DEAD MAN'S TIME
James specializes in short, fast-moving chapters. The jumps in time allow readers to understand the forces that drive this story and sympathize with some characters who are not exactly on the side of the law. Attention is necessary but the threads weave together until the pattern is clear to Grace and completely satisfying for the audience. There is much violence in the book but also touches of humor, and it is all wittily told.
In New York in 1922, 5-year-old Gavin Daly’s father is taken from their house in the middle of the night, never to be seen again, and his mother is murdered. His aunt takes him and his sister back to Ireland. At the dock, a messenger brings his father’s pocketwatch and a clue to his death. In 2012 Brighton, Detective Grace investigates a burglary in which an old woman was tortured and killed. A pocketwatch is missing and it’s the only thing her brother is determined to find. Gavin, now 95, has never solved the mystery of his father’s disappearance or the location of the body. Rich and ruthless, he pursues the trail of the watch, racing Grace to the finish. (MINOTAUR, Oct., 416 pp., $25.99)