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==Synopsis of the book:==
Carly Chase is involved in a horrific traffic accident in Brighton. Although she is unhurt she has to swerve to avoid an on coming cyclist, who is hit by a white van that has been tailgating her. The cyclist then ends up under the wheels of a lorry and dies within a few minutes of his injuries. The Police quickly arrive on the scene and start to try and piece together what happened. Carly is breathalysed and found to be over the legal limit from a glass or two too many the night before, while the lorry driver involved has worked over his prescribed hours and is also in trouble with the Police. But the White van driver has not stopped and the Police begin a search for him, unfortunately they have little to go on and there are thousands of them around.
Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is brought in to manage the operation. The only additional information the Police have is the dead man, an American student Tony Revere family have a gangster background. They are a family who believe in revenge as they want others to suffer as they are now suffering from losing their youngest son. Can Grace and his team find the white van driver and administer justice before the gangster family reek their own revenge on all those involved?
==My thoughts on this novel:==
I thought this was a first class crime thriller and one that I enjoyed from the first page to the very last. It was the sort of story that really gripped me and was full of suspense throughout. The only down side for me was there was not an awful lot of mystery within it as it was very obvious even part of the way through who was good and who was bad. But it was intended this way as we got to know and understand a little about all the important characters within the story.
In the past few weeks I have read and liked several of stories within the DS Roy Grace series. So far there was eight stories in this impressive series with this being the 7th which was first published in 2011. In addition Peter James has also written another 19 novels. For me these are amazing stories that could be transferred to television, because they are so cleverly thought out and have the level of detail to always keep the reader entertained.
All the Roy Grace series are located around Brighton and for me this is a very sensible concept. That is because this is very close to the authors home so it is a place he is very familiar with. For me this comes through loud and clear in his words and I love the detailed descriptions he uses for the places.
I selected this book simply because I wanted to read the next chapter in this series. I found the book on Amazon and I was immediately drawn to it by the short but interesting summary of the story. Although certainly from my point of view the author gives a little too much of the plot away in it. As he also does on the front cover with the few words that dawn it. I would not have included these but they certainly have an effect. For me the title in itself should have been enough.
The story begin by introducing the main characters in the accident. With short, crisp chapters there is never the opportunity to get bored or get to know any of them too much. I found this a good start as they were all so different, the only one that wasn't introduced to us was the driver of the white van. Then before you had time to catch you breath there was the accident and the aftermath of it. It was fast faced and I must admit I wondered who this story could be spun out to 500 pages but that was due to some of the twists and turns within the story.
One of the features I like about these stories is for me the Police investigation is believable. Some stories annoy me because it is far to easy for the Police but these are think are for more honest with Grace and his team taking and chasing up many wrong leads and engaged on wild goose chases. Although in a way too this can be frustrating as the reader knows more than the Police and you are waiting for them to play catch up.
Another of the great joys for me in the series is the way the author incorporates Roy Grace's private life in his stories. And while just one man's home life may not be enough if he writes many more stories to be fascinating at the moment it was fab. In this book the author answered part of the mystery about what happened to Grace's wife Sandie who disappeared ten years ago and left him distraught. I had been itching to know this from the previous books bit what was revealed raises many more questions and opens up many more possibilities for the future stories.
The story had a good feel about it and I found the pages flowed by. There was always something exciting happening and I really enjoyed the way Grace managed his team and the investigation. But what really worked well was this investigation was intermingled with not only new developments involving Grace's personal life but what was happening to the other characters introduced earlier in the story.
I really enjoy the level of detail the author employs in the stories. They are deep without being over too flowery and they really set every scene superbly. I really get the feeling I am part of the investigation team and the team meeting are well covered always so you know exactly where the Police are. I do feel because of the thought behind the story and the level of detail you could read any of the series in any order and pick up what is happening very quickly. The only thing you may struggle a little about is the Sandie story from Grace's personal life.
The concluding chapters in this story were very exciting and full of suspense. It was good for me that Grace was involved in it as it certainly added to tense but intriguing ending. And yet even then there was a surprise in the sting of the story that had me impressed. I really respect this writer because for me he thinks outside the box and he does things you would not think of or consider so you can never guarantee the outcome to the story, which again I think is honest and realistic.
Roy Grace is the star of the series and a character I think is a good role model. I love the way he runs his department, they all work well for and with him because there is respect running both ways between them. He is a very likeable character and a clever Policeman. I really love the mystery that is involved within his private life and for me there is a certain vulnerability to him especially with his girlfriend Chloe expecting their first child. Usually Detectives at some stage get on my nerves but all I feel for Grace is respect and an understanding as to how and why the man ticks as he does.
The story was exactly 500 pages long and that for me was exactly the right length for it. And while it had neither a prologue or an epilogue I found that it was not necessary as the first chapter introduced the first of the characters and the ending provided its own update on the key characters.
In the past I have criticised this author for his excessive use of chapters and in this one there was 115 so a new chapter on average for every four and a bit pages. However I didn't seem to notice this so much in this story as the different scenes needed separating out and this is the best way to show this to the reader.
For me this was a excellent crime thriller and one I would certain recommend to any thriller fan who enjoy a story with a bit of a bite. I really loved it because of the detail involved in the story, there was always something to think about and it was full of fast faced excitement. The only slight drawback for me is I will now have to read the next instalment as I think I am addicted to this excellent series of stories.
Price: 5.19 (New from Amazon)
Year first Published: 2011
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 February 2013.
An accident occurs near Brighton Sea Front when a young cyclist is run over and tragically dies. Three other drivers are involved - a middle aged mother who swerves to avoid him, a van driver who hits him but fails to stop; and a lorry driver whose truck the cyclist ends up under. It's obviously an unfortunate accident but, when Detective Superintendent Roy Grace realises that the deceased is related to one of New York's godfathers, everything starts to look far more sinister. Things don't look good for all of the other parties involved as the family seems determined for revenge.
What starts as a normal day for Tony Revere soon ends in his death after he is knocked from his cycle and is thrown under the truck. Carly Chase does not hit him but as she swerves to avoid him, her Audi smashes into a café window. A subsequent breathalyser test shows that she is still over the limit from the night before. Stuart Ferguson, the truck driver, is also not responsible for the accident but he was tired having driven for more hours than are legally permitted. The van driver who actually hits Tony first just doesn't stop. It seems like a tragic accident, especially as the weather was terrible and Tony was cycling on the wrong side of the road. Tony's mother, who has links with the Mafia, does not think so though and is set on revenge.
Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is leading the investigation and the more he uncovers, the more he worries, especially when people start to go missing and one of the drivers is found dead. It is a race against time to stop any more killings and to protect the other drivers involved.
I was hooked from the moment that I picked up 'Dead Man's Grip'. It is really fast paced and combines all of the essentials of great mystery and suspense writing very well. It was the sort of book that I did not want to put down as I just needed to keep reading a little more just to find out what would happen next. This is very easy to do because the chapters are all very short - a technique that I think really helps to build up the tension for the reader. The suspense is also built up very well through switching the focus between the different characters and seeing only what they are meant to see whilst also knowing other things that they don't.
I also found it fascinating reading all about the various police procedures involved in investigating a road traffic incident such as this although there was a fair bit of new terminology to get to grips with. Peter James has written many books involving Roy Grace but it doesn't matter if, like me, you have not read any of the others. It is a very good stand alone read although I was aware that there were references to past cases and also a couple of strands of ongoing stories involving his missing wife and his pregnant girlfriend. It has tempted me to read more in the series.
'Dead Man's Grip' is definitely the sort of book that will really keep you guessing and I certainly did not find it too predictable. Every time that I thought that I had worked out what was going to happen, I was proved wrong. That is good though as it meant that the book was never predictable.
The hardcover is currently available on Amazon for £9.49 (July 2011).
This review has previously appeared under my name at www.thebookbag.co.uk