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‘Need You Dead’ is the 13th Roy Grace novel by Peter James, following the crime solving skills of the detective superintendent.

The central story of the novel is that of Lorna Belling, a woman who wants to escape her unhappy marriage for someone who she thinks is her ideal man. When her plans don’t work out she becomes the victim in Roy Grace’s latest case. With many twists, turns and the occasional red herring the solving of the crime keeps you guessing to the final pages. Peter James has once again delivered a novel of grace-ful technique. A technique born of rigorous research as we discussed when I talked to Peter recently.

Peters foray into crime fiction occurred after he himself experienced a robbery. Peter became friends with the investigating police officer eventually going on to form a collaboration with that same officer to write authentic crime stories informed by working police officers. Peter tells me he has accompanied police in his native England to many cases. These situations are always handled with the utmost discretion in that Peter will only attend the scene on the acceptance of those involved. Peter has seen first-hand how police faced with the most sensitive situations must still remain utterly professional in fulfilling required duties. Not only has Peter attended cases in England but also accompanied police on their rounds in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.

As noted, Peter informs from inside experience, some of the extraordinary tactics police employ in solving a crime.

One of the most astonishing aids police use in solving a crime and one which is used in the new novel is the role of the superior recogniser. The superior recogniser is a real life super hero with extraordinarily higher honed ability to recognise people from just a casual/awkward glimpse. Peter tells me that the superior recogniser’s ability might be attributed to the residual remnants of a primitive skill that developed from a survival instinct that allowed recognition of enemies from afar or in difficult circumstances. Today in situations when the images of the person are limited.

In the novel Peter also explains some more interesting observational skills of how to know when someone is lying but he adds it may not be the best skill for couples to perfect as it might cause disharmony and suspicion in the relationship.

Peter writes an informed and intelligent twist to the crime thriller and invites us in to the inner workings of a profession that demands a deep understanding of the human psyche.

‘Need You Dead’ by Peter James is out now published by Pan Macmillan.