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Dead Man’s Grip: Minneapolis Star Tribune

By Carole E. Barrowman

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Graham Greene wrote about the seedier side of Brighton, England, in the classic crime novel “Brighton Rock,” and Peter James follows in his literary steps in his acclaimed series of psychologically suspenseful police procedurals, featuring Brighton detective Roy Grace. After a terrible accident involving a harried single mother, a sleepy trucker and a fleeing van driver kills a university student who is the youngest son of an American mobster, things have “the potential to go pear-shaped.” And they do. The Mafia Capo offers an outrageous reward for the identity of the missing van driver, who is then brutally tortured and killed. Grace suddenly has a manhunt on his hands. The evolving subplot in James’ novels is as compelling as the main narrative. Grace is counting down the days until he can officially declare his missing wife dead, freeing him to marry the woman about to have his baby. Grace’s domestic drama takes a turn in this novel that left me gobsmacked, anxious for the next book.