Peter James is a prolific author and the latest story in the DS Roy Grace series based in Brighton is back on familiar territory. I was rather dismissive about an earlier standalone novel Absolute Proof. I enjoyed Find Them Dead but it does not live up to others in the series. It seems to me that Peter James is aware that his reputation allows him to reel off books and instantly achieve bestsellers.
Find Them Dead focusses on Meg who has recently been made redundant and is called for Jury service. The trial is about a drug smuggler and his boss. The mafia-style boss will do anything to sway the verdict in his favour. One of his tactics is to threaten Meg. Her daughter, Laura will die if she cannot persuade the jury to decide to declare “Not Guilty”.
Earlier books have been heavy on the interaction between Grace and his family and his police colleagues. This novel is very thin on these relationships, and that is a failing in my view. Instead, the story features much detail about jury and trial procedures. Meg is the “heroine” (or otherwise you decide!), and Grace takes a back seat. I miss the banter with Glen Branson (who is his main friend in the police). Instead much is made of the Cassian Pewe / Roy Grace relationship. Pewe is his immediate superior and does not like Grace. Who cares really?
Perhaps Peter James should retire Roy Grace? This is not his best. However, a TV series featuring the Roy Grace stories is about to hit the screens so I guess Mr James will be churning out more average novels. Shame!