'For the first time since he joined the Force, Roy Grace had recently begun wondering whether he should ever have become a policeman. From earliest childhood it was all he had wanted to be,...'
A group of friends are out on a stag night, and they have something unusual planned for the groom. Not long after they've carried out their plan, four of the friends out that night are found dead and no one seems to know where on earth Michael Harrison, the groom, is. Ashley Harper, Michael's fiancee, is distraught and frantic and, with only three days to go before her big day, she contacts the police.
Enter DS Roy Grace. Grace has his own loss that he carries with him each day; his own wife Sandy disappeared one day nine years ago and he has never seen or heard from her since. He's an interesting character in many ways, one of which is his propensity to use somewhat unconventional methods such as the supernatural in aiding him with solving crimes. Grace is coming up to his fourtieth birthday as we meet him in this book, and there's plenty of other details to flesh out his character, including that 'he had a memory that bordered on photographic, he loved puzzles, and he was physically strong.'
This is the first novel in the Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series by Peter James and set around Brighton, with Grace part of the Sussex Police Force. I’ve been wanting to try this series for quite a while now, having heard so many good things about the books from other readers, and I wanted to ideally start at the beginning and give myself the chance to then follow the books through in order if I enjoyed it.
And I did! I found it a very quick, engrossing, page-turning crime read with the well-structured short chapters that suit this kind of tale and make it hard to put down as it makes the reader want to see how each strand of the story will move on, and how the strands will ultimately be brought together. It had plenty of mystery, some intriguing twists and some genuinely nervy moments.
I read it as part of my 2013 TBR pile challenge.