Newest Review: ... do something about that. To date British author Peter James has written 27 novels. Of which eight have featured Roy Grace as his lea... more
The Shoe Man
Dead Like You - Peter James
Member Name: CPTDANIELS
Dead Like You - Peter James
Advantages: Excellent story full of suspense and mystery
Disadvantages: Too many chapters.
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
Summary: Wonderful Detective thriller