Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

You Are Dead – Peter James

Crime Fiction 5*'s
Crime Fiction

For those of you that are fans of this series featuring Roy Grace you’ll be pleased to hear that if anything, this eleventh outing is even better than the previous ten with the writing engaging from the start, the quality of the research impeccable and the story arcs holding their own without overshadowing the exciting new plot.

On a December evening Logan Summerville is returning home after a bad day, looking forward to a glass of wine, she drives down the ramp into the underground car park where she spots a lurking figure. The last her fiancé Nick Walton heard from her was a panicked phone call which ended with a blood curdling scream. He calls the police who find no trace of Logan, her car is parked with her phone inside but there don’t seem to be any clues to where she has gone.

The story is told over the consecutive days of the investigation into what has happened to Logan but soon incorporates a murder as on the same afternoon a pathway that has been in place for twenty years is dug up by workmen who find a body. So Roy Grace has one murder investigation to add to the possible abduction already underway and there is the upcoming funeral of a much-loved fellow officer who died at the end of the last book. With the team mourning the loss of their friend Grace has to find a way to keep them motivated. All this in the week that he is supposed to be moving into his new home with Cleo and baby Noah. Will this be the investigation that causes their relationship to crack under the strain?

It doesn’t take to many pages to be turned before another body is found along with another missing woman who looks very much like Logan and Grace has to consider that Brighton may have its first serial killer for eighty years. Now I thought I’d had my fill of serial killers but Peter James has really researched his subject matter and references some of the true instances which are familiar to us all when deciding how to flush the perpetrator out which keeps the focus very much on the detection rather than glorifying the crime itself.

One of the reasons I get so excited about reading the latest in this series, and this is one that is a must-have, is because I love meeting the characters which have flourished over the previous series. I know I often say I don’t feel the need to like the characters in the books I read but the ones in this series do feel like friends. With a variety of characters who are anything but one-dimensional,particularly when you have seen their characters develop, like Norman Potts who has had layers of depth added as the series progressed. It is also nice to have a story where those investigating get on; I love the way the team interact and there are the odd little quips that lighten the mood at well-timed moments. Of course no Roy Grace novel would be complete without a mention of Marlon the goldfish and Sandy the missing wife, this one is no different!

If you haven’t read any of this series, you are in for a real treat, start at the beginning and get to see Brighton bought to life with some of the best crime writing around.

Roy Grace Series in order

Dead Simple
Looking Good Dead
Not Dead Enough
Dead Man’s Footsteps
Dead Tomorrow
Dead Like You
Dead Man’s Grip
Not Dead Yet
Dead Man’s Time
Want You Dead
You Are Dead

I’d like to say an enormous thank you to Midas PR who probably heard the screams of delight when they contacted me to see if I’d like to review this novel in return for a review. You Are Dead is published next week on 21 May 2015 and I recommend that you go and buy yourself a copy.

Part of the material Midas PR provided with the book included details of how Peter James created his serial killer for this book:

In Peter’s research to create his central villain for this novel, he eventually singled out four names. They came from a catalogue of murderers who had taken three or more lives at different times – the actual definition of a serial killer. Those four were Ted Bundy, Dennis Rader, Harold Shipman and Dennis Nilsen. What fascinated him about them was how outwardly each appeared to be such very respectable men. Shipman, for example, was a well-loved family doctor. Nilsen was in the army, then a police officer, then Executive Officer for a Jobcentre. Rader was a family man, a church warden, scout leader and local government compliance officer. Because of their intelligence, their lack of emotion, and their veneers of respectability, all four of these men got away with their killings over many years. Each of them very nearly got away with it completely.

Go on, you must be tempted by now!


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

23 thoughts on “You Are Dead – Peter James

  1. Peter James can be relied upon to tell a darn good story. I’m not as keen on the Grace/Cleo element ( feels rather repetitive) so I tend to skim those parts a bit. I thought there had been a serial killer already ( the stiletto murderer though now I can’t recall the title)


    1. Peter James is one of those writers that when I pick up the book I know I will enjoy the content. I do like Grace’s back story so it is an all round great read for me. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one – I don’t have reviews of the earlier books so I didn’t check but I thought they had investigated a serial killer before too.


  2. So glad this one lived up to your expectations, Cleo. There are indeed some series where you feel you’ve gotten to know the characters, and look forward to interacting with them as you read. I think James has done an effective job of creating some in this series.


    1. Thank you Margot, with some authors you know you are in safe hands and the balance between the personal and professional lives in this series is one that I appreciate – the research undertaken shines through in this one giving it a very ‘solid’ feel.


  3. Always nice to have a good experience with a well-loved series. And I promise I am going to start this one, with the first book. You’ve convinced me. 🙂


    1. I didn’t know Rader had been an animal control officer so thank you! This series is my favourite of all perhaps because I got involved at the very beginning and I look forward to meeting all my favourite characters again each year.


      1. Yes he kept harassing a woman which I suppose was part of his preliminary to killing her. He seized her daughter’s little dog and killed it at the shelter (details are murky), and the woman moved away. A decision that probably saved her life.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Your great reviews always makes these sound soooo tempting. But somwhow I will resist! 😉 I suspect the difference with this one is that I haven’t followed the series from the beginning. I feel the same about the characters in the Maeve Kerrigan books as you do about these ones – they’re old friends and I want to know what happens to them…


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