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Dead If You Don't: Roy Grace    by Peter James order for
Dead If You Don't
by Peter James
Order:  USA  Can
Pan Macmillan, 2018 (2018)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Peter James' Dead If You Don't follows Need You Dead as the fourteenth in his stellar police procedural series starring Detective Superintendent Roy Grace in Brighton, England.

At this stage in the series, Roy is married to mortician Cleo and they have a baby son, Noah. They have also taken into their lives Bruno, Roy's ten-year-old son by his dead ex-wife Sandy. Roy only recently learned of Bruno's existence and the boy has some odd and rather disturbing behaviors that I expect will feature in a future episode. Roy continues to be plagued by his sleazy superior officer, Cassian Pewe.

The episode opens with a threat to the Amex soccer stadium, where Roy has taken Bruno - a ransom is demanded to stave off the attack, and the authorities refuse to pay it. Of course, when he learns what's going on, Roy jumps in to save lives, at high risk to his own - Pewe is not impressed. That same day, financier Kipp Brown's teenage son Mungo goes missing from the stadium and his father receives a ransom demand. But, as we have grown to expect from Peter James, nothing is as it seems.

The police have been trying to build bridges with the Albanian immigrant community in Brighton, in order to reduce crime in the city. But that same community harbors a vicious Eastern European gangster who tortures and kills anyone who displeases him, and seeks more power than he already has. His son is implicated in Mungo's disappearance. Roy races against time to find and save Mungo, ending up in a partially submerged 1850s Fort as the tide rolls in.

Though this was not my favorite Roy Grace episode, the author always entertains his readers and did it again in Dead If You Don't. At the back of the book is an extract from an upcoming Peter James thriller, Absolute Proof - don't miss either!

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