Sheila Beaumont's Reviews > Dead Man's Grip

Dead Man's Grip by Peter James
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's review
Nov 09, 11

bookshelves: adult-fiction, mysteries-suspense-thrillers
Read from November 06 to 08, 2011

Having enjoyed one previous Detective Roy Grace novel by Peter James, I couldn't resist when the opportunity to read this new one came up. It's not a whodunit, since we know early on who the villain is, but it's a first-rate police procedural and psychological-suspense thriller. There's an intricate story, with several subplots; fine portrayals of the characters and their interrelationships (even the hit man is an interesting, if chilling, person); up-to-date cultural references (Angry Birds, the iPhone's GPS Friend Mapper); plenty of suspense with twists and turns; and good writing.

The story starts with a multi-vehicle traffic accident, in which a bicyclist, a student at Brighton University who is riding in the wrong lane, is killed. Unfortunately, the victim is the son of an American Mafia couple, and in revenge, two of the drivers involved in the collision are viciously tortured and murdered. The police warn the third driver, a woman attorney named Carly Chase, who has a 12-year-old son, that she is likely in danger. It did seem to me that Carly is rather TSTL (Too Stupid to Live) in a decision she makes, but people in crisis situations do in real life make unwise decisions, so this didn't distract me from the story too much.

Since I've read only the most recent two of the seven Roy Grace novels, I don't know what's happened earlier, but there is apparently an ongoing subplot in which Grace's wife disappeared and has not been heard from for ten years at the time the action in this novel takes place. We are given a few brief glimpses of her, and of course I'm very curious about what's been going on with her. I'm really looking forward to reading the earlier books.

If you're a fan of good British crime fiction, don't miss this thriller. It's a real page-turner, with suspense that builds and builds, until it becomes nearly unbearable. There's quite a lot of explicit violence, but it doesn't get gratuitously gruesome. And at the end of it all, I was pleased to find a satisfying resolution to a riveting, very well-told story.


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