A cyclist is mown down in Brighton in an accident involving three vehicles. But the dead boy is a U.S. student whose family are New York Mafia and they are intent on revenge.

By the time the second driver is found horribly murdered (‘I want them to suffer’), Superintendent Roy Grace of the Sussex Police Force realises he is dealing with a fiendishly professional killer and must protect the third driver, solicitor Carly Chase, before she, too, is eliminated.

She is offered a change of identity and a new life, but Carly, terrified and desperate, has other ideas. Followers of the hypnotic Grace series will be intrigued that his missing-supposed-dead wife Sandy pops up again in Germany, and even a shoe fetishist from a previous novel puts in a brief appearance.

But James’s real skill is to turn an ordinary confluence of events into a credible horror story. As always, he has delivered the must-read crime novel of the summer.