Dead Like You by Peter James

Dead Like You Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Dead Like You introduces Peter James’ Roy Grace character to American readers. While it is actually the sixth book in the series, it is the first one published here. It is maddening for American readers when book series first published overseas are released in the United States out of order. Sometimes it leaves readers trying to figure out the back story of the characters and on going series’ plot threads but sometimes it works out fine. While it is clear that Grace has some personal issues that go far back, readers are given enough of the story to feel like they know Grace.

It’s New Year’s Eve and Roy Grace is trying to clear off his desk before heading home. While he looks through his active case files, he also takes a quick look through the cold cases he’s handled throughout the years. One of the cold cases he reviews is from 1997. Known as The Shoe Man because after raping and murdering his victims, he took one of her shoes, the killer disappeared after kidnapping is sixth victim. So it seems more than a little odd that the very next case Grace is called in on is a brutal rape that follows the same pattern. Grace immediately wonders if Shoe Man is back.

As police procedurals go, Dead Like You is top notched. While the book is well over 500 pages long, the suspense of the hunt for the killer keeps the plot moving. The author manages to build the suspense by shifting readers smoothly back and forth between the killer and the police investigation and from present day to 1997 and back again.

The protagonist, Roy Grace is really a bit of fresh air as policemen in crime fiction go. It seems that many authors in an effort to make their character interesting feel they need to have their protagonist be a bit of a loner bucking the system at every opportunity and clashing with his superiors’ authority at every turn. Grace on the other hand, seems to get along well with the others on the force including his superiors and he carries on his investigation while working with in the system.

As an introduction for American readers to the Roy Grace series, this book has served author James well.

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