Find Them Dead (Roy Grace #16) by Peter James
This post may contain spoilers.
This is not a Roy Grace novel! He is in it but very much a secondary character. The main character is Meg. She is a widow with one daughter who is heading off on a back packing trip to South America. The two of them are still grieving the loss of Meg’s husband and son in a car crash five years ago.
Having just taken redundancy from one job and searching for another Meg is selected for jury duty in the trial of a solicitor hiding a life as a major head of a criminal organisation. Meg is selected by an associate of the crime boss to influence the rest of the jury to deliver a “not guilty” verdict. Her daughter Laura is under surveillance in Ecuador and Meg is blackmailed into complying with the criminal gang who have threatened to harm and kill Laura. They break into her home, leave her threatening messages and photos of Laura and gradually escalate the level of pressure to make sure Meg delivers the jury and doesn’t go to the police.
This was a very good idea for a novel but unfortunately the court case itself was dull and boring. The evidence against the crime boss was mostly circumstantial and presented in great detail. The author talks about the jury getting lost in the detail and unfortunately so was I as the reader. Both the defence and prosecution cases were drawn out then repeated in the summing up – totally unnecessary.
I also have issues with the ending. It’s as if the author suddenly decided he couldn’t repeat the evidence a third time, threw in a juror that discovers evidence the police missed and suddenly it’s all over. It’s all wrapped up far too nicely for Meg and Laura despite the nasty threats. I find the compassionate treatment of Meg at the end of the wrong verdict out of character for someone who would cook a pet Guinea pig!
My major problem though is the depiction of this as a Roy Grace story. He’s there at the start and through the book but has little to no influence on the story. He has a murder to investigate but turns up barely any evidence and almost discovers the culprit by accident. The author is also still beating to death this terrible storyline of Bruno who seems to be the perfect depiction of a young psychopath and serial killer in training but the hunter of serial killers can’t see it despite actually calling him an anti-christ in this book. I really wish the author would bring this particular story to a conclusion. The relationship between Grace and his superior, Cassian Pewe, is also getting very old. I’d like to see both these storylines wrapped up in the next novel and something fresh introduced.
Unless you are a diehard Grace fan and desperately need to read the entire series I’d probably skip this one. It’s OK but disappointing in general. Definitely feels like the author is cashing in on the fact that this series is now also going to TV.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐