It's a tricky proposition, changing horses midstream. And with Looking Good Dead
, Peter James continues to do just that. The authors reputation as a purveyor of subtly chilling horror and fantasy had been carefully built up over many years, and James had few British peers in this field. But that is not quite the compliment it sounds, for the horror field is in one of its frequent slumps at present, and apart from a few American giants such as Stephen King, some highly talented figures have languished, in some cases even forfeiting their publishers. It's possible that Peter James saw the way the wind was blowing, and decided to move on from his hitherto lucrative horror work, returning to the crime arena (in which hed worked before) with the adroit Dead Simple
, the inaugural book in the series featuring Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. If DS Grace was cut from a familiar cloth (copper struggling with psychological problems), the plotting was innovative and fresh.
And so its proved to be once again with Looking Good Dead. Tom Bryce picks up a CD which has been left behind on a train seat, but when he attempts to track down the owner, he finds himself the only witness to a savage killing. Reporting the crime to the police has disastrous consequences for Bryce, and the lives of both he and his wife are threatened--by a notification on the Internet, no less. When DS Roy Grace becomes involved, he finds himself up against a malign group of very well organised criminals.
As in Peter James previous outing for Roy Grace, the plotting here is the thing. James addresses the crime genre as if he had never been away, and although Grace is, to be frank, not strikingly different from any other literary coppers, few people will complain when James storytelling acumen is as authoritative as it is here.
From Publishers Weekly
British author James dreams up a horrific intersection of extreme perversion and Internet technology in his frightening, expertly constructed second Det. Supt. Roy Grace novel (after 2006's Dead Simple
). London marketing exec Tom Bryce makes the mistake of popping a CD he found on the train into his computer: it logs him onto a snuff film Web site, where he watches helplessly as a beautiful woman is butchered. Soon thereafter, Grace and his partner, Det. Sgt. Glenn Branson, find the mutilated body of the victim, Janie Stretton, a law student from Brighton, whose murder reminds him of the unsolved disappearance of his wife, Sandy, nine years earlier. While the lawmen pursue elusive leads, Bryce draws the ire of the twisted criminals behind the Web site and sees his family's comfortable suburban life unravel. The rapid-fire suspense builds to a terrifying, graphic conclusion that leaves tantalizing room for future installments in the series. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.