When Red's new boyfriend is found dead, burnt to death in an apparent suicide, Red realizes that Bryce is still very much a part of her life. As his presence becomes more apparent, more incidents occur and it isn't long before the police begin to put the pieces together. But Bryce is a master in the art of concealment and catching him before it's too late for Red may be the ultimate challenge.
Want You Dead is the tenth book in Peter James's Roy Grace series. Grace, a major crimes officer in Brighton, and his fellow characters do have a very clearly well-developed history in this series. While it is somewhat easy to slip into this latest, it's apparent very early on that this cast of characters has been through a lot together. It's this established backstory that I find always draws me into a series and I really felt like I was missing out by not being privy to that.
There's also a key subplot concerning Grace and his missing wife, an element that apparently traces all the way back to the series debut, Dead Simple. As an aside, I really wish I'd known the story concerning Sandy before reading this one. She comes out of left field for a newbie where she's apparently been haunting Grace for ten titles!
There's nothing subtle in this story at all. In fact, that's my main complaint with the book. The criminal mastermind is kind of reminiscent of something you'd see in an old Bond movie - really over the top monstrous. The plot unfolds mostly as you would expect with the only real surprises coming in the form of über violent details.
That said, if you're looking for a fast-paced and pretty brutal police procedural, Peter James has a knack for just that. The story rips along at a frenetic pace with short (some super short) chapters and lots of action. The bad guy here is really bad, the danger to Red and those around her is undeniable, and the police efforts to find their culprit become almost frantic.
If you're like me and wary of beginning so far in, the full title list (in series order) is:
Looking Good Dead
Not Dead Enough
Dead Man's Footsteps
Dead Like You
Dead Man's Grip
Not Dead Yet
Dead Man's Time
Want You Dead