Dead Man's Grip by Peter James

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Dead Man's Grip by Peter James

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jo Heffer
Reviewed by Jo Heffer
Summary: An accident occurs near Brighton Sea Front when a young cyclist is run over and tragically dies. Three other drivers are involved – a middle aged mother who swerves to avoid him, a van driver who hits him but fails to stop; and a lorry driver whose truck the cyclist ends up under. It's obviously an unfortunate accident but, when Detective Superintendent Roy Grace realises that the deceased is related to one of New York's godfathers, everything starts to look far more sinister. Things don't look good for all of the other parties involved as the family seems determined on revenge.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 544 Date: June 2011
Publisher: Macmillan
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0230747258

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What starts as a normal day for Tony Revere soon ends in his death after he is knocked from his cycle and is thrown under a truck. Carly Chase does not hit him but as she swerves to avoid him, her Audi smashes into a café window. A subsequent breathalyser test shows that she is still over the limit from the night before. Stuart Ferguson, the truck driver, is also not responsible for the accident but he was tired having driven for more hours than are legally permitted. The van driver who actually hits Tony first just doesn't stop. It seems like a tragic accident, especially as the weather was terrible and Tony was cycling on the wrong side of the road. Tony's mother, who has links with the Mafia, does not think so though and is set on revenge.

Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is leading the investigation and the more he uncovers, the more he worries, especially when people start to go missing and one of the drivers is found dead. It is a race against time to stop any more killings and to protect the other drivers involved.

I was hooked from the moment that I picked up 'Dead Man's Grip'. It is really fast paced and combines all of the essentials of great mystery and suspense writing very well. It was the sort of book that I did not want to put down as I just needed to keep reading a little more just to find out what would happen next. This is very easy to do because the chapters are all very short – a technique that I think really helps to build up the tension for the reader. The suspense is also built up very well through switching the focus between the different characters and seeing only what they are meant to see whilst also knowing other things that they don't.

I also found it fascinating reading all about the various police procedures involved in investigating a road traffic incident such as this although there was a fair bit of new terminology to get to grips with. Peter James has written many books involving Roy Grace but it doesn't matter if, like me, you have not read any of the others. It is a very good stand alone read although I was aware that there were references to past cases and also a couple of strands of ongoing stories involving his missing wife and his pregnant girlfriend. It has tempted me to read more in the series.

'Dead Man's Grip' is definitely the sort of book that will really keep you guessing and I certainly did not find it too predictable. Every time that I thought that I had worked out what was going to happen, I was proved wrong. That is good though as it meant that the book was never predictable.

I'd like to thank Midas Public Relations for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If Dead Man's Grip appeals to you, you could also take a look at Still Waters by Judith Cutler.

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Peter James' Roy Grace Novels in Chronological Order


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