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James, Peter - 'Dead Tomorrow'
Paperback: 500 pages (Nov. 2009) Publisher: Pan ISBN: 0330456776

A dead teenager is found in the waters off of Brighton and his vital organs have been surgically removed and the flaps resealed. Soon another two bodies are discovered, both minus their heart, liver and kidneys.

Fifteen year old English girl Caitlin, is very young and lively and living with her mother Lynn Beckett a poor, lone divorcee in a house in Brighton. Caitlin is very ill and needs a kidney transplant soon but there is a huge shortage in the UK and in desperation her mother looks to the Internet and discovers such organs are available but at inflated prices. Lynn works in a Call Centre chasing bad debts, on a part commission basis and she is tempted to embezzle some money in order to raise some of the massive funds to help her daughter.

Superintendent Roy Grace is the detective in charge of the search for the killers of these young teenagers. It soon becomes apparent that the teenagers are from Eastern Europe and were formerly living on the streets of their countries but are now been trafficked to the UK to provide a ready source of vital organs for sale to the highest bidder.

Roy Grace has a romantic involvement with Cleo, a woman whom he meets when he has to go to Brighton Mortuary where she works with all the dead bodies. They have been together for some months and it is the first serious relationship he has had, since his wife Sandy disappeared on his 30th birthday some ten years previously. Because Sandy disappeared, his confidence with women was very low, before Cleo and she has just disturbed him with her comment during a telephone conversation, that she has something serious that she wants to say to him, but won't discuss it on the 'phone but she needs to say it face to face. Roy is very worried that maybe she is going to dump him as she is very Sloaney and from a much higher social class than he is.

Roy Grace is in charge of Major Crime Detection and has a lot of people in his squad but has a particular friendship with a young Detective, Sergeant Glenn Branson, that he has known since they were both more junior detectives. They often go for a few beers together and Roy asks Glenn for advice on what clothes to buy to look trendier with the younger Cleo. As Glenn's marriage is in difficulties Roy has lent him his flat as he lives mostly at Cleo's. However, Glenn is very disorganised in his living arrangements and Roy is naturally concerned when he pops over to collect some clothes and finds his flat like a tip, full of take-away cartons and his prized CD collection lying all over the place.

Grace flies to Germany to get help from a detective he knows in Munich, and the story heads on at a fast pace to a predictable but satisfactory conclusion. This is the fourth story in his "Dead" series that I've read and the second that I've reviewed. It is quite a long story but it is very detailed with numerous sub-plots and the author has listed all the help he had from the numerous police and other experts in their particular specialisations in the final section. I enjoyed it enormously and didn't want it to end and it is likely to be included in my top five reads for this year. I will certainly look out for future titles together with the previous one that I've missed. Peter James is a very exciting and talented writer at the height of his powers, who can deliver a truly gripping story.

Read another review of DEAD TOMORROW.

Terry Halligan, England
January 2010

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 14/11/2010 10:05