Lorna Belling is hoping to rid herself of an abusive husband. She intends to make a clean start with her boyfriend, Greg. Unfortunately, Greg doesn’t have the same plans as Lorna. In fact, Greg isn’t even really Greg, and when Lorna finds out that he has been deceiving her, she plans to take action against him. Before that happens Lorna is found dead. It falls to police detective Roy Grace from the Brighton Police to find out who killed her, unless of course, it was suicide. Either way, Grace will lead an investigation while dealing with a myriad of personal problems.
Firstly, his ex-wife, who had been missing for years, has not only resurfaced but also committed suicide. If that weren’t enough, she’s left behind a ten-year-old son that Roy didn’t know he had. Now he must travel to Germany, where they were living, to bring the boy home to England.
Need You Dead is a riveting page-turner where the action seems to increase the further into the book one goes. I particularly liked the structure of the story. The fact that I got to know all about Lorna, her life, and what happens to her before she is found dead made me feel like I knew more than DS Grace during his initial investigation. Of course, that feeling didn’t last long. The numerous twists and turns in the story meant that the search for her killer became more complicated as the story progressed.
While I found this to be an intelligent police-procedural mystery, I was initially a little disappointed with the short, choppy writing style in the first few chapters. But the more I read, the better it became. It was a very visual story with good character development. And, even though the book had many characters, it didn’t seem overwhelming. I appreciate the fact that I was able to find out about all the feelings and inner workings of the main characters, especially Lorna, Grace, and the main suspects. I think that made this book so convincing and well-observed. I also liked that this book was filled with suspense; as soon as I thought I knew who killed Lorna, something else happened and there was another suspect. I think that is what makes this a real page-turner. I also liked the cover of the book and the fact that there are so many others in the series. Peter James is a talented writer and one I would love to read again.