Peter James' detective is very much in the current groove. He's middle-aged, works all hours and- maverick streak coming up- employs psychics and dowsers. I like that particular eccentricity- but it better not be overworked or it'll make his job too easy. Otherwise, I find him rather dull and samey- and I'm not sure he's a character I'll want to be following through a series that already runs to ten volumes. I reckon it's time someone invented a new type of detective.
Dead Simple is a satisfactory construct- reasonably plausible- especially when it comes to the wear and tear and some of the tricks of police work- baffling up to the halfway point, with one or two nice twists and a strong line in suspense. It's set in Sussex and I enjoyed being able to say, "Been there!" as the locations- Ashdown Forest, Hove, Shoreham- scrolled by. My least favourite thing about it is the persistent tang of blokeishness- with a tendency for all the younger female characters to be characterised in terms of their hair colour and bra size. If you're a bit of a petrolhead you'll be pleased to find James knows his motors and writes a bloody good car chase.