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Dead Man's Footsteps - Peter James

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Genre: Crime / Thriller / Author: Peter James / Paperback / 400 Pages / Book is published 2008-12-05 by Pan Books

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    6 Reviews
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      25.10.2013 18:50
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      Another great thriller by Peter James

      I am a big fan of Peter James and his Roy Grace series.

      This is quite a thick book but, it won't disappoint you. It's so well plotted that it will keep you guessing to the end. The story follows Roy Grace as he tries to solve another Brighton crime which starts with a character named Ronnie Wilson who sees the opportunity to disappear from his past in the days following 9/11.

      About the same time a skeletal remains of a woman is found who it turns out is Wilson's wife. Another woman is found in the trunk of a car who again it turns out to be Wilson's 2nd wife, and what about Abbey who is stuck in a lift? How does Roy Grace find the connection with these women, 9/11 and Ronnie Wilson?

      Both the women's bodies had been dead for a long time although no where near each other with one in Brighton and one in Australia, but it's up to Roy Grave to solve the mystery.

      Its a real page turner, with twists and turns that will keep you hooked until the end.

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        20.07.2010 18:45
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        Roy Grace will leave you mystified.

        I love reading and have always got a good book on the go and a few lined up. One of the genres of books I have never read before has been crime books, which my Mum has started encouraging on me lately. I was worried I would find them a bit scary and not be able to sleep properly, which sometimes happens after similar TV shows (I know-what a baby!) but my Mum persuaded me that this one really wasn't and to give it a go. I took this book on holiday and could not put it down, it was instantly addictive.

        The book tells the story of detective (I forget his actual police title, I could not keep up with them all in the book, they were very precise)! Roy Grace. As a back ground his wife went missing and she is still un found. He is now dating a girl called Cleo, whom he loves.

        Roy works in the Brighton and Hove district and investigates three stories in the book. The story of a body found in the sewers, dead for many years. The story of Abby who gets stuck in the lift in her block of flats, and the story of a body found in the boot of a car in Melbourne, Autralia. Each story takes him across the world, which is where the name of the book comes from as they end up tracing one persons footsteps as they realise all the stories are interlinked and combined. Teh book stays very top level, and does not interfere too much with your emotions, and make you sad, or scared which I liked as that kept it fairly easy to read.

        The part about the book i really enjoyed was the mystery. I was constantly trying to work out what was going on, and I never guessed. Each chapter brings a new clue, so you end up gripped, turning the pages really fast to get closer and closer to the answer.

        The only thing I didn't like about this book (it is a minor point, but i feel the need to point it out as it is a review) is the very occasional sex scenes. They just seemed uneccessary and like they didnt really fit in with the story and were added for effect.

        All in all a very good book, and has made me ensure my next book is another in the Roy Grace series. The good thing is, you do not really need to read these books in order to enjoy them. I jumped in in the middle of the series, and didn't feel lost of behind at all!

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        26.05.2009 20:21
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        Enjoyable read

        This is another book in the Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series. In this book, two bodies are found that have been dead for a very long time - one woman is found in a storm drain in Brighton and another is discovered in the boot of a car in a lake in Australia. How are these women linked and how have their bodies remained undiscovered for so long without anyone missing them? Roy Grace and his team intend to find out.

        ************************************************************

        There are several threads to this story other than the one highlighted above. At the beginning of this book, the chapters are kept quite short and create instant intrigue as we flit between the past (September 11th, 2001) and the present (October 2007). Ronnie Wilson, a man with serious debt issues and no business sense, finds that the 9/11 attacks are a blessing in disguise as it is the day as he decides to shed his old life and begin a new one under the pretence that he died at the twin towers. Meanwhile, Abby is hiding from someone dangerous and is constantly trying to cover her tracks. Both of these story lines were instant attention grabbers; and it is immediately apparent that eventually these plots would tie in to the two dead bodies - I just wanted to find out in which way they were linked! All three plot lines are equally interesting and easy to follow and the characters enjoyable to read about.

        This is the second Peter James book I have read, although it is the first in the "Detective Superintendent Grace" series that I have actually read, and from reading this book, it is clear that I have missed the preceding books. This doesn't, however, make it difficult to read, the main character, Roy Grace, is explained fully and I only wish I'd read the others as I found him interesting and wanted to know more.

        The main character, the aforementioned Grace, is a likeable one and whose character is developed nicely. His own wife went missing nine years before and although he has a girlfriend in this book, he is clearly still searching for answers - so much so that at the discovery of the body, he is afraid it might be that of his wife. I enjoyed reading about Grace as it leant a good sense of mystery to his background as well as making him feel a bit more human rather than a character created to keep the plot moving along.

        The other members of Grace's team were also well developed and interesting and I could see how this group of people would be appealing to read about - their characters were developed well enough that it would be pleasurable to read about them in the other books in the series - I imagine their private lives are expanded on even more so as the series carries on.

        As for the plot, this too was interesting, fast paced and enjoyable. I liked how the connections between the bodies, Abby and Ronnie were slowly played out; despite having several threads it wasn't complicated to follow and the revelations, although not a surprise when they eventually came, were also satisfying. I really liked the take on the 9/11 tragedy and seeing things from that perspective, and I thought that the author took a simple idea and developed it into a perfect thriller.

        My only criticism would be that the events that unfold in this book tend to be a bit too much of a coincidence that did ruin the believability of the whole story. Both the women's bodies are discovered within days of each other even though they are at opposite sides of the world and the women in question have been dead at least a couple of years each. As well as that, Abby seems to be running from something that seems completely connected to the bodies at exactly the same time that the bodies are discovered. I think most books in this genre do a good job of making you believe such events could happen and can be based in reality, but the chain of events in this one made it impossible for me to fully consider the story as a realistic scenario. You definitely have to suspend belief - after all, how lucky would our police departments have to be to find all the clues all at once within a month of each other?

        Aside from that, this is a classic thriller with lots of tension. It has a good mix of intrigue, great leading characters and a really, bloody good idea. I'd love to carry on reading about Detective Superintendents cases and finding out more about his private life as this book merely hints at Grace's very interesting missing wife - especially as the book ends on such a wonderful cliffhanger...

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          09.05.2009 14:11

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          an amazing acomplishment

          Firstly, I LOVE THIS BOOK!
          I've always been a fan of James Patterson, and his twitsed crime thrillers, i never thought i would have the same reading relationship with another author, but along came Peter James with this book which just blew me away.
          The book is set with three stories, we have the tale of Ronnie Wilson, a man struggling financially who upon planning a new business venture ends up in the turmoil of 9/11. We then have the tale of Abbie a woman afraid of the outside world, whos stuck in an elevator hoping she wont die. Then the tale of Roy Grace, a Brighton and Hove detective, missing wife, drinks alot but a brilliant police man.
          The three stories are engaging whilst they are self contained but the way in which they link together makes this book brilliant. Its cleverly written and completely engaging. I'm now interested to read more books from Peter James,a nd i was lucky to find another one of his books in a charity store for £1.50, so look out for him.
          A definate must read for anybody interested in crime thrillers. The stories are extremely cleverly written, and the back of the book explains how he reserached into teh policing of Brighton and Hove to make the tale more realtistic and possible.
          I apologise for not adding spoilers, but taht would be unfair to anyone who after reading my review whats to give the book a try.
          The only disapointing sub plot of the book in my opinion is the Roy Grace's wife Sandy aspect of all Peter James books. The ending of Dead Mans footsteps see's a new twist, but i personally felt it un-necessary but see for yourselfs, its a great read!

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          05.01.2009 15:53
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          A great page turner

          I am an avid reader of Peter James's books in the series of novels he has written about Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. The books tend to have really gripping twisting plots that I can get lost in - which can make them a bit dangerous to read on trains as I am often so involved in the book that I miss my stop! When I saw the latest book in the series, Dead Man's Footsteps, was for sale, I picked it up immediately to find out what happens next in the world of Roy Grace (Brighton and Hove!)

          All of the books in this series have the word 'dead' in the title, which immediately gives you a sinister feeling before you have even opened the cover, as you know a dead body is going to turn up at some point. In the case of Dead Man's Footsteps, you don't have to wait too long for the discovery of a dead body to be announced - a woman's body is found residing in a storm drain. Thus the plot draws you in with the creepy discovery, and the reader is taken behind the scenes of the investigation into what happened to the dead woman, as led by Roy Grace. As with the other Peter James novels in this series, each chapter contains a different thread of the story that connects to the murder investigations, but you don't quite know how they connect until later on in the book.

          At the start of the novel, we are also introduced to a man who is in New York on September 11th 2001, and see his perspective of the events that day, and what he goes through. I found this part of the story intriguing, as it is easy to think of the September 11 attacks as an overview without thinking too much about the individual stories of those who experienced it.

          In a separate thread of the plot, we are also introduced to a woman called Abby, who seems to be terrified of being followed, or that something or someone nasty from her past is trying to track her down. This storyline instantly drew me in as I wanted to find out if she was just a little bit obsessive, or if she is justified in her fear. In previous books in the series, the characters we are initially introduced to have sometimes ended up in a body bag, so I wondered if Abby was justified in her fears, or if the same fate awaited her and she was about to meet her doom!

          Part of the fun of reading the book was trying to figure out how all these stories connect with the main murder investigation as we are unsure how they relate to the dead woman (though as this is a Peter James novel, of course they must be). It also enjoyed reading about the instantly likeable character of Roy Grace, who is the constant from one book to the next. As Roy investigates the cases, we get an insight into the detective superintendent's life when he isn't doing police work. As well as drinking too much and being mocked by his peers, Grace spends a large amount of time thinking of the disappearance of his wife, which happened some years earlier. This clearly comes to Roy's mind when he is investigating disappearances or murders, as he finds himself wondering if his wife met the same fate. This adds another dimension to the book as we have more to consider when they find the dead body: could this be Roy Grace's wife?

          This is a good book. It is fast paced, thrilling and has suspense and tension in all the right places. As with the other books in this series, I found myself completely hooked throughout, (which is handy as it is 400 odd pages long). At times though, it can be a little simple in the middle of the investigation, as the police miraculously pick up on very tenuous clues that link parts of the case together, which I find slightly unbelievable! This book is also not as good as some of the other novels in the series (in particular the first book, Dead Simple, which has an even more unusual plot and doesn't suffer from the tenuous clues part in the middle). Having said that, I don't think this book suffers from being one in a series of books, and it still works as a stand alone book.

          Though I would recommend the rest of the series, if you haven't read the previous novels, it shouldn't impact on your reading of this book. Important parts of the back story are explained so you would understand everything important (but this isn't done enough to irritate readers who have read the previous books).

          Overall, the plot is intriguing, the characters are well thought out, but best of all is the ending, which will completely hit you by surprise and make you desperately want to read the next one!

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            22.09.2008 11:45
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            A good thriller from Peter James

            Detective Superintendent Roy Grace doesn't have an easy job. First of all, the body of a woman is found in a storm drain; she later proves to be the wife of a 'businessman', Ronnie Wilson, who died in the 7/11 disaster, but the discovery of her body serves to remind Grace of his own missing wife. Then another body is discovered in a river in Australia; breast implants prove that she is Ronnie Wilson's second wife, yet she was supposed to have committed suicide shortly after her husband's death in the Twin Towers. Is there a connection between the two murders? If so, does this mean that Wilson is still alive? And who is the woman living in Brighton who seems to be running for her life? Roy Grace must pool all his resources to find out the truth.

            This is the first Peter James book that I have read, but I have to admit, within just a few pages, I was impressed. There is just such a lot going on. Chapters are kept very short, usually just two or three pages, but they alternate between a number of characters. One is Abby, a woman who appears to be running from somebody, in fear of her life. There is Ronnie Wilson, whose story begins back in 2001 around the time of 7/11, and his wife at the time, Lorraine. There is a nameless man who is chasing Abby. And of course, there is Roy Grace and his colleagues, all of whom are trying to piece together what initially appears to be a series of investigations.

            Splitting up the story like this is very effective; I spent several late nights reading this book, wanting to find out what was going to happen to a particular character before I went to sleep and, with the short chapters, thinking that I would just read one more chapter...The different strands of the story are quite difficult to follow to begin with, but this just adds to the frenetic pace of the book and really encouraged me to keep reading. As the plot progresses, the different strands are slowly woven together, yet the author keeps just enough back to keep the reader guessing.

            Towards the middle of the book, the pace does begin to wane a little and I became slightly less enamoured of the plot. This really doesn't last for very long though; I think that the author really knows what he is doing, because just at the point where I might have given up, another clue is thrown into the mix and I was hooked again. There are a couple of points that are fairly major to the investigation that I found to be overly contrived, which prevented the book from deserving a five star rating; for example, the lead that Grace is given to Abby is tenuous to say the least and its preposterousness was really distracting. However, they were fairly minor disadvantages to what is otherwise a good thriller.

            I am new to the world of Peter James and his character, Roy Grace, but I have to admit that I didn't really see anything new in Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. He is the usual slightly jaded copper who drinks too much, has failed relationships and is a bit of a maverick. However, in my opinion, there is one point that rai ses him above Rankin's Rebus, Billingham's Thorne and Robinson's Banks and that is his past. We find out through the course of the investigation that Grace's wife, Sandy, went missing several years before and has never reappeared. There are hints throughout the story that she may suddenly be brought into the story, and I found this really fascinating. Her situation is not fully discussed in this book, but it has been left open to be discussed in the future and I must admit this is a great draw for me - I really can't wait until the next book comes out to see what happens!

            The way that Peter James writes is perfect for this style of book - the language used is plain and to the point. Combined with the short chapter format, this makes for great reading, particularly for a holiday. I was slightly put off at the beginning by the length of the book - the hardback version has over 400 pages and it looks really hefty - but because of the short chapters, I soon galloped through to the end.

            I didn't have any great expectations of this book before I read it, but I did really enjoy it. It isn't outstanding - there are a whole host of authors telling similar stories - but the pacing was great, and, even if the story wasn't particularly original, it did draw me in very quickly. If you enjoy, and haven't yet become totally jaded by, modern day crime fiction, then you will almost certainly enjoy this book. Recommended.

            The paperback version is available from play.com for £5.49. Published by Pan Macmillan, it has 400 pages. ISBN: 9780330446136.

            This book was originally published by me on thebookbag.co.uk

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