life event (his girlfriend is pregnant, the difficulties on of his detectives had with self-serve bagging in the grocery, a budding romance which seems to die before it reaches puberty). I counted up to three pages on some tangential event, which were then looped nicely back to the main plot. There’s also a subplot which runs through the series on Grace’s missing wife who, after ten years, Grace is trying to get declared dead so he can marry his current fiancee. It starts where it left off in the last book (which closes just two weeks before this one opens) and is sprinkled throughout this book’s 400+ pages.
There are also some good lines like this one:
“Sometimes his brain felt like a junk room where the light bulb had blown and no one had replaced it. You had to root around with a torch for stuff you wanted, and each year as he got older the torch got smaller and the batteries dimmer.”
Lovely, isn’t it?
Jacqui Murray is the editor of a K-6 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, creator of two technology training books for middle school and six ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blog, Technology in Education featured blogger, IMS tech expert, and a bi-weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.