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Not Dead Enough: Reviewing the Evidence

By Sharon Wheeler

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Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is having what you might call one of those weeks. His best mate, DS Glenn Branson, is having marital problems and has turned up on Roy’s doorstep, a colleague is still seriously injured in hospital, and there’s a pervy killer on the loose. At least his relationship with Cleo Morey is doing well. Or, it is until a friend phones from Germany to say he’s seen Roy’s missing wife.

NOT DEAD ENOUGH is the third in the series to feature the Brighton cop, and it’s a fabulous read. Peter James is a natural storyteller who keeps the action pounding along at a good pace, but never overlooks characterisation. And he has plenty of cameo roles to keep us entertained.

In the earlier books Grace has always been a maverick, with a slight fondness for consulting mediums. This has always been the least convincing aspect of an excellent series, and so I was pleased to note there wasn’t the faintest trace of woo-woo this time out. Instead, we have a man whose life seems to be moving on at last and who must juggle this private life with a demanding job and a boss who blows hot and cold.

This time out he’s up against a killer who has a nastily imaginative line in presenting the bodies to the police. And when Grace is called in to investigate the death of a pretty young woman-about-town called Katie Bishop, all the evidence points towards her husband Brian being the killer. Only snag is, there’s proof to show he was asleep 60 miles away in London at the time.

NOT DEAD ENOUGH is an all-nighter of a book – there was no way I was going to bed until I’d finished it! I thought I was one step ahead of the police and kept shouting advice to them as the book progressed. OK, so I wasn’t far off the mark, but James has one good twist up his sleeve.

James is also a movie screenwriter and producer, and it looks like the series has finally been picked up by TV – and it should be a winner. There’s a strong central character, a memorable sidekick and the obligatory love interest, along with some very slick and sinister plots. Oh, and the fact it’s all put together by a highly talented writer doesn’t hurt!