cover image Left You Dead

Left You Dead

Peter James. Macmillan UK (IPG, dist.), $26.95 (400p) ISBN 978-1-5290-0424-3

In James’s uneven 17th procedural featuring Sussex Det. Supt. Roy Grace (after 2020’s Find Them Dead), Grace is finally positioned to take down his boss and nemesis, Assistant Chief Constable Cassian Pewe, who has made Grace’s job almost unbearable. An incarcerated crooked cop gives Grace recordings of Pewe’s conversations tipping off a stockbroker to an insider trading probe. Grace passes the evidence along to the proper police channels, but while he waits to see if Pewe will get into trouble, he’s preoccupied by a missing person’s case. Eden Paternoster entered a supermarket to buy some cat litter, but never emerged, and no one inside recalled seeing her. Her husband reports her missing the next day, but Grace and his team find aspects of his account fishy and pursue the theory that he might have murdered Eden. Powerful and moving portrayals of people dealing with grief compensate in part for some emotional responses that don’t ring true. The pace can be glacial, and the final payoff disappoints. James has done better. (Sept.)