Title: Dead Tomorrow
Author: Peter James
Page Count/Review Word Count: 664
Dead Tomorrow is one of Peter James’ Roy Grace crime novels, and so if you’ve read one of them before then you should know roughly what to expect. This book in particular follows Grace and his team of Brighton policemen as they investigate a series of crimes that appear to be related to human trafficking for the purpose of killing kids and harvesting their organs to sell them on the black market. Grace and his team get involved after a body is discovered by a dredging boat and the autopsy reveals that their organs have been removed with some serious surgical skill.
Meanwhile, a mother is nursing her daughter through a tough time. Her liver is failing and while she is on the waiting list for a new one, she’s been let down a couple of times and hope is starting to run out. I think you can see where this is going.
I’m not going to tell you any more than that because I’m already at risk of revealing spoilers, but I will say is that it’s interesting because it gives the reader a unique insight into the story. There’s a real sense of dramatic irony, because none of the characters is able to see the full picture, but it works well here and it even helps to heighten the tension at times. It’s also interesting because the lack of available organs – and the black market trade – are both real world problems, and James does a great job of highlighting the issues through the medium of entertainment. I have a lot of respect for anyone who can make learning things fun, as well as for anyone who can use fiction to hold a mirror up to the world and make their readers ask questions. James does a great job of both of them.
This isn’t my favourite of Peter James’ Roy Grace novels, but it’s definitely in the top half of them. At times, the plot seems a little predictable, but crime novels need to fit a formula to a certain extent and it’s also a byproduct of the way in which the story is revealed to the reader. Here, it works well, and while I’d already progressed further into the series before I got to this book, there were plenty of little gems that taught me more about the world that Roy Grace and his team live in. One thing that James does well is to show the backgrounds and the personal lives of each of his characters, and it’s not just the main ones that get the treatment. Even the most minor characters have a fully-fleshed backstory behind them.
The book is also made a little more interesting by the fact that the action takes place in multiple countries. Grace himself is forced to fly to Germany in the middle of the investigation, and Romania is also featured as a key aspect to the story line. But as usual, the majority of the action takes place in Brighton – that’s Grace’s beat, and it’s also where James lives and works. That helps him to write convincingly about the area, and his high level of research – which includes the author working with real life policemen – helps to mark his work apart from that of his contemporaries.
Overall, this is a decent crime thriller with a lot going for it, but it’s not necessarily one you should go out of your way for if you’re new to Peter James’ work. It would make more sense to start at the beginning, but if you see a copy of this going spare then get your hands on it and, if not, work your way through to it. It’s a rewarding little read, and even though it’s long, it’s pretty easy to whizz through it. James’ clear and concise writing style allows you to fall into the story.