Perfect People by Peter James

In three words:

Creepy, chilling, thought-provoking



What I thought:

The first thing that attracted me to this book was the cover: It looked eerie and intriguing. Perfect People is a stand-alone thriller which was a perfect place for me to start with Peter James’ books as I have yet to pick up one of the Roy Grace series (more on that later).

According to the blurb, this book has been 10 years in the planning. When the idea first came to James about writing a book about designer babies, it was just that – an idea. Now it is a reality. That makes reading this book all the scarier – we may just be looking at our future.

John and Naomi Klaesson live in California and have lost their 4 year old son to a rare genetic disorder which made them watch him die a slow and horrible death. Still young and desperate for another child, the Klaesson’s opt for paying a huge sum of money to geneticist Dr Leo Dettore who has promised them that he can prevent this child from being born with the same disorder that killed their son. What soon become apparant is that Dr Dettore can also offer them so much more scope in “designing” their next child.

This book poses so many questions and will undoubtedly make you think about what you would do in the same situation. Being faced with the option to make your child more empathetic (but would that make them a playground bully target?) or allow them to survive on only a few hours per night like many CEOs and politicians do (but would that mean that they may have sociopathic tendancies?) what would you decide? These are the dilemas that also face the Klaessons when going through page after page of tick-box options. The Klaessons are normal people, they have normal jobs, they live in a normal house and they only thing they really want is a disease-free child…but does that mean that they can’t be tempted by anything else?

What makes this book so compelling is that it becomes apparant pretty early on that something isn’t quite right. It’s so difficult for me to be say anything more about the plot as it really would spoil it, but what I will say is that with fairly short chapters that have a tendancy to end at a point where you can’t possibly put the book down, then this makes for one migthy page-turner.

Verdict: An amazing thriller. One that will make you question what you would do, one that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and one that has sufficient twists to keep you on your toes and not get too comfortable…


As I said earlier, this is the first Peter James book I have read (call myself a crime fiction fan? Pah.) I have been meaning to read one for ages after I saw Peter at the Theakstones Crime Awards in Harrogate in 2010. Despite already haveing a legion of fans, he is also incredibly polite on Twitter and Facebook and really seems to interact with his readers. I am going to make a special effort to read the Inspector Roy Grace series really soon – they have been on my radar for so long and after popping my cherry with Perfect People I have a feeling I am in for a real treat.


(Book source: Thank you to Midas for sending me my copy of this book for review).




10 thoughts on “Perfect People by Peter James

  1. Christina Harman says:

    Wow. This is the first Peter James book I have read and I have to say it was brillant. Couldn’t put it down, Found it chilling and a real thriller. When I read ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ I thought that was chilling and distrubing, this book left me with the similiar feelings. Would make a brillant Book Club Book lots to discuss


  2. Sue Irvin says:

    I’m a huge fan of Peter James, having read all the Roy Grace novels. Perfect People was brilliant, disturbing, thought provoking! Good stuff. I highly recommend reading the DCI Grace novels, BUT they must be read in order, as there is an ongoing twist to them.


  3. Mrs Susan Cubitt says:

    I have read the book called Perfect People and it was my first experience of Kindle. I was somewhat confused reading chapter 55 as I am sure it was an error as the book did not make sense after this chapter. Was it a big error. Also I got extremely annoyed at the ammount of times that the word hello was mispelt. eg hallo.
    I did used to be a proof reader when young and so far every book I have read on Kindle have had quite a few spelling mistake which makes me wonder if any of these books are proof checked.


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