Detective Superintendent Roy Grace of the Brighton Police Force has a bad feeling about a spate of stranger rapes that have taken place in his city. The MO appears to resemble that of a rapist, and possibly killer, he was unable to stop 12 years earlier.
The similarities force Grace to examine a period of his life that was extremely painful. At the time his wife was unaccepting of his career and put huge demands on his attention and time; when she eventually disappeared, to never resurface, Grace had an added problem.
12 years later his personal relationship is again entwined with that of the serial rapist as he tries to have his wife declared legally dead so he can marry his new partner who is pregnant with their child.
James’ series of books following Roy Grace through the streets of Brighton has sold more than six million copies around the world, three have been filmed and the author has topped several Best Seller lists.
The accolades are well deserved.
The sixth volume in the series, Dead Like You can be read without having read any of the previous books and still make perfect sense. However, I do think if you haven’t read any of Detective Superintendent Grace’s earlier adventures, you may find some bits a little distracting. For while they clearly provide continuity, if you are a first time reader (as I was) they can be a bit disruptive when you’re egging the hero on. Don’t be put off though, all it really made me want to do was get the earlier books…
All of that aside, Dead Like You is tightly written with strong characters to whom it is easy to react and respond. Grace is likeable and his supporting cast believable. Although many reviewers drew parallels with The Silence of The Lambs, I felt these were unjustified and in many ways unfair. Such parallels tend to suggest a ‘copy’ (and even insinuate an inferiority) while Dead Like You stands very much on its own merits. In fact, while the strength of Silence lays in the juxtaposition of Lecter’s psychosis and genius, the villian in Dead Like You is, I found, much scarier by virtue of his ordinariness. He may be twisted but he’s no genius; in fact he’s just some guy you probably deal with every day. That thought is a little unnerving….
I have Dead Man’s Grip scheduled to read next and must say I am really looking forward to it – and while I am tempted to get the earlier volumes and work my way through, I’m not sure I can wait that long to find out what happens with Grace and Cleo.