Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Review: Dead If You Don't by Peter James (audio)

Title: Dead If You Don't
Author: Peter James
Series: Roy Grace, #14
Narrator: Daniel Weyman
Published: Audio - May 2018, Macmillan Digital Audio / Print - July 2018, Macmillan
Length: 12 hours 14 minutes / 400 pages
Source: Audio - personal copy via Audible / Print - ARC via Wunderkind PR

Roy Grace, creation of the CWA Diamond Dagger award winning author Peter James, faces his most complex case yet in Dead If You Don't.

Kipp Brown, successful businessman and compulsive gambler, is having the worst run of luck of his life. He’s beginning to lose, big style. However, taking his teenage son, Mungo, to their club’s Saturday afternoon football match should have given him a welcome respite, if only for a few hours. But it’s at the stadium where his nightmare begins.

Within minutes of arriving at the game, Kipp bumps into a client. He takes his eye off Mungo for a few moments, and in that time, the boy disappears. Then he gets the terrifying message that someone has his child, and to get him back alive, Kipp will have to pay.

Defying instruction not to contact the police, Kipp reluctantly does just that, and Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is brought in to investigate. At first it seems a straightforward case of kidnap. But rapidly Grace finds himself entering a dark, criminal underbelly of the city, where the rules are different and nothing is what it seems . . .

My thoughts:  While this is the 14th book in Peter James' Roy Grace series, it is the first book I have picked up and I felt just fine jumping in. This is not usually something I like to do, but have started doing so as most authors write their series so that you can jump as you see fit. I still prefer to read my series in order, but some times that just isn't feasible. 

I have to say, I really enjoyed this book and liked Roy Grace...so much in fact that I think as time allows, I just might go back and start this series from the beginning. That's the beauty of jumping in to an already established series, I guess. If I like the most recent book, I can always go back to the beginning and start at book 1. If I don't like it, no need to go any further. Luckily in this case, I'm eager to read more - this is a great police procedural!!!

I think what I liked most about this book is that a lot is going on and it's twisty and keeps your attention all the way through. There doesn't seem to be any lag or any dull parts to this story. The characters all fascinated me in one way or another - whether they were good or bad - and I was eager to see where everything was headed. I liked that not all characters were easy to read - you had to follow them a bit to get a feel for them. And some of them were just downright nasty!

I liked the characters that were involved in this book. Of course, having jumped in at book 14, I don't know how many of these characters are regulars and how many were new just to this book. And being new to the series, I don't know anything about the relationships between any of the characters, but I didn't feel too lost at any point. I do look forward to starting at the beginning and seeing all the relationships develop organically as they were intended, though. 

I also liked that this book covers a lot of different areas - it starts at a football game (soccer for us here in the states) and then gets into the world of gambling as well as gang violence, explosives, and of course, lies and secrets and a little murder. It's non-stop action and you really need to be paying attention so as not to miss anything. It might seem as if there are a million different threads going in a million different directions, but pay attention because you don't want to miss a single clue or tip that might be the thread to weave it all together. It's complicated, it's messy at times, but in the end, it's a tightly woven web that has been spun.

I really quite enjoyed this foray into Roy Grace's territory and am excited to jump back in at the beginning. I just have to find the time to sneak these books in between all my other books...and hope that I can catch up in a relatively reasonable time without burning out!

Audio thoughts: I ended up listening to Dead If You Don't and quite enjoyed the narration by Daniel Weyman. I've listened to him once before and thought he did a great job with this book. He brought the characters to life, giving some unique identities to the characters and infusing tension and emotion into his voice as needed. 

I checked and it looks like Daniel narrates the last 5 books in this series (starting from book 9) so if I decide to listen to this series in it's entirety, it's not going to have consistent narrators, which always bums me out, but that is out of my hands. And it looks like book 1 isn't even available on audio...so I have to read that one. But at least I know that if I do listen to some of them, the ones narrated by Daniel should be good!

Books in this series:
  1. Dead Simple
  2. Looking Good Dead
  3. Not Dead Enough
  4. Dead Man's Footsteps
  5. Dead Tomorrow
  6. Dead Like You
  7. Dead Man's Grip
  8. Not Dead Yet
  9. Dead Man's Time
  10. Want You Dead
  11. You Are Dead
  12. Love You Dead
  13. Need You Dead
  14. Dead If You Don't

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