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Dead Man’s Time: The Crime Warp

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I’ve posted reviews of Peter James’ writing before.  I’m a latecomer to James’ novels, but have become a definite fan not just of Roy Grace, but also of his other books and even his short stories.

Dead Man’s Time is the ninth in the series, following Roy Grace, a new, exhausted father and his sidekick Glenn Branson.  This case starts with a brutal robbery at a secluded mansion, the theft of millions of pounds’ worth of antiques and the death of the elderly occupant.  Gavin Daly, the victim’s brother and retired antiques dealer vows revenge for the murder and so a cat and mouse game begins with Daly and his son Lucas working behind the scenes to track down the gang responsible.

As the plot unfolds, Gavin Daly senses a link to the unsolved murder of his father in 1922.  His focus is to find a Patek Philippe watch stolen in the robbery and the only tangible link to his dead father, which he is convinced will help him finally find the solution to the long held clue of “watch the numbers”.  As the plot hurtles forward, Grace’s team believe they have tracked down the man responsible for the robbery and follow him to New York to play out the final scenes in this tense drama of betrayal and revenge for old crimes.

I liked this book for many reasons.  The most obvious is James’ ability to take ideas and make them real and believable in the context of the novel – Daly’s New York past, the antiques trade and the psychology of revenge which is linked to more than one person in the book.  The cast of characters is great, particularly Grace himself and the effect of his work on the relationship with Cleo and their baby son Noah.  I also liked Grace’s team and the way they dig out the clues that drive the investigation along.  James’ writing work superbly, using short snappy sections, diverse plot strands that come together beautifully and the build up of real tension, particularly around Amis Smallbone and his twisted obsession for revenge against Grace.  I genuinely shuddered as this utterly vile individual’s perverted plan moved from idea to action.

In a previous posting I’ve talked about extra’s and interactive content.  This novel’s interactive cover can be unlocked using the app Blippar, or you can go direct to http://www.peterjamesbrighton.com/.  Here you’ll find out lots about Brighton including details of walks around the city taking in crime scenes from the novels, Roy Grace’s favourite spots plus a “secret walk” around Peter James’ personal places in the city.

I’m sure everyone wouldn’t make a special trip to Brighton to do this, but if you’re there and a Peter James fan, it looks like fun and a good way to find out lots about the city.

Overall – top marks for this and even though it’s the ninth Grace novel, the series shows no sign of running out of steam!