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August 20th, 2019

Book #41: Looking Good Dead by Peter James



Number of pages: 519

This is the second murder mystery novel starring Roy Grace, and involves a group who are making snuff movies and streaming them online to a group of subscribers.

However, something goes wrong and an innocent man gets involved in this. Tom Bryce first appears on a train heading towards Brighton, getting annoyed at the man sat next to him. The stranger gets up and leaves the train, and then Tom notices that he's left a CD on the seat.

Tom starts attempting to return the CD to its owner, which involves looking at the contents of the CD, which takes him to the snuff movie website, causing him to witness the live streamed murder of the group's latest victim.

This results in some quite scary moments, as the perpetrators attempt to cover up their deeds, which involve them sending threatening calls to Tom about what will happen if he calls the police, and even using his laptop to spy on him, the sort of plot device that has more recently been used in TV shows like Black Mirror (this book was published in 2006).

I didn't enjoy this quite as much as the first book in the series, as it doesn't have quite the same level of tension (the origial book involved a character being buried alive) and towards the end, it is easy to see where the plot is headed. However, the book did appear to be setting up an intriguing story arc that I hope gets followed up in the later books (I had to re-read the final chapter a couple of times to understand properly what it was talking about). The book did flesh out Grace's character more; as well as continuing his habits of not playing by the book, with more visits to psychics, the book had him trying to put his troubled past behind him by dating a mortician called Cleo, a character who presumably appears in later instalments of the series. I also liked the fact that the character of Tom, the unwilling victim, was made very three-dimensional, as the novel described his job and family life.

I want to read the next book in the series, as I'd love to find out what happens next. I like the way that Peter James has managed to create self-contained stories, while the main character has a more complex backstory that presumably will keep developing throughout the subsequent titles.

Next book: Do Not Pass Go by Tim Moore

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