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Michael Harrison had it all: good looks, charm, natural leadership, a wicked sense of humor, and now, Ashley, his fiancée. While out celebrating with a group of friends a few nights before the wedding, Michael suddenly and unexpectedly finds himself enclosed in a coffin equipped only with a flashlight, a dirty magazine, a walkie-talkie, and a tiny breathing tube. It's all Michael Harrison had it all: good looks, charm, natural leadership, a wicked sense of humor, and now, Ashley, his fiancée. While out celebrating with a group of friends a few nights before the wedding, Michael suddenly and unexpectedly finds himself enclosed in a coffin equipped only with a flashlight, a dirty magazine, a walkie-talkie, and a tiny breathing tube. It's all in good fun — payback for the grief his mates suffered due to his own penchant for tomfoolery — that is until the four are killed in a drunk driving accident just moments after leaving Michael completely alone and buried alive. Detective Superintendent Grace—himself dealing with the pain of losing his wife—is brought on to the case when Ashley reports Michael missing. Suspicions are raised when Michael's only friend not at the bachelor party refuses to cooperate, and Ashley's faithfulness—not to mention her increasingly mysterious past—are suddenly thrown in to question. As Superintendent Grace soon discovers, one man's disaster is another man's fortune.


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Michael Harrison had it all: good looks, charm, natural leadership, a wicked sense of humor, and now, Ashley, his fiancée. While out celebrating with a group of friends a few nights before the wedding, Michael suddenly and unexpectedly finds himself enclosed in a coffin equipped only with a flashlight, a dirty magazine, a walkie-talkie, and a tiny breathing tube. It's all Michael Harrison had it all: good looks, charm, natural leadership, a wicked sense of humor, and now, Ashley, his fiancée. While out celebrating with a group of friends a few nights before the wedding, Michael suddenly and unexpectedly finds himself enclosed in a coffin equipped only with a flashlight, a dirty magazine, a walkie-talkie, and a tiny breathing tube. It's all in good fun — payback for the grief his mates suffered due to his own penchant for tomfoolery — that is until the four are killed in a drunk driving accident just moments after leaving Michael completely alone and buried alive. Detective Superintendent Grace—himself dealing with the pain of losing his wife—is brought on to the case when Ashley reports Michael missing. Suspicions are raised when Michael's only friend not at the bachelor party refuses to cooperate, and Ashley's faithfulness—not to mention her increasingly mysterious past—are suddenly thrown in to question. As Superintendent Grace soon discovers, one man's disaster is another man's fortune.

30 review for Dead Simple

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tea Jovanović

    Don't tell me that none of my Goodreads friends has read this fabulous thriller/crime novel, start of wonderful series about Roy Grace???? Hurry up, must read!!!!!!!!!!! Don't tell me that none of my Goodreads friends has read this fabulous thriller/crime novel, start of wonderful series about Roy Grace???? Hurry up, must read!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    Looks like I am committing myself to yet another good series! I enjoyed spending time with Detective Superintendant Grace and will be happy to find out more about him. I liked spending time in Brighton and Hove too which is where my grandparents used to live and where I visited often as a child. Some of the book was gruesome and the chapters about being buried alive were the stuff of nightmares! However there was lots of realistic and interesting police work and some great characters who I assum Looks like I am committing myself to yet another good series! I enjoyed spending time with Detective Superintendant Grace and will be happy to find out more about him. I liked spending time in Brighton and Hove too which is where my grandparents used to live and where I visited often as a child. Some of the book was gruesome and the chapters about being buried alive were the stuff of nightmares! However there was lots of realistic and interesting police work and some great characters who I assume the author will expand upon as the series progresses. This book starts out nice and steadily, gathers momentum in the middle and then races to a conclusion. Very enjoyable and I am glad I have #2 on my shelf ready:)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Simon Taylor

    The first case for Detective Superintendent Roy Grace was a relatively unique thriller in the way it was presented. The basic storyline is thus: groom goes on stag night, groom buried in coffin as stag night joke, stags killed in car accident, hunt for missing groom. From the outset, we are told that his best man knows where he is but is keeping silent, effectively allowing him to die. The book follows the story through the victim, the would-be murderer and the detective. It’s not a whodunnit, or The first case for Detective Superintendent Roy Grace was a relatively unique thriller in the way it was presented. The basic storyline is thus: groom goes on stag night, groom buried in coffin as stag night joke, stags killed in car accident, hunt for missing groom. From the outset, we are told that his best man knows where he is but is keeping silent, effectively allowing him to die. The book follows the story through the victim, the would-be murderer and the detective. It’s not a whodunnit, or even a howdunnit, more of a what-are-they-going-to-do-now-since-they’ve-dunnit. Let’s start with the victim. Michael Harrison may or may not survive his coffin ordeal, and unlike many whodunnits that start with a body, we suffer with the victim through what could be his final days. The scenes are well written and very claustrophobic, and the reader feels Michael’s panic, hope and disappointments. The villains of the piece are a little underdeveloped. Although some thought has gone into each character, they’re quite one-dimensional and could have been more rounded. And Detective Superintendent Grace, the star of the show and of this new series? A down-to-earth and likeable character who has a dry sense of humour and strong sense of conviction. He’s achieved moderate success but has his frustrations. The disappearance of his wife ten years ago looks set to be a theme which will continue through the series, and one particularly pertinent to this case, even if dealt with a little inconsistently. He keeps her toothbrush and dressing gown in situ in case she returns, but also goes on two dates in the course of the book. Is this the realisation of his own inner conflict, or just poor writing? As a standalone book, Grace would have been forgettable. But for a long-running series, his character could be slow-burner we’re going to keep learning more about, and it’s a journey I’m happy to take with him. Set in Brighton, there are a number of welcome reminders that it’s a UK series with lots of cultural references. As police procedurals go, James has done his homework and provides detailed, interesting background to the inner workings of Brighton’s police force. Having said that, it seems American in tone and I wasn’t surprised to learn subsequently that James has written screenplays in the US. I was also slightly annoyed by silly mistakes – quotation marks opening again in the middle of speech, at one point not closing, elsewhere missing out an apostrophe. Basic errors and editor should have spotted. Elsewhere, swearing was used too gratuitously and the sex scenes were perhaps more graphic than necessary. The plot moves quickly and the chapters are short, giving great readability. Some of the twists are far fetched, and Grace appears thick as a brick. Although the reader has the benefit of knowing what’s going on, Grace bumbles along wondering, “I have 1 and 1, I wonder what they equal?” Very obvious conclusions are not made where they should have been. Easy leads aren’t picked up on. And instead of proper police work or following up on these leads, the man seems lead by hunches. And then… Spoiler warning Normally, I keep my review strictly spoiler free, but on this occasion I feel compelled to make an exception. Forgetting all else, the case starts and ends as a missing person investigation. The thrust, the purpose, is to find the missing person. A reasonably written book with a great ending would have been a respectable 4 out of 5. An ending in keeping with the writing, a healthy 3. But I can’t go any higher than 2 on the basis of what unfolded. Harrison is found (though I’m not saying whether alive or dead) in the final couple of pages. How? Grace chucks a psychic in the car, the psychic says “He’s here” and hey presto! I accept police forces may use mediums at times, and it was reportedly used in the search for Madeline McCann. But readers of detective books want to see their stars solve mysteries by detection, not by some bloke humming over cufflinks. It robs us of an ending, it’s a complete cop out and breaks the unwritten rules of the genre. Any detective story could end that way. (“Ooo, aaaahhh, uuummmm. The spirits tell me the butler did it, Poirot.”) It’s lazy, so lazy, and cheapens the whole affair. For that reason, I cannot recommend Dead Simple, because if the author didn’t care enough about the book to even devise and ending – why should we care either?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    Whew! That was a twisty, nail biter! This book kept me guessing and on edge the entire time. I will be on the lookout for the next in the series. The only reason I even knew about or read this book was because I happened across a review by a random person on Goodreads who said "For heavens sake, read it" that intrigued me, so I did and really enjoyed it! Love finding books I never would have heard about! Whew! That was a twisty, nail biter! This book kept me guessing and on edge the entire time. I will be on the lookout for the next in the series. The only reason I even knew about or read this book was because I happened across a review by a random person on Goodreads who said "For heavens sake, read it" that intrigued me, so I did and really enjoyed it! Love finding books I never would have heard about!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

    Wow! What a roller coaster ride! Once this story got up that first hill of the coaster it never really let up. A good thriller with an engaging detective and also a very good police procedural. There were twists and turns throughout. Can't wait to read the next book in the series. Wow! What a roller coaster ride! Once this story got up that first hill of the coaster it never really let up. A good thriller with an engaging detective and also a very good police procedural. There were twists and turns throughout. Can't wait to read the next book in the series.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Petra

    Definitely a gruesome premise: buried alive, a man waits for his "friends" to come back and release him....but they are all killed in a car accident.....and no one comes back. The chapters told from inside the coffin are claustrophobic and terrifying. This book seems written to be a movie. Lots of descriptions of the rooms, scenes, clothing, actions. At first, one pays attention....the scene could hold a clue. But, no, it's just description, so one starts to skim the descriptions. I found the rest Definitely a gruesome premise: buried alive, a man waits for his "friends" to come back and release him....but they are all killed in a car accident.....and no one comes back. The chapters told from inside the coffin are claustrophobic and terrifying. This book seems written to be a movie. Lots of descriptions of the rooms, scenes, clothing, actions. At first, one pays attention....the scene could hold a clue. But, no, it's just description, so one starts to skim the descriptions. I found the rest to be rather cheesy. The conversations, the situations, the chauvinism.....it was all old time and clichéd.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tracie Payne

    This 450 page book could have been told in about 150 pages. I've read a lot of books and this has to be the wordiest book I have ever, ever read. I skipped so many pages and I know I didn't miss a thing. Not sure why I finished but I was curious what would happen to the guy trapped in a coffin. Huge let down, and the damn ending? It could have used a few more pages. Can you believe that?! It ended almost mid fucking paragraph. Huge waste of $1.20. Jesus Christ. This 450 page book could have been told in about 150 pages. I've read a lot of books and this has to be the wordiest book I have ever, ever read. I skipped so many pages and I know I didn't miss a thing. Not sure why I finished but I was curious what would happen to the guy trapped in a coffin. Huge let down, and the damn ending? It could have used a few more pages. Can you believe that?! It ended almost mid fucking paragraph. Huge waste of $1.20. Jesus Christ.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Eric_W

    The beginning of this book is the creepiest I have ever run across. Anxious to play a prank on their soon-to-be-married friend Michael Harrison, known for his pranks, four of his friends get him drunk and passed out, then bury him in a coffin with only a tube for air, a porn magazine and a walkie-talkie. Then they drive off and are T-boned by a concrete truck. All are killed. The tow truck driver's retarded son (or should I say mentally challenged), finds the walkie-talkie in the grass where it The beginning of this book is the creepiest I have ever run across. Anxious to play a prank on their soon-to-be-married friend Michael Harrison, known for his pranks, four of his friends get him drunk and passed out, then bury him in a coffin with only a tube for air, a porn magazine and a walkie-talkie. Then they drive off and are T-boned by a concrete truck. All are killed. The tow truck driver's retarded son (or should I say mentally challenged), finds the walkie-talkie in the grass where it had been thrown by the accident, talks to Michael, but then drops it and thinks he has broken the unit. Now he's afraid to tell anyone about what he found. Michael's realization that he is buried and that no one is answering his increasing frantic calls on the walkie-talkie will give you nightmares, or at least it would, if you're susceptible to that sort of thing. Forget supernatural/horror crap, realism is far more frightening. Superintendent Roy Grace is charged with finding the missing man who disappeared just three days before he was to be married. Michael's friend and business partner we soon learn has it in for Michael and Ashley's Michael's intended is startled to learn that the business had considerable funds in a Cayman Islands account. Or is she? (Spoiler police, please note:These really aren't spoilers as we learn the details from several points of view early in the book.) The scenes of Michael growing increasingly frantic in his coffin are really frightening. Some interesting twists kept things moving along nicely.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alexa ❤️

    4.5 Stars This was a great thriller / murder mystery. The description was extremely realistic and the coffin scenes terrified me. It felt like I was stuck in that coffin too! I also liked the multiple POV's especially having the killers it gave such a different take to the whole crime genre. I can't wait to get my hands on the next one! 4.5 Stars This was a great thriller / murder mystery. The description was extremely realistic and the coffin scenes terrified me. It felt like I was stuck in that coffin too! I also liked the multiple POV's especially having the killers it gave such a different take to the whole crime genre. I can't wait to get my hands on the next one!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    I have recently discovered Peter James books. I find them fast paced and full of suspense and I read this book in one sitting. I will certainly be reading more of his novels.

  11. 4 out of 5

    MadProfessah

    This is the first book I have read by Peter James. It is a pretty straightforward entry in the British police procedural genre, with Detective Chief Superintendent Roy Grace as the main protagonist. Grace is a 39-year-old single man whose beloved wife disappeared nearly 9 years ago without a trace, but whom he has refused to have declared dead. Grace’s main sidekick is a fellow police officer, a Black bodybuilder named Glenn Branson. There are other sidekicks as well as a potential love interest This is the first book I have read by Peter James. It is a pretty straightforward entry in the British police procedural genre, with Detective Chief Superintendent Roy Grace as the main protagonist. Grace is a 39-year-old single man whose beloved wife disappeared nearly 9 years ago without a trace, but whom he has refused to have declared dead. Grace’s main sidekick is a fellow police officer, a Black bodybuilder named Glenn Branson. There are other sidekicks as well as a potential love interest for Grace which I presume will develop in the future. The key strength of DEAD SIMPLE is the thrilling premise. A group of 4 friends takes a buddy out for a “stag night” a week before his wedding. Michael has played pranks on each of his friends and they decide to get revenge by leaving him in a buried coffin with a walkie-talkie, a bottle of whiskey and a straw for air for a few hours. Unfortunately they get in a horrific car accident which kills them all, leaving Michael trapped in a grave where it appears no one knows he is. With the clock continually ticking towards a time when Michael will either die by dehydration, starvation or both, the plot becomes more complicated as Michael’s fiancé Ashley and best friend & business partner Mark appear to be reacting strangely to Michael’s disappearance. Although it begins as Branson’s case, eventually Grace himself gets involved and there are many surprising plot twists which demonstrate why Peter James is such a bestselling author of suspense thrillers. One slight wrinkle for me is apparently Grace is a believer in the supernatural and has used (and continues to use) mediums and similar dodgy means to help him make breakthroughs in cases. I can appreciate some “genre crossover” but supernatural is not my favorite blend. (I really love a good sci-fi mystery mix.) Overall, I was impressed with DEAD SIMPLE and am definitely interested in going on future adventures with Roy Grace as I read the subsequent books in the series.

  12. 5 out of 5

    LJ

    DEAD SIMPLE (Police Procedural-UK-Cont) – VG James, Peter – 1st of series Macmillan, 2005 – UK Hardcover Detective Superintendent Roy Grace’s wife disappeared several years ago without a trace. Now Grace is asked by Ashley Harper to find her fiancée, missing three days before their wedding. Michael Harrison is a practical joker. But his friends have turned the table, taken him out, got him drunk and buried him in a coffin with an air tube. But the joke goes bad when the friends are killed in an aut DEAD SIMPLE (Police Procedural-UK-Cont) – VG James, Peter – 1st of series Macmillan, 2005 – UK Hardcover Detective Superintendent Roy Grace’s wife disappeared several years ago without a trace. Now Grace is asked by Ashley Harper to find her fiancée, missing three days before their wedding. Michael Harrison is a practical joker. But his friends have turned the table, taken him out, got him drunk and buried him in a coffin with an air tube. But the joke goes bad when the friends are killed in an auto accident after leaving Michael buried. *** This is a book one should start with plenty of time to finish it in one sitting. Gripping is the word which comes to mind. James’ background as a screenwriter and producer are evident in his ability to create strong characters and relationships, his ear for dialogue, and the pacing of the story. James’ previous books look to be more in the horror or psychological suspense category, where this is a solid police procedural. My one slight criticism is the authors years in Los Angeles show as I kept having to remind myself the book is set in England; the style is more American than British. But the good news is this is the first in a series. The second book, “Looking Good Dead,” is due out soon and is on my “must buy” list.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    Another great read from Peter James. I was intrigued by the idea of putting someone into a coffin as a bucks night stunt - the thought of being that person terrified me - and then I found out that Peter James had actually done it for research into his book. Brave man! While out celebrating with a group of friends a few nights before his wedding, Michael suddenly and unexpectedly finds himself enclosed in a coffin equipped only with a flashlight, a dirty magazine, a walkie-talkie, and a tiny breath Another great read from Peter James. I was intrigued by the idea of putting someone into a coffin as a bucks night stunt - the thought of being that person terrified me - and then I found out that Peter James had actually done it for research into his book. Brave man! While out celebrating with a group of friends a few nights before his wedding, Michael suddenly and unexpectedly finds himself enclosed in a coffin equipped only with a flashlight, a dirty magazine, a walkie-talkie, and a tiny breathing tube. It's all in good fun — payback for the grief his mates suffered due to his own penchant for tomfoolery — that is until the four are killed in a drunk driving accident just moments after leaving Michael completely alone and buried alive. But one of his mates never made it to the bucks party, and Detective Superintendent Grace thinks both he and the dead man's fiancee know more than they are letting on. I really enjoyed re-reading this book, and will continue on with the remainder of the series.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    My first Peter James novel but certainly not my last. If you like gritty UK detective thrillers, then this delivers all the way.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Deb Jones

    Detective Superintendent Roy Grace finds himself in hot water when he testifies in a high profile murder trial that he used a medium to help him find vital evidence in the case. Grace became involved with mediums when his wife, Sandy, disappeared nine years earlier, leaving no trace, giving no hints that she intended to go anywhere. In the years since her disappearance, Grace has used the usual police techniques to try to find Sandy. When that failed, he turned to the supernatural, which to date Detective Superintendent Roy Grace finds himself in hot water when he testifies in a high profile murder trial that he used a medium to help him find vital evidence in the case. Grace became involved with mediums when his wife, Sandy, disappeared nine years earlier, leaving no trace, giving no hints that she intended to go anywhere. In the years since her disappearance, Grace has used the usual police techniques to try to find Sandy. When that failed, he turned to the supernatural, which to date had produced no answers either. When a colleague asks for his assistance in a current missing person case, Grace acquiesces only to find himself deeply embroiled in the case. Suspenseful and thrilling.

  16. 5 out of 5

    mina

    Turned out to be better than when I started it. While reading the first half of the book I was wondering where the mystery is since everything that happened had been summarized in the synopsis with only one thing missing, which turned out to play a bigger part in the story. Thankfully, the story picked up for a while and I was so surprised by the things happening that I was ready to forgive the ½ that I read however the end wasn’t satisfactory for me. (view spoiler)[When the mystery man appe Turned out to be better than when I started it. While reading the first half of the book I was wondering where the mystery is since everything that happened had been summarized in the synopsis with only one thing missing, which turned out to play a bigger part in the story. Thankfully, the story picked up for a while and I was so surprised by the things happening that I was ready to forgive the ½ that I read however the end wasn’t satisfactory for me. (view spoiler)[When the mystery man appeared and did the bad things he was doing well, that was pretty unexpected and great, and I thought, being positive, this book’s going to be great. The way he found Michael, by randomly listening to channels and decided to kidnap him as if the guy hadn’t already have a few shitty days buried alive in a coffin, was a good way to catch my interest. Sadly, finding out by the end that the mystery guy is connected to Michael’s fiancée felt meh to me, especially after the end – there was a car chase and mystery guy (Vic) and the fiancée (Ashley) crash and die. The end. (hide spoiler)] I predicted mostly every twist (except when a mystery guy comes into the game) which wasn’t making the book exciting, but somehow fun at least. The detective we are following was okay I guess; besides the tiny problem I had with his description of women he meets (don’t worry it’s nothing bad, he describes them as beautiful, I get having one or two beautiful females appearing and being beautiful but when he describes the majority of the women appearing in the book as beautiful… well, I don’t know, it just feels wrong?) he was a okay, he had a great memory that comes in handy, he is a great at observing people and has a good gut feeling. Him believing in mediums and supernatural was a tad weird in the beginning since in every book/show I read/saw the cops don’t believe in occult things and have to be convinced, the reversed situation was an interesting thing.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Icewineanne

    This book was recommended to me by a stranger while I was browsing in a bookstore. It's rare when another customer out of the blue recommends you read a book without knowing anything about your tastes, so I knew I had to read this book. And that other customer was right, I loved this book and will absolutely read the next book in the series. The plot is one of the most inventive and entertaining ones that I have ever read. The story begins with a batchelor party gone horribly wrong, five friends This book was recommended to me by a stranger while I was browsing in a bookstore. It's rare when another customer out of the blue recommends you read a book without knowing anything about your tastes, so I knew I had to read this book. And that other customer was right, I loved this book and will absolutely read the next book in the series. The plot is one of the most inventive and entertaining ones that I have ever read. The story begins with a batchelor party gone horribly wrong, five friends go out for an evening of partying with a plan to give the groom, a serial practical joker, some of his own medicine. They plan to give him a little scare by burying him alive. Tragedy strikes when his friends get into a car accident, killing 3 of them immediately, leaving the fourth in a coma, and the groom buried alive. Wow - what a begining, and the plot just keeps getting better with its many twists and turns. Highly recommended!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mark Rubinstein

    Dead Simple is the first of Peter James's novels about Brighton-based detective Roy Grace. It has a compelling narrative arc in which a practical joke involving a coffin is central. The writing is excellent and, at times, beautiful. There are many twists and turns that keep the reader trying to maintain balance, and the novel is a perfect baseline for the others coming after it in this series. A well-deserved five stars. Dead Simple is the first of Peter James's novels about Brighton-based detective Roy Grace. It has a compelling narrative arc in which a practical joke involving a coffin is central. The writing is excellent and, at times, beautiful. There are many twists and turns that keep the reader trying to maintain balance, and the novel is a perfect baseline for the others coming after it in this series. A well-deserved five stars.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Vedrana

    great thriller 📚

  20. 4 out of 5

    aPriL does feral sometimes

    The book opens on the concluding hours of a drunken stag party. The young men celebrating Michael Harrison’s incipient wedding to Ashley which is to take place in three days have known each other for years, so whenever one of the friends marries, they plot practical jokes and get blind drunk. Michael himself has been behind several particularly fiendish jokes, so his friends are looking forward to the payback they have developed for Michael. Days before, with shovels and a coffin and a breathing The book opens on the concluding hours of a drunken stag party. The young men celebrating Michael Harrison’s incipient wedding to Ashley which is to take place in three days have known each other for years, so whenever one of the friends marries, they plot practical jokes and get blind drunk. Michael himself has been behind several particularly fiendish jokes, so his friends are looking forward to the payback they have developed for Michael. Days before, with shovels and a coffin and a breathing tube, the men prepared the hole in the ground where Michael will be spending the night resting. Because they are not complete idiots, they will leave a flashlight, a porn magazine, a bottle of whisky and a walkie-talkie on his stomach before screwing down the lid and replacing the dirt they had removed for the coffin. As you, gentler reader, may guess, things do not go as planned after they bury the intoxicated Michael and drunkenly drive off. In fact, it all becomes rather horrifying. Grace is a sad 39-year-old man, still mourning for his wife Sandy who mysteriously vanished almost 9 years ago. He is burying himself in his work. Perhaps this predilection is why he eventually gets to the solution of the puzzle of the missing bridegroom. However, Grace cannot bestow salvation on the already damned. What an incredibly exciting and intricate read! It is easy for me to recommend this tricky first book in the Detective Superintendent (we mystery fans immediately know this is a United Kingdom mystery by the rank title) Roy Grace series. I was strongly reminded of an Alfred Hitchcock movie by the plot. There are so many twists and turns a dramamine (emphasize on the drama) might be called for, except the reader will not be putting this book down to sleep, much less eat or go to work. (view spoiler)[I have one qualm on recommending ‘Dead Simple’. Although the book IS exciting, and I did not guess what the next twist would reveal, by the conclusion more jaded readers might be put off by the author’s tossing in almost every mystery plot convention made familiar by Hitchcock’s blond dame movies. For me, these familiar surprises did not detract from my enjoyment or my level of expectation. I did not guess correctly what would happen next. Grace utilizes genuine mediums who can truly feel out locations and see clues to a person's circumstances. If, as a mystery reader, you hate genre crossovers or even a hint of a paranormal turn of events, this book will ultimately annoy. (hide spoiler)]

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eva

    Author Peter James had his thirteenth book in the Roy Grace series published earlier this year. Since I’d never read a book by him before, I apparently felt like that was the right time to start and naturally, I began with book number one because I just can’t help myself. Still, the odds that I will have caught up on this series by the time book fourteen comes around are pretty slim and there’s something quite satisfying in knowing you don’t need to anxiously await a publication date. Dead Simple Author Peter James had his thirteenth book in the Roy Grace series published earlier this year. Since I’d never read a book by him before, I apparently felt like that was the right time to start and naturally, I began with book number one because I just can’t help myself. Still, the odds that I will have caught up on this series by the time book fourteen comes around are pretty slim and there’s something quite satisfying in knowing you don’t need to anxiously await a publication date. Dead Simple, the first book in the Roy Grace series, is anything but. It’s complicated, gripping and a fabulous page-turner. Yet it all starts so innocently. Five friends are out on a stag party and the groom-to-be has no idea what’s in store for him. It’s meant to be a harmless prank but then the groom-to-be, Michael, goes missing and his friends turn up dead. Enter Detective Superintendent Roy Grace who is sadly all too familiar with missing persons cases as his own wife disappeared without a trace years ago. The story starts off brilliantly and is well-paced throughout. Although it was clear quite early on what was going on, there were still a few twists and turns to keep me absolutely hooked. I found it to be quite an intense ride and a true page-turner as the race against time unfolds to save Michael. This is one of those books where I get incredibly annoyed that my eyes stop cooperating and I have to stop reading because it’s just made to be read in one sitting. This is such a brilliantly executed and completely engrossing plot. I warmed to Roy Grace from the beginning. He’s incredibly perceptive and determined, willing to do whatever it takes to find out the truth. I love his backstory and am curious to find out if this will be addressed in future. Right off the bat, it’s obvious that Peter James is a fantastic storyteller and it’s easy to see why he’s a bestselling author. I already feel like this may turn out to be one of my favourite series. It seems rather disgraceful that I’ve left it so long in reading one of his books but now I can’t wait to get caught up! Highly recommend this one!

  22. 5 out of 5

    L.M. Krier

    This was the first Peter James book I have read. I read it in French from my local library. It came highly recommended by various crime groups on social media. If there was a half-star option, for me it would be a definite 3.5 star. It starts off well, with a stag night prank which goes horribly wrong. **Only a spoiler if you speak French**. Ironically, in French, a stag night is an enterrement de vie de garçon. It's the stuff of many people's nightmares, although you do need to suspend belief at This was the first Peter James book I have read. I read it in French from my local library. It came highly recommended by various crime groups on social media. If there was a half-star option, for me it would be a definite 3.5 star. It starts off well, with a stag night prank which goes horribly wrong. **Only a spoiler if you speak French**. Ironically, in French, a stag night is an enterrement de vie de garçon. It's the stuff of many people's nightmares, although you do need to suspend belief at quite a few points in the narrative. It is certainly a page-turner, in that I continued to read, interested to find out exactly what all the twists and turns would be. One or two were, I found, predictable; one was signalled far too early on for my personal taste. Two things stopped it being a 5-star for me. Although it is well written, mostly with good pace, I found sometimes it dragged, with far more detail than I wanted or needed to know. The poker game, for an example. Okay, I get it, Roy Grace likes to play poker. Fine. I really didn't need to know every bid and every turn of the card. Also, try as I might, I couldn't warm to Grace at all. As a pretty lively sixty-something myself, I found him incredibly dull and middle-aged for a forty-year-old, forty being very much the new thirty. It may well be that's a throw back from when it was written. I still think he comes over as too old for his age. His backstory was interesting, but I wonder if it will ever go anywhere? Perhaps just a hook to make me want to read more of the series. Overall, a good read, but it didn't quite fill me with the enthusiasm I thought it might.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Fictionophile

    4.5 stars rounded up For my full review of this first book in what promises to be an excellent series, visit my blog: https://fictionophile.wordpress.com/2... MY THOUGHTS If you are looking for a British Police Procedural series with an engaging protagonist, then look no further.  Roy Grace is one of those coppers that you just can't help but like. The East Sussex setting, during the last week of May, brought the narrative into sharp focus. The characterization was exemplary and the police case inter 4.5 stars rounded up For my full review of this first book in what promises to be an excellent series, visit my blog: https://fictionophile.wordpress.com/2... MY THOUGHTS If you are looking for a British Police Procedural series with an engaging protagonist, then look no further.  Roy Grace is one of those coppers that you just can't help but like. The East Sussex setting, during the last week of May, brought the narrative into sharp focus. The characterization was exemplary and the police case interesting and suspenseful. Containing several plot twists, this novel will keep even the most ardent thriller reader happy. "Dead Simple" is a novel that expounds on the lengths some people will go to further their jealousy and greed.  It is the first in a series that I plan to pursue with enjoyment. As of now, there are 14 titles in the DS Roy Grace series. It would look as though I have some serious catching up to do!  I hope that somewhere in the next thirteen novels I will discover just what happened to Roy Grace's wife Sandy and that we see him getting on with his life. A great and suspense-filled read which makes an excellent start to a series. I received a digital copy of this novel from Hannah Feeney @wunderkindPR for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Marty Fried

    Wow, what a ride this was. To be honest, at first I wondered if I really wanted to finish the book. We get a strong dose of knowing how dumb these young men are right off as they proceed to get rip-roaring drunk and carry out a get-even prank on their friend who is getting married, and who has gone overboard in the past with pranks against others. They're all pretty dumb, it seems, as the prank simply screams "NO!" all the way. It was so dumb, I didn't care what happened to any of them at first. Wow, what a ride this was. To be honest, at first I wondered if I really wanted to finish the book. We get a strong dose of knowing how dumb these young men are right off as they proceed to get rip-roaring drunk and carry out a get-even prank on their friend who is getting married, and who has gone overboard in the past with pranks against others. They're all pretty dumb, it seems, as the prank simply screams "NO!" all the way. It was so dumb, I didn't care what happened to any of them at first. However... as the story progressed, there were a few surprises, or should I say levels of surprises. First there's one surprise that isn't that unbelievable, then the next level starts getting more interesting. By the end, the whole story has turned upside down, and nothing is what anyone was expecting. By then, I found that I couldn't stop reading, and had to finish in one long downhill slalom. I think this is worth 4 1/2 stars; I subtract a half star for the use of fortune tellers to solve crimes. To me, this is like an easy way out, where clues be damned, let's just use magic.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Indieflower

    I've come to the conclusion I'm not a fan of Peter James and that it's now finally over between us, I've read four or five of his and have yet to be wowed. This was for me, only OK, I got a slight kick out of it as it's set in Brighton, I live there so I enjoyed the familiarity of the locations. The chapters from inside the coffin were well written and tense but the characters all felt very flat to me. I have to have either an absolutely ripping yarn or brilliant characters and if there's both I I've come to the conclusion I'm not a fan of Peter James and that it's now finally over between us, I've read four or five of his and have yet to be wowed. This was for me, only OK, I got a slight kick out of it as it's set in Brighton, I live there so I enjoyed the familiarity of the locations. The chapters from inside the coffin were well written and tense but the characters all felt very flat to me. I have to have either an absolutely ripping yarn or brilliant characters and if there's both I'm as happy as a pig in poop, unfortunately this one didn't deliver enough on any level. Ta-ra Peter.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I was lucky enough to be able to read an ARC of the authors latest book The House On Cold Hill which I loved. I hadn't actually read anything else by the author even though I had already bought Dead Simple a while back but just not got round to reading it. Well after reading The House On Cold Hill I had to bump Dead Simple up my reading pile and boy am I glad I did. Wow oh wow oh wow! That is how I felt when I finished this novel. The adrenalin is still coursing through me now whilst writing thi I was lucky enough to be able to read an ARC of the authors latest book The House On Cold Hill which I loved. I hadn't actually read anything else by the author even though I had already bought Dead Simple a while back but just not got round to reading it. Well after reading The House On Cold Hill I had to bump Dead Simple up my reading pile and boy am I glad I did. Wow oh wow oh wow! That is how I felt when I finished this novel. The adrenalin is still coursing through me now whilst writing this review. I honestly feel like I have just got off one of the best roller coaster rides of my life. Dead Simple starts off brilliantly and just does not stop. This really is a story of a race against time and the reader very much feels the pressure that Detective Superintendent Grace is under to try and find missing groom to be, Michael. It is really hard to say to much about this story with out giving to much away. I do have to say what happens to Michael at the beginning of the story is most peoples worst nightmare but what is even worse is that things get even worse for him which I would never have thought possible. Dead Simple is a non stop, fast paced read which by the end I could not get through the pages quick enough to see how things were going to end. Be prepared from picking up this book to not being able to put it back down until you have read it, that's how good it is. The best bit about this books is that it is the first in the series of books following Detective Superintendent Grace so I am over the moon that I have lots more books to look forward to reading by Peter James who I am now becoming a huge fan of.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Barb

    The beginning of this story was so uncomfortably tense that I almost didn't carry on reading but I am so glad I did otherwise I would have missed a smashing tale. The mystery unfolds layer by layer, by twists and turns, piling on more tension and urgency all the way. At first I considered some of the twists came a little fortuitously out of the blue. Sometimes I can be a bit thick. It soon sank in that it was exactly how it would have appeared to the two main tellers of the tale. Thank heavens M The beginning of this story was so uncomfortably tense that I almost didn't carry on reading but I am so glad I did otherwise I would have missed a smashing tale. The mystery unfolds layer by layer, by twists and turns, piling on more tension and urgency all the way. At first I considered some of the twists came a little fortuitously out of the blue. Sometimes I can be a bit thick. It soon sank in that it was exactly how it would have appeared to the two main tellers of the tale. Thank heavens Mr James, the author, is a bit cleverer than I am. There are distractions, several red herrings and at least one reveal that stopped me in my tracks. I warmed to the police characters, even the smallest bit player is deftly defined and rounded out. DS Grace is intriguing. He is gentle but astute and foccussed in his investigations. I found his attitude to the paranormal totally believable. This side of the story does not overwhelm the mystery. He is not evangelistic about using psychics, in fact he learns a lesson early on in this story about the wisdom of keeping quiet about it. The medium and diviner are just part of this detective's tool box. I am looking forward very much to reading more about the world of Roy Grace.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Narey (Bookreview- aholic)

    This is the first book in the Roy Grace series and the first book I have read by Peter James. I love thrillers and this book definitely appealed too me! The characters that feature in the book are very well described by the author and he portrays them in a way where you can imagine the characters and you do start to slightly think ahead of them once you know what the characters are like and you start to notice the way that they think. The fact that I managed to read this book in less than 2 days p This is the first book in the Roy Grace series and the first book I have read by Peter James. I love thrillers and this book definitely appealed too me! The characters that feature in the book are very well described by the author and he portrays them in a way where you can imagine the characters and you do start to slightly think ahead of them once you know what the characters are like and you start to notice the way that they think. The fact that I managed to read this book in less than 2 days proves to me that this book was so good! It was addictive and it kept me going back for more, it was like a drug to me I couldn't get enough of it! I will definitely be reading the rest of the series!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    An outstanding series debut that will have you guessing right to the end. On a stag night the groom is buried alive in a coffin as his stag night prank...but it all goes horribly wrong when the best men responsible, are killed in a car accident before they have had a chance to dig their friend up. just when you think you have worked out what is happening, the story takes another twist and leaves you wondering how it will all end

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bionic Jean

    This is the first of Peter James' novels following D.S.Roy Grace. It hinges on a very good idea, which is well sustained throughout the novel. I look forward to reading more in this series. Note - Do not read this if you are inclined to claustrophobia. This is the first of Peter James' novels following D.S.Roy Grace. It hinges on a very good idea, which is well sustained throughout the novel. I look forward to reading more in this series. Note - Do not read this if you are inclined to claustrophobia.

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