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==Synopsis of the book:==
A woman is brutally raped in a Hotel in Brighton on New Years Eve. And despite her ordeal she has the courage to give the Police detailed information to what she was subjected too. The key being her expensive designers shoes. This brings in Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, who remembers a series of rapes that happened in the area back in 1997, that involved a similar type of torture for what became know as the 'Shoe man'. He raped four local women and Grace believed he was responsible for another one disappearing.
The question Grace and his team have is is this the Shoe Man? And if it is why has he remained quite for so many years? Or is it a sick copycat? This case bring back unhappy memories for Grace because while he is now in a happy relationship with Cleo, in 1997 his wife Sandy disappeared. From that day to this Grace does not know why she went missing and if she is dead or alive. All he knows is his team must catch this rapist before he strikes again.
==My thoughts on this novel:==
I thought this was an excellent crime thriller and one I enjoyed from the first page to the very last. For me it had all the ingredients required in a real roller coaster story. Usually when I read a crime story I want to Detectives to struggle and even sometimes feel aggrieved when it is solved. But in this one maybe because of the subject matter, maybe because of the Detective I was really keen for the case to be solved as quickly as possible.
I purchased this book with a voucher I received from Amazon. I had never read a book by Peter James before but I can't honestly say why that is the case. A friend told me he read one recently and told me he thought it would be something I would enjoy particularly the Roy Grace series. So I selected this book about 10 months ago, put it on one of my many books shelves and promptly forgot all about it!! Then last weekend I found myself without a book to read and after grazing the shelves I realised I still hadn't read this one so I knew I should do something about that.
To date British author Peter James has written 27 novels. Of which eight have featured Roy Grace as his lead character, the book I am reviewing is the sixth and was first published in 2010. The unusual thing about this series although you could argue its not that unusual as they are crime thrillers is they all have 'dead' in the title. What in retrospect I think is good about this series is the author writes about a place he knows well in Brighton as he lives down the road in Lewes in Sussex. I always think this helps when describing a scene and helps with bring a sense of realism to the story.
Before I started the book I always like to get a flavour of what it is about, so I always read the summary of the story on the back cover. This really set the scene well and maybe if anything gave a little too much of the story away and certainly more than I shared in my brief account of the story above. The summary was a good size and brought up several interesting details. It immediately made me wonder why this rapist had been quiet for over a decade. And was it really him after all this time. It asked questions that I wanted to know the answers to before I had read a page of the story itself.
What immediately became apparent when I began reading was the author was going to spilt the story up between 1997 and now. This for me worked very well and because the James signposted every time the time span changed so well I was never confused or in any doubt where I was. Indeed initially I preferred learning about what happened in 1997 as there appeared more action and I liked the desperate situation that was being played out. I suppose the author could have told the 1997 story first and then transferred to now, but I liked the way he did it and it almost felt like you had two stories in one.
The story I always found interesting, there was enough mystery and suspense to always keep me guessing and to be honest I did not have a clue who the 'Shoe Man' was if indeed it was really him until the very end. It was written in a way that I found the story very easy to read while very addictive. I am not the quickest reader in the world but I found that the 643 pages just sailed by and it took me last than three days to complete it and enjoy it thoroughly.
It is unusual for me to get so involved and enthralled in a story but for me this one had every attribute I would look for and hope to find in a thriller. If I have one small criticism it would be the amount of chapters the author used. Yes I like short chapters but I felt these where to short even for me as there were 123 of them. Yes it broke up the story well, but sometimes I wished we could have stuck with the scene and be given more detail about it as it wetted you appetite and then finished without enough happening.
I really enjoyed the direction the story took. It was never predictable and I liked the way the story followed not only the investigation but several members of the public who have an interest in expensive designer shoes. The author I felt had the level of detail in the investigation just right and I enjoyed learning about the ideas and wrong turnings they took during it. To me it was realistic and honest and I was totally engrossed in it.
Part of the reason I enjoyed this story so much was the lead character. I thought Roy Grace was a great character and I really liked all the scenes involving him. In many ways there was nothing special about him he was basically a good Detective running his team. I liked his attitude to his work and the way he managed his people. I particularly enjoyed his home life and it was nice to have this being positive and I enjoyed the interplay between him and his partner Cleo. But even in his personal life your had questions and the mystery of what happened to his first wife Sandy.
Another reason why I enjoyed this story so much was the quality of the support characters within it. That is because the story did not simply focus on Roy Grace who was excellent on his own. I enjoyed the depth the clearly the thought put into them. By only giving the reader certain selected information about them he was able to create mystery around them all and make you want to know more about them.
I found the concluding chapters of the story exciting and still full of suspense. It was fast paced and I did not have a clue what would happen and what would happen to the characters within it. Although I was surprised Grace was not in the thick of it at the end, but then that was probably the author being logical as it is not often the guy leading the investigation should be in at the kill. The only thing that surprised me was there were still one or two questions left answered and one I really wanted to know. Maybe I will have to read the next book in the series to find this out.
The stories length was just about right to tell this fascinating tale. Yes maybe an epilogue would have been nice but for me it was not necessary as I think the next story will lead on from this in Roy Grace's next investigation. For me I usually struggle with a new author but this never happened with this one and I feel having read and enjoyed this novel that I must read another in, on this performance, this excellent series very soon.
I would certainly recommend this excellent crime thriller that had me involved from the first page to the very last. It was a classic investigation and I enjoyed the way it was conducted. The story was well written and I particularly enjoyed the suspense and mystery within it. For me Roy Grace was a key factor in my enjoyment as he was such a down to earth, level headed lead character, with a real mystery even in his personal life.
Price: 5.19 New at Amazon
Publisher: Pan Books
Year first published: 2010
More about the author: www.peterjames.com
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.
© CPTDANIELS December 2012
I would like to thank Peter James so much I hadn't read a book for years when my mum gave me one of his books Dead simple the first book in the Roy Grace series back in 2006 and I did not put it down until I had read every single word! Dead like you is the 7th in the series and you could easily read it with out having reading any of the others but I would really recommend reading them all as each book has a different story a but there are other stories to follow through out the series which peter will keep you up to date with and you wouldn't feel like your missing something having not read the other books. The suspense some times are unbearable he will leave you at one part of the story for you to get griped by the next part. Roy Grace is such a great character and I love reading about his life and I can never wait for the next book!
Peter James is a very successful (internationally) british crime writer and has written over twenty novels. He has written for TV and films in the past. Peter James recent books have has featured a main character called Roy Grace. Roy Grace is Dectective Superindentent who is passionate about his career which has an effect on his his private life, especially with his relationships. Dead Like You is the sixth book in the Detective Superindentant Roy Grace series. All of the books feature the
word 'Dead' in the title and are set in Brighton.
The Roy Grace series books in order are:
Looking Good Dead
Not Dead Enough
Dead Man's Footsteps
Dead Like You
All of these books have been popular and have all been in the top ten bestseller chart. I'm still reading 'Looking Good Dead' and 'Dead Tomorrow'. I've yet to buy the three other books in the series. I probably should have started off reading the first book 'Dead Simple', But when I started reading 'Dead Like You' I couldn't stop.
Dead Like You - The Plot:
After a woman is raped and another is a assaulted, both crimes have something in common - both of their shoes have been stolen from their attacker. The mystery attacker who is given the name 'Shoe Man', as it becomes apparent that he has a fixation with shoes, and not just any shoes but designer shoes. As the number of victims (female, young women) increases, Roy Grace sees the similarites between the latest crimes and the crimes on young women back in 1997. There is a chance that the attacker could be the same man who raped five women in 1997. Roy Grace comes to the conclusion that if the attacker is not the same man then there is a possibility that he could be looking for a copy-cat. As Roy Grace tries to solve the case he make a few mistakes along the way.
'Dead Like You' doesn't make for a comfortable read (but then what crime novel does?), though Peter James handles the sensitive subject of rape well. Peter James gets into the head of the perpetrator well and I could imagine the Roy Grace series being made into a short television series. 'Dead Like You' flashes back to 1997, 1979 and to the current day. I did guess who the attacker was, but it did not spoil the story for me. Peter James successfully writes from a female perspective as well as a male one. Peter James has really done his research for this book, which is clear in his acknowlegements at the end of the book, and show how dedicated he is to his writing.
I can't wait to read all of ther books in the series and there is definately room for at least one more, as there are loose ends in the character Roy Grace's personal life which haven't yet been tied up.
Dead Like You is currently £3.99 in Paperback. I brought the Amazon Kindle edition which is cheaper and is currently £3.59. All of the paperback books in the Roy Grace series are under £4 on Amazon. Good value I think as the books in the series are at least 400 pages long. 'Dead Like You is' 500 pages long.
I discovered Peter James' Roy Grace series when I was living in Brighton, where the action of all these great detective novels takes place. And just like it happened to me with the previous ones, once I got it I couldn't put it down until I finished reading it!
Roy Grace's investigation starts when a woman is savagely raped when entering a room in Brighton's Metropole Hotel. The disturbing details of this horrendous crime remind Grace of a series of very similar crimes ocurred in Brighton 10 years earlier, in which the rapist had shown a fetish for high fashion ladies shoes. When a woman is assaulted in a similar way only a few days later, Grace becomes more and more convinced that "Shoe Man" is still on the loose.
The story moves between the present and 1997, which allows the reader to understand a lot better the relationship that Grace had with his wife Sandy by the time she went missing.
I would recommend it to all the fans of genre. It's absolutely gripping and you'll not be able to put it down until you finish it.
The paperback is now being sold in Amazon for £3.99. I couldn't wait so long so I got a far more expensive hardback edition as soon as the book was published, but it was well worth it! :)