DEAD MAN'S GRIP
Brighton detective Roy Grace is back in this gripping read, which is a fine introduction for American readers who have not been previously exposed to UK author James. The vivid characters are memorable, with an especially quirky, unique and frightening hit man. Things start off slowly, with characters introduced and backstory laid, and then the pace accelerates rapidly to a pulse-pounding finish. A couple of plot threads are left dangling, which will surely entice you to read the next book in the series.
Detective Grace leads the investigation of a fatal traffic accident which might be a hit-and-run, or might be a targeted murder, since the college student killed in the accident was the grandson of a U.S. mafia kingpin. Single mother Carly swerved to avoid the bicyclist, and crashed her car. Carly is panicked when the police tell her that she is in danger since the other two drivers involved in the accident have been gruesomely murdered in apparent revenge killings. Then, things go downhill from there. (MINOTAUR, Dec., 560 pp., $25.99)