Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Book Review: Peter James – Looking Good Dead (2006)

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Looking Good Dead is the second book in Peter James’ detective Roy Grace series. Having read the first one I knew a little what to expect and being during the winter holiday and with no other available book to read I gave it a chance.

First, the plot. A CD is forgotten in the train and someone picks it up with the intention to return it to the owner. This is where we realize that the well-doer is not very bright. A wise person would know that it’s not easy to identify the owner of such item starting from the data written on it. A more workable and less time consuming solution would have been to deliver it to the next train station where the owner would more likely inquire about it if it was worth anything to him. But no, the guy takes it home and sticks his nose in it being rewarded with the “privilege” to watch online the live broadcast of a murder.

An expected death treat note sent in the form of an e-mail warning him not to go to the police follows completed with the erasing of the hard disk. One would think he got the message, but if he did then there would be no story. It turns out that he has got a conscience and, after much debating and discussing with his wife, he reports the crime. Are we really surprised when his wife is kidnapped next? Hardly.

And then it’s all up to by now familiar detective Roy Grace to solve the case and catch the bad guys. The book follows the known pattern from the previous book in the series, being filled with an unusual amount of unnecessary details. From this perspective the book succeeds in achieving two goals, being a crime novel as well as a touristic guide of the Bristol area, which is OK if you were looking for one but I doubt many readers are when buying this particular book.

Comparing it to the first book in the series this one has quite a bit of more gore, since it’s describing a couple of horrific murders. But then again gore and sex sell and the author knows it well. The insight in detective Grace’s private life continues, focusing even more on his missing wife sub-plot which is left unfinished once more, while his relationship with the gorgeous mortician is slowly progressing. Unfortunately the love scene is embarrassingly written.

The book suffers from the same flaws as the first one, a rushed, poorly explained and highly unrealistic ending, to which a spoiler I’m not going to divulge here is added. So the questions that remain are: Better than the first book? No. Enjoyable enough? Yes, if you have the time to spare, since it’s quite a big book.

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Written for Nemira “La limita suspansului“ campaign:
“Aceasta recenzie face parte din campania La limita suspansului”

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