Book Review: Left You Dead, by Peter James (and your chance to win a copy)

I’m a huge fan of British crime thrillers. My wife and I watch as many as we can – series like Broadchurch, Happy Valley and The Fallen have been some of our favourite series over the past few years. I’m not sure where my fascination for the morose comes from but after reading the blurb for Peter James’ novel Left You Dead, the latest in his long-running series following Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, I instantly thought ‘this sounds like me.’

This is my first time reading any of Peter James’ novels, so I hadn’t realised just how popular this series of books are. The first two books in the series have just been made into feature-length films for ITV in the UK starring BAFTA-nominated actor John Simm.  

The novel follows Roy Grace as he investigates the case of a missing woman in Brighton. When Eden Paternoster goes missing after a regular shopping excursion, her husband – Niall – is arrested on the suspicion of her murder. Yet as Niall continues to profess his innocence and with no body yet found, Grace soon finds out that everything is not as it seems.

Peter James has certainly got a knack for pulling you into a story – not surprising given this is the 17th Roy Grace novel to date. The book has plot twists at every turn, which keeps the pace going and leaves you thinking ‘just one more chapter then.’ The mystery unfolds from the perspective of multiple characters and lets you put the mystery together yourself. Aside from this tightly woven plotline, the book also follows Grace’s less-than-simple personal life, as he attempts to father his previously estranged son.

James has a clever way of relaying previous information without it feeling forced or laboured; great for someone like me who can often struggle to keep several and multiple characters in my mind at once. The book also offers comic relief, with moments of dry British humour delivered throughout the book by several of Grace’s investigation team.

As this is the 17th book in the series, it’s no surprise that it delves deeply into Grace’s past life. While this didn’t stop me enjoying and understanding the plot of the book, I certainly would have got more out of it had I read the series from start to finish.

Overall, this was an enthralling and exhilarating read; definitely a must-read for crime-thriller buffs. I’m already on the hunt for my next Peter James fix!  

Thanks to Macmillan and Lighthouse PR, we have a copy of Left You Dead to giveaway to one lucky Gazette reader. To be in to win, simply answer the following question: 

In which English town does the woman go missing in in Left You Dead?

Email your answer, along with your full name and postal address, to to be in the draw. Entries close Tuesday 18 May – good luck! NB: Only entries within New Zealand can be considered.

About Mason Head

Mason Head
Content Creator and Publication Lead at Eldernet

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