Not Dead Yet
Roy Grace Series #8
Minotaur Books, October 2013
From the publisher—
Days before one of Hollywood’s hottest stars, Gaia Lafayette, leaves home for a movie role on location in Brighton, England, there is a bungled attempt on her life. The whole city of Brighton awaits Gaia’s arrival, including her dangerously obsessive Number One fan looking for revenge and an anxious Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, charged with protecting Gaia.
When a mutilated torso is found on a chicken farm miles away in the countryside, Roy Grace has no reason at all to connect this to the star’s visit to the county. But as events rapidly begin to unfold, Roy Grace and his police team find themselves in a desperate race against time to save Gaia’s life from a clever maniac who will stop at nothing to kill her.
When it comes to crime novels, there’s not much I like more than a British police procedural and the Roy James series is among the more accessible, meaning easy to read and absorb. I’m glad to say that Not Dead Yet is a welcome successor to the previous books even though I found it just a little too long.
Having to protect a visiting American celebrity, Gaia, is bad enough but Detective Superintendant Roy Grace soon finds that this is not just a babysitting job when it becomes obvious that a lot of people hate this woman, perhaps enough to do her real harm. While that’s going on, a torso found in East Sussex proves to be difficult to identify without any of the usual methods involving fingerprints, facial reconstruction and so forth and, when they finally do identify the victim, the possible connection to Gaia is alarming.
Meanwhile, at home, Roy and his fiancee, Cleo, are expecting a baby at any moment and Detective Sergeant Glenn Branson has his own troubles with a problematic marriage but may finally have his shot at being lead inspector.
The numerous story arcs and characters occasionally become a little overwhelming but Mr. James neatly entwines them to make a coherent and engaging tale full of distractions and puzzles; all the twists and turns kept me turning pages long into the night. By this point in the series, I’m emotionally invested in Roy and the people in his life—although I find Cleo a bit boring and I’m tired of ex-wife Sandy—and Not Dead Yet makes me even more eager to continue with the next book, Dead Man’s Time.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2013.
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Not Dead Yet by Peter James, leave a
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