Although I think that the Roy Grace novels are excellent I nearly finished reading this one at chapter two. The three pages (pp4-6) of that chapter sickened me with their sadism. They were a reiteration of the Nazi Dr Mengele,1 Auschwitz’s Angel of Death, medically informed sadism. I wondered what James was up to with this exquisite depiction of torture. By the time I’d finished the book I came to the conclusion that his, considerable, readership like this sort of thing. I didn’t like it at all. I thought it was entirely gratuitous.
The remainder of the novel was at his usual level of brilliance. Very short chapters helped to create a pacey read and obviously the goodies triumphed. There was a certain amount of moral equivocation, which was bearable.
I won’t be reading another Peter James book in case he explores even worse sadistic practices.
1 Josef Mengele was a sadistic doctor who facilitated medical ‘experiments’ on Jewish victims in Auschwitz. He escaped to South America and died in 1973. Unlike his SS colleague Adolf Eichmann he wasn’t kidnapped by Mossad and never faced justice. Mengele’s fellow sadistic doctor Karl Brandt wasn’t so lucky and he was hung in 1948. Let us hope James doesn’t explore his crimes for his next book.