Peter James's latest book Dead Man's Time is the ninth entry in the Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series.
I had read the first four or five books in this series, but hadn't picked up one lately.
Dead Man's Time opens with a scene from 1922 - a scared young boy is witness to his mother's death and his father's disappearance in New York. The only thing left to him is his father's broken watch and a list of names and numbers. Fast forward to 2012 England. The boy is now ninety five. That same watch has been tucked away in his sister's safe for all those ensuing years until a brazen daytime robbery occurs. A robbery that seems to be more than just a grab for the valuable antiques and paintings in the home, for the existence of the watch is known to very few. The thieves aren't content with their looting - they also murder the old woman.
Roy's team is called in to investigate. James has created a solid, enjoyable police procedural. I always enjoy the team atmosphere of British crime solving and the piecing together of clues. Grace's team is ever changing, but some old standbys are still with him. James gives this supporting cast personality - they come across as real and believable.
Grace bases his storyline on actual historical events - the Irish gangs and politics of 1920's New York. I did find this quite interesting and hopped on to the internet to check out some of the details - notable The Dead Rabbit Gang. However, I did find parts of the plot a bit of a stretch. Grace's need to travel to New York seems unbelievable, as do his actions while there. The subplot involving a criminal from Grace's past seems overdone. And I found the thugs in England to be clichéd in both dialogue, descriptions and actions. As I mentioned, I haven't read the last three or so books, but one thing hasn't changed or been resolved . Grace's ex wife Sandy has been hanging in the background for long enough - hopefully this is the end of her and her storyline. Grace does include a good personal storyline with Grace's role as a new father.
Dead Man's Time was a solid read, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this series to those who enjoy British police procedurals. But it wasn't a standout for me. 3.5/5
Read an excerpt of Dead Man's Time. You can find Peter James on Facebook and on Twitter.