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Dead Man's Time (Detective Superintendent Roy Grace) by Peter James
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Minotaur Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781250030184
Date: 15 October 2013 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

In Brighton, England, ninety-eight-year-old Aileen McWhirter is gruesomely tortured to death and her precious antiques stolen, including a rare gold 1910 Patek Philippe watch. Her distraught brother, the extremely wealthy art dealer, Gavin Daly, is determined to avenge her murder and find the stolen watch, which is his only link to their New York City gangster father, Brendan Daly, who was murdered in 1922. As the body count increases, DS Roy Grace races against time to learn who stole the watch and prevent more gruesome deaths.

No matter how busy they are, mystery lovers must find time to read Peter James's latest installment, Dead Manís Time, in the superb Roy Grace detective series. I found it more enjoyable than his previous novels, Not Dead Yet and Dead Man's Grip, because its most unique character, Gavin Daly, is both victim and villain. I felt extremely sympathetic towards him. Like Roy Grace, I too detest criminals who brutalize the elderly. Gavin is ninety-five years old. He reminds me of my father in that he appears much younger than his age, his mind remains sharp, and he continues to work in the field that makes him happy. In the case of Gavin, it is buying and selling antiques.

Unlike my father, Gavin's health is rapidly declining. He's had several operations. He knows his time is running out. He is a man with nothing to lose. Therefore, he seeks vengeance regardless of the consequences. I learn many things, especially concerning medical and police procedures, when reading a Peter James novel. In Dead Man's Time, I learned that you shouldn't harass the elderly; they may seek vengeance against you. I was rooting for Gavin Daly. The slimy thugs responsible for murdering his sister deserved to die. I also learned how criminals trick elderly citizens into allowing them into their homes where they proceed to case the premises for valuable antiques that can be stolen in future break-ins.

The Roy Grace series is a crime soap opera. Each novel builds upon the one before it. I wish I had begun reading this series from the first novel, Dead Simple. I envy those who have. Nevertheless, Dead Man's Time, like its predecessors, is a complex novel with many subplots.

Another character, Amis Smallbone, seeks vengeance; he wants to harm Roy Grace, for having convicted him many years ago, by permanently injuring his precious newborn son, Noah. In the previous novel, Amis was suspected of vandalizing Roy's car and threatening his lover, Cleo Morey, when it was actually Roy's missing wife, Sandy; consumed with anger, she is still alive and living under an alias in Germany. Dead Man's Time is brimming with characters who can't forgive past transgressions.

The search for vengeance takes readers from Brighton to Marbella, Spain and finally to Manhattan. No matter the location, the author has conducted extensive research in the various police ranks and hierarchies existing in each one. He pays close attention to details concerning scenery, especially historic landmarks, and the operation of machinery. This is evident by the lengthy Acknowledgments. As I have stated on numerous occasions, reading a Peter James novel is like reading a book of nonfiction; I feel as though it actually happened. However, let me say he doesn't go overboard with extraneous details that muddle the plot.

Dead Man's Time is highly recommended for all fans of mystery. Whether you are alive or undead, you'll want to make time to read it.

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