My Top Five Books of All Time by Peter James – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Peter James, whose newest book in his Roy Grace series, You Are Dead, was recently released.

My Top 5 Books of all time
Brighton Rock – Graham Greene

Quite simply, this is the book that made me want to be a crime writer. Set in my home town, where I set my Roy Grace series of crime novels, Brighton Rock is a wonderfully gripping dark book about the criminal underbelly of Brighton, about religious faith and about human nature. And it has one of the darkest and most poignant endings to a novel I have ever read. My dream is to, one day, write a novel that comes even remotely close to being as good as this book.

Get Shorty – Elmore Leonard
They say he is the man and you just have to read him to understand why. Characters, characters, characters. Elmore Leonard’s characters are just so vivid, so engaging, you don’t even need plot. You could have a group of his characters reading the phone directory for three hundred pages and you’d still be gripped. And this is the favourite of his novels.

The Hound Of The Baskervilles – Arthur Conan Doyle
I started reading Sherlock Holmes as a teenager, and instantly wanted to be writer of detective novels. Another thing I admired about Conan Doyle was his lifelong interest in the paranormal – something I share. This book exquisitely combines the detective story with the supernatural – or so you think… Without ever resorting to any deus-ex-machina stunts pulled on the reader, and a brilliant twist at the end.

Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut Jnr

I read first read this book when I was 23, and it changed both my perception of the world, and my perception of the boundaries of the novelist. Paradoxically this insane, insanely funny novel is the default book I return to whenever I feel the world – or my world – has gone mad!

Silence Of The Lambs – Thomas Harris

In 1988 Harris wrote a true game-changer. In the power of his writing, his extraordinary characterisations, the introduction of profiling, the tension and sense of authenticity dripping from every page but above all the game he really changed was this: Up until now we had had good versus evil. Now by pitting the monstrous but intensely charismatic Hannibal Lecter against Buffalo Bill, we had for perhaps the first time in crime fiction, bad versus evil. It was a stroke of genius by the author and I don’t believe anyone, since Greene, ignored the rule book so elegantly or effectively. This book became the one to beat by almost every crime writer in the world, and now, over a quarter of a century later, I don’t think it has yet been beaten.

YouAreDeadYou Are Dead (Minotaur Books; October 6, 2015; $26.99) is the eleventh thrilling crime novel in Peter James’s Roy Grace series.

The last words Jamie Ball hears from his fiancée, Logan Somerville, are in a terrified cell phone call. She has just driven into the underground car park beneath the block of apartments where they live in Brighton. Then she screams and the phone goes dead. The police are on the scene within minutes, but Logan has vanished, leaving behind her neatly parked car and cell phone.

That same afternoon, workmen digging up a park in another part of the city unearth the remains of a woman in her early twenties…who has been dead for thirty years.

At first these two events seem totally unconnected to Roy Grace and his team. But then another young woman in Brighton goes missing—and yet another body from the past surfaces. Meanwhile, an eminent London psychiatrist meets with a man who claims to know information about Logan. And Roy Grace has the chilling realization that this information holds the key to both the past and present crimes. Does Brighton have its first serial killer in over eighty years?

About the Author:10_6 Peter-James-author-photo-2Peter James is the #1 international bestselling author of the Roy Grace thriller series. Before writing full time, James lived in the U.S. for a number of years, producing films including The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Joseph Fiennes. A TV adaptation of the Roy Grace series is currently in development, with James overseeing all aspects, including scriptwriting.

James’s novella ‘The Perfect Murder’, started its world stage premiere in 2014, and his first Roy Grace novel Dead Simple has now been adapted for stage, and will tour the UK in 2015. In 1994, in addition to conventional print publishing, James’s novel Host was published on two floppy discs and is now in the Science Museum as the world’s first electronic novel.

Famed for his in-depth research, in 2009 James was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Brighton in recognition of his services to literature and the community, and in 2013 he was awarded an Outstanding Public Service Award by Sussex Police with whom he rides along regularly. He has also been out many times with the NYPD and the LAPD in the US and with many other police forces around the world, as well as doing extensive research with offenders in prisons and psychiatric institutions. He has served as two-times Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association and is a board member of the US International Thriller Writers.

He has won numerous literary awards, including the publicly voted ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards People’s Bestseller Dagger in 2011 and was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize for Perfect People in 2012. James’s novels have been translated into thirty-six languages and three have been turned into films.

All of his novels reflect a deep interest in the world of the police, with whom he does in–depth research and has unprecedented access, as well as science, medicine and the paranormal. A speed junkie, who in his teens was selected to train for the British Olympic Ski Team, he holds an international motor racing license and switches off from work by racing his classic 1965 BMW. James divides his time between his homes in Notting Hill in London and near Brighton in Sussex.

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