There is simply not a better crime writer alive today than Peter James and all his considerable skills are firmly on display in Not Dead Yet (Minotaur, $25.99, 442 pages) again featuring Detective Superintendent Roy Grace of Scotland Yard. But don’t let the impressive moniker fool you. James’ latest has a particularly American feel to it, in large part because its heroine, actress Gaia Lafayette has already escaped one attempt on her life when she arrives in Brighton to shoot her next movie. It’s here that Not Dead Yet becomes a riveting potboiler that pits Grace against an obsessive fan who’s got Gaia kind of literally in his crosshairs.

Her issues are pretty much the last thing Grace needs, especially in view of the personal baggage he’s carrying that gets heavier with each book. That and the terrific plotting make Not Dead Yet the best mystery of the year hands down.