Last summer I had read Dead Man's footsteps and been absolutely glued. Despite being a regular reader, I hadn't found anything since (for a whole year) which I got so into. I decided to resort back to another Peter James book and headed back to the library. I literally picked up the first one I saw, and that was this, Not Dead Enough. I believe you can buy the paperback for around £4 on amazon.
The book tells the story of Peter James' main character, the detective Roy Grace, and his heading up of a murder enquiry. As with a lot of stories, you also see his personal life, too. He has a missing wife, in this book she has been missing for 9 years now. He has no resolution on the matter. In this book he is given a tip off that she is in Munich, which sends him chasing her, much to his current partners unsettlement.
The book, like Dead Man's Footsteps starts by telling several seemingly unrealted stories in parellel, with each chapter being a different story. As the book progresses, they all meet up with the main story, whcih is the murder of a young, glamerous and rich socialite, seemingly by her husband. As the stories progress you come to realise how related they are and the author back tracks to fill in all the gaps.
In the beginning it is hard to follow a couple of different stories, when you can't see how they fit together, but you have to pus through that as they become incredibly addictive. This is great, peage turning reading. I would definitely recommend.
I picked this novel up in the library, not realising it was part of a series - I'd probably go back and read the previous two novels now, which are Dead Simple, and Looking Good Dead, both of which feature (according to James' website) Detective Superintendent Roy Grace (the hero of Not Dead Enough), and explain how his wife Sandy disappeared - the back story to this book.
Sandy's disappearance, and then possible sighting in Munich, is interwoven with the case at hand - three dead women, who turn out to be connected in one deadly way. This heightens the tension and gives a flavour of what it must be like to try to solve a murder (or three) when you have a distracting personal life to deal with at the same time.
Several plot strands, such as the junkie car-thief Skunk, and his antics, and the dead woman on the beach, who turns out to be pivotal to the case in more ways than one, are capably handled by Peter James, but overall, his villain simply isn't all that scary, and it's pretty easy to guess who he is reasonably early on.
As a huge fan of crime thrillers, I'm not sure I'd become a follower of James' work, but I'm willing to give it another go - everything is great except that central hook - the bad guy! The characters are well drawn and reaslistic, there is believable detail, and a very well-written episode involving social services!!
However, I felt that the story ran out of steam right at the end, and that James sort of abandoned the plot, having unmasked the baddie, which was a little frustrating.
Overall, worth giving a look, but don't buy in hardback!
This is the third book in the DS Roy Grace series (the first two are Dead Simple and Looking Good Dead). I recommend you start with the first book of the series-there is an underlying plot thread regarding the disappearance of Roy Grace's wife many years ago and it helps if you have read the previous two.
Onto the story and once again Peter James delivers a stunning crime with a fascinating story. It regards the murder of a young woman whose husband is the main (indeed probably the only) suspect, but who has a perfect alibi. As in all his books, there is a definite element of horror in his description of the crime and the mind of the murderer, certainly more than other police procedurals.
The plot twists and turns well, but it is James' characterisation of the police superintendent and his allies and enemy's that really keeps the book going. I can't give too much away without spoilers, but he ties together plenty of loose threads by the end and in a way that I certainly wasn't expecting. It's probably not as good as his earlier two novels, but keeps the series going strong. I will definitely be buying the next one (Dead Man's Footsteps) to keep up with the series.
Overall a good solid continuation of the series. Highly recommended for crime fans and perfect for a holiday read.