Dead Man’s Time by Peter James.
Although I’ve always been slightly aware of Peter James, I’ve never actually read any of his work. This was part of a Secret Santa Book Swap we did at our Book Club ‘The Bookish Broads’ We each had to wrap up a book we had enjoyed and write a brief description on the front and then select one based on the blurb.
The story kicks off in New York during the 1920’s where a pair of young siblings find their father being kidnapped from the house, and their mother killed from gunshot wounds. Their father has associations with an Irish gang in New York and it seems the brutal murder and kidnapping is due to these seedy connections. When the young brother and sister are taken away from New York by their Aunt to start a new life across the pond, the young boy his passed his father’s pocket watch and a series of numbers. He makes a silent promise to his father (who is still just missing at this point) that he will come back one day and find him.
Fast forward to present day and we’re in Brighton where Aileen, an old lady, is brutally attacked (and later dies) and her house is burglarised of antiques worth millions of pounds. But one think that is missing, that although being worth millions of pounds on its own is worth more because of the sentimentality attached to it. The missing item is the pocket watch, and the dead old lady is the same young girl who left New York all those years ago with her brother.
What happens next is a race against time, Lucas Daly is determined to find the people who murdered his sister, but he also needs to get that watch back. It belonged to their father and Lucas, who is now in his 90’s, wants to keep the promise he made his father all those years ago. There are plenty of subplots going on, including a released convict who is set to get the cruellest and sickest revenge on Detective Roy Grace, Lucas’ destructive son who is both violent and frivolous with money and the strains of being a father and a Detective.
I have to say at times it did get somewhat confusing as there were an awful lot of characters, so it meant that it took a few seconds for me to remember who they were and whether they were considered the good guys or the bad guys. That being said, it was a cleverly woven story that passes through the ages and also calls on the basic human emotions of love and making the most of your time on earth. All in all not a bad standalone read, but I feel I would have had a greater understanding of some of the dynamics had I read some of the books in the ‘Roy Grace’ Series.
Star Rating out of 5: 3