“Want You Dead” by Peter James is number ten in the Roy Grace series. New readers will be able to follow because most needed background information is included as part of the narrative. The book follows two basic story lines; the first involves Red Cameron who meets Bryce Laurent through an online dating agency. The relationship takes a nasty turn, and Bryce becomes so possessive and violent that Red turns to the police for protection.
Red has not been able to distance herself from the insidious influence of Bryce despite multiple moves and evasive strategies. Following a fiery death on a golf course, the Red/Bryce connection starts to take shape, and Detective Superintendent Roy Grace and his team take the case. The attacks are calculated and executed with precision. The team must stop Bryce before it is too late. Chapters alternate between points of view so readers understand both her trauma and his dark disturbance as he utilizes fire to destroy everything Red has and everyone she has known.
The second story line is the continuing saga of Grace’s missing wife, Sandy. After all these years, he has had her declared legally dead so that he can marry Cleo, the mother of his infant son. In true soap opera fashion, (we know, of course from previous books that she is not dead) The story moves to her point of view as she discovers his approaching marriage through an announcement in the newspaper and sets out on her own journey. You just know this is not going to turn out well. It does not, and with yet another twist, the story is not quite finished. (We should know that after ten books!)
I have enjoyed the entire series by Peter James, although I have liked some more that this one. The writing style flows smoothly and at an appropriate pace. I had mixed feelings over the portrayal of Red because sometimes she was depicted as almost complicit in the whole Bryce relationship. Of course, Bryce was certainly dark, harsh, destructive, and most certainly not a reliable narrator.
If this is your first Roy Grace novel, be sure to read some of the previous ones as well. Start with the first “Dead Simple.” It is still my favorite.