Brighton’s DS Roy Grace’s hackles go up immediately when an elderly woman, Aileen, is killed in her home. All signs point to a high-end antiques robbery. But the victim’s brother, Gavin Daly, a robust nonagenarian himself, is furious about Aileen’s death and starts pulling multiple strings (legal and otherwise) to track the killers. A rare and valuable watch once owned by their Irish mobster father is at the crux of the crime. Tragically, he was abducted from their New York City apartment back in 1922, and Gavin has devoted his long life to learning his father’s fate. Toss in a global black-market antiques trade, long-simmering Irish mafia tensions, and a dash of Spanish crime bosses, and expect thriller salad. Meanwhile, should Roy get too complacent about his personal happiness, there are a couple of people eager to destroy him, too.

VERDICT: Few authors can dish out thrills and suspense as readily as James, and his ninth DS Roy Grace procedural (after Not Dead Yet) is heady proof. His characters may be one-dimensional, but nonstop action is the reader’s reward in this fast-paced potboiler of a read that is perfect for Gangs of New York fans. (US)