Well here we are already up to number fifteen in the Roy Grace series. I have followed Roy’s story from the very first book and my patience has been rewarded because following the author’s move to Jersey to live, our little island is a location used within this novel.
The initial crime is one of those where the victim is perhaps is afforded less sympathy, that of the internet romance scam. We’ve all read the stories where a woman or man of advancing years is romanced and before they have a chance to meet in person some awful event unfolds where money is required to be sent to ensure that cupid’s arrow can complete its journey. When the money runs out or the victim becomes suspicious, they then suffer the indignity of realising the romance wasn’t real, and they’ve been fleeced.
I have to admit despite the appearance of Jersey (including a very good scene in a restaurant that I visit) I wasn’t quite as hooked with this book as I have been in the past. Perhaps it was that age old problem I have when the perpetrators are known to the reader – I just don’t get the same kind of enjoyment from novels written this way – or maybe it was the other issue I have with criminal gangs – again this kind of offending doesn’t quite capture my interest in the same way as figuring out an individual’s motivation. Those minor personal preferences aside there is no doubting that there is plenty of action within Dead at First Sight, the romance scam only being the opener for far bigger and more exciting crimes to come!
One of the aspects that I enjoy in this series is seeing Roy Grace’s life outside the office although sadly Cleo was reduced to a bit part within this novel with no important scenes in the mortuary this time. We do have the development of Roy’s sons and there is definitely potential in that arena to keep the personal aspect of the book as interesting in the future as they’ve been in the past.
Peter James has to be commended for his ability to keep the books real without boring the reader stupid with adherence to policy and procedure. Again within this book I got the feeling that the author has really listened to the older and experienced detectives and gives a real flavour of what they find difficult in modern policing without ignoring the reasons why some of the changes were vital. As always this just stays the right side of real especially as our fictional detective is still having problems with his superior Cassian Pewe! Could Roy be becoming jaded with Brighton and Hove? Only time will tell.
So even though this probably was my least favourite of all the Roy Grace novels, I wouldn’t (and couldn’t) have missed it for the world. I love meeting up with the ‘old friends’ on the team, having a credible plot with a thoroughly nice detective at its centre and I therefore begin my countdown to the sixteenth book in the series!
I’d like to say thank you to Pan Macmillan for allowing me to read a copy of Dead at First Sight before publication on 16 May 2019.. This unbiased review is my thanks to them and the talented author Peter James for another entertaining foray into crime fiction in Brighton & Jersey!
Roy Grace Series in order
Looking Good Dead
Not Dead Enough
Dead Man’s Footsteps
Dead Like You
Dead Man’s Grip
Not Dead Yet
Dead Man’s Time
Want You Dead
You Are Dead
Love You Dead
Need You Dead
Dead if You Don’t