Roy Grace is back and his latest adventure is everything you could hope for. There are multiple suspects and James carefully depicts each one's experiences in a way that keeps the reader guessing as to the identity until the very last page. This is achieved with a subtle blend of language, nuance, red herrings, false arrests and a sting in the tail so sharp it draws blood.
As ever with an author of this calibre the prose is perfectly pitched to the scene and the moment. The depiction of events and atmosphere is such that if he describes a cold wind, you give an involuntary shudder. The book has a steady pace throughout before rising to a high-drama finale.
Painstaking research has obviously been done, although I now have a mental picture of him walking round a woman's shoe shop making notes when any other man would be looking at the door with longing. It is this kind of attention to detail that makes his books so very good.
The characters are all very compelling and draw upon the reader's emotions at the author's whim, whether he wants you to be happy for them, sad, afraid or repulsed by their actions - you just are. Roy Grace is as endearing as ever and it is refreshing to see a lead character who not only holds such a high rank but actually has a happy home life, instead of the usual broken marriage, alcohol dependency and despair of many of his contemparies.
Yac was a character I liked and the acerbic and politically incorrect Norman Potting is a joy for any Gene Hunt fan.
One of the leading lights of British crime fiction, Peter James delivers the goods once again.