Disclaimer: Let me start by saying that this book is definitely not a cozy! This is a hardcore thriller that contains disturbing elements such as rape and torture. There is also a good bit of cursing. So if you prefer to stay with more light-hearted reads, this one probably isn't for you. But if you, like myself, like a good thriller now and then and are not bothered by disturbing content or foul language, this could be a great choice for you :)
Dying Wish is actually the fourth book in this series. I traditionally do not read a series out of order, but this sounded good and the author advised me that it can stand alone, so I figured I'd give it a shot and I'm glad I did. I can now confirm that yes, this book truly does read perfectly as a stand-alone. I have no idea which characters and/or plot-lines were or were not in the earlier books (though I can make a pretty good guess) but I did not in any way feel as if I was missing anything significant by not having read any of the earlier books.
The writing is in UK English, not US English. So US readers may not be familiar with all of the terms and sayings used. I'm familiar with quite a few UK terms but some of these still threw me.
The main complaint I have about this book is that it starts off slow and does take a good 50+ pages to really pick up the pace. In the beginning, author Grant Mason realizes he's having a heart attack and asks his assistant to promise to burn down his house in the event of his death. His assistant thinks it's a bizarre request and instead of complying with the request, she asks Jeff Temple to go to Grant's house and investigate. This is a good start and it did draw me in enough to make me persevere until it really got going. However, in my personal opinion it could have been tightened up so that the pace picked up much quicker than it did.
Regardless, once it gets going, it gets going! There was one sub-plot involving Jeff and his girlfriend Angel, but aside from that it was almost exclusively Jeff and his team trying to figure out who Grant's accomplice was and catch him. Along the way there are a few suspects in the mix and for a while I truly had no clue which one, if any, was actually the bad guy. I did finally manage to put the breadcrumbs together and figure it out, but not until a few pages before Jeff figured it out himself, which I really liked. I also thought that the twist at the end was thoroughly plotted and brilliantly executed! I'm not going to give away any spoilers, but the end will probably blow your mind!
So overall, I give this book a solid 4 out of 5 stars and would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves a good thriller. Have patience with the slower-paced parts and you'll be rewarded once you get into the real meat of it.
Dying Wish can be found on Amazon UK and it's also being released for the US in September. It's available both as a Kindle edition and as a hardcover. To learn more about James Raven and/or his other books, you can visit his website.