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Dead Simple by PETER JAMES

Dead Simple (original 2005; edition 2005)


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8144111,186 (3.75)40
Title:Dead Simple
Info:PAN (2005), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Lit and Phil
Tags:Crime, UK, series, stag night, buried alive, marriage for money

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Dead Simple by Peter James (2005)



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English (30)  Danish (3)  German (3)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (41)
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It's Michael Harrison's stag night. He and four of his friends are on a pub crawl. Although Michael has promised his fiancée not to get too drunk, he's having a good time and feeling virtually no pain. The only thing missing is his best friend, Mark, but Mark was out of town on business and his plane back home to Brighton has been grounded by fog. Just when things are really starting to heat up, Michael's friends take their revenge on him for all of his stag night pranks against him and put him in a coffin in a grave. Their intention is to make him sweat a little and come back in a few hours and dig him up. As they're driving off they are in a horrible car accident. Three die on impact and the fourth has suffered severe injuries and is comatose. Enter Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. Grace has been asked by a friend and co-worker to help out on Michael’s disappearance. Can they find Michael before his upcoming nuptials or before he dies of lack of oxygen or worse?

Dead Simple is the first in the Roy Grace series by Peter James. Grace is not your average police officer. He is relatively young to be a detective superintendent and was on a fast track until a defense attorney mocks him for his belief in the paranormal, specifically the use of psychics on his cases. Grace is thirty-nine years old and has been grieving the disappearance of his wife Sandy for nine years. He refuses to have her legally declared dead because he still holds out hope that she'll be found. Grace's abilities as an outstanding police officer are admired by most and it is precisely due to this admiration that his friend and co-worker Glenn Branson that he is called in on Michael Harrison's disappearance. Roy doesn't quite believe Michael's best-friend and best man Mark Warren when he says he had no idea what his friends were up to on that night, he had only planned a pub crawl. Although Michael's fiancée Ashley appears to be distraught over his disappearance, there's something about her manner that has Roy wondering about her as well.

Dead Simple is part thriller, part suspense, part police procedural, and a great read. Roy Grace is a quirky but likeable character and wholly believable as a police officer. His interaction with friends and coworkers adds to his likeability quotient and adds to the reader's understanding of Grace the man and Grace the police officer. This seemingly simple case of a missing man becomes anything but simple as the story evolves. Just when you think you know who is doing what and why, Mr. James throws in a nice plot twist and you're off in a completely new direction. There are bad guys and even worse guys in this story and they provide the perfect foil for Grace and his abilities. All of the action in the story takes place over a span of five days, a fast-paced, suspense-filled five days. Does Grace find the bad guy(s) in the end? Is Michael still alive? What was the motive behind Michael's "abduction?” You know I'm not going to reveal those types of details; you have to read this delightfully twisted story for yourself to find out. One thing I can tell you is that I'll be reading more of the Roy Grace series by Mr. James because I'm totally hooked. ( )
  BookDivasReads | Oct 5, 2014 |
Dead Simple is Peter James's first novel about the cases of Brighton's best cop, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. While the tale, with the amount and types of twists and turns, may be implausible - it is also a lot of fun! From the crazy start (stag night - guys playing prank on groom by burying him in a coffin - then they all die in a car crash!) it just gets worse for the victim - again, if you just allow yourself to go for the ride and forget about likelihoods and some such, you'll enjoy this book immensely.

The real strength of the book is, however, not the case, but the character. Roy Grace is an excellent cop who's wife has simply vanished nine years ago. Vanished without a trace. Grace has tried everything, including supernatural avenues, to find out about his wife. Nothing, absolutely nothing. Now, years later, he's a bit of a recluse but a great cop, a good friend to his partner and resolved to finding every missing person by whatever means necessary. Finding a man buried alive won't be easy! Another great plus is the setting - Peter James is at home and deeply rooted in Brighton - you feel it on every page - streets, places, procedures - all is clearly researched extensively and packed with loving care into this brilliant novel. ( )
  Hanneri | Jun 14, 2014 |
Interesting start to a series. ( )
  gregandlarry | Mar 29, 2014 |
I purchased this book after watching the performance of Peter James's stage play – Marriage Is Murder. Though this review isn't about the play, I'll touch on it briefly because it's relevant to Dead Simple, the first of the Roy Grace detective novels. In Marriage Is Murder, Roy Grace is a fledgeling detective investigating his first murder. In Dead Simple he’s a seasoned copper, yet similar themes run throughout, particularly whether such a thing as a perfect murder exists. To paraphrase Mr James himself – of the many who disappear without trace every year, how many have been murdered without anyone knowing, the body disposed of, the perpetrator (s) never caught?
In Dead Simple, Roy Grace investigates the disappearance of Michael Harrison. We, the reader, know what has happened to poor Michael. The question that keeps us turning the pages is what is going to happen next?
Life hasn't been kind to Roy Grace. His beloved Sandy has disappeared. The psychics can't find her. Does this mean she's still alive? Roy Grace is gritty, he carries on searching – for missing Sandy, and for missing Michael Harrison. The events which unfold do so through the eyes of the story’s participants. It's a bit like unwrapping pass the parcel – the reader doesn't know what they're going to find in the next layer. In this way, the identity of the puppetmaster is slowly revealed.
Many reviewers found the ending slightly hurried. On balance, they may be right, but it doesn't detract from this novel as a page turning psychological thriller.

Nina Jon is the author of the newly released Magpie Murders, a series of short murder mysteries with a Cluedo-esque element.
She is also the author of the Jane Hetherington's Adventures in Detection crime and mystery series, about private detective Jane Hetherington. ( )
  nina.jon | Feb 23, 2014 |
What a fun book to read! The outcome of the prank itself is bad enough, and most writers would take that one idea, run with it, and have a good book. Peter James does a Churchill with this same idea. One simple prank-- a riddle-- which he then wraps up in a larger mystery and finally tosses into an enigma with even greater implications. The fun for readers is to savor each page, to tease out the clues, to deduce what's going on... and to hope that Detective Superintendent Roy Grace can put it all together in time to save Michael Harrison's life.

Peter James has also created a fascinating main character in Roy Grace. As a young boy "Grace had been addicted to cop shows on television, to books about detectives and cops of every kind-- from Sherlock Holmes to Ed McBain. He had a memory that bordered on photographic, he loved puzzles, and he was physically strong." Now that he's been on the force for a few years, Grace realizes that "in this modern, politically correct world, you could be a law enforcement officer at the peak of your career one moment and a political pawn the next." It's that realization that can make showing up at work in the morning a bit grim.

The juxtaposition of a thriller-type plot and a nuanced character study is what makes Dead Simple so much fun to read. The adrenaline junkie portion of my reader's brain could gorge on all the twists and turns while the more introspective and thoughtful portion of my brain could savor James's characterizations. This book had been sitting on my to-be-read shelf for a long, long time. Now I know why it kept catching my eye each time I walked past. I can't wait to continue with this series! ( )
  cathyskye | Nov 2, 2013 |
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Een macabere grap loopt gruwelijk uit de hand...
Op zijn vrijgezellenavond wordt Michael door zijn vrienden voor de grap levend begraven...
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Op een paar probleempjes na was plan A tot dusver vlot verlopen.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0330434195, Paperback)

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(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:53 -0400)

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After a stag night, the groom-to-be goes missing and four of his friends are dead. Detective Superintendent Grace is contacted by the missing man's fiancee, and discovers that the one man who ought to know his whereabouts is saying nothing - but he has more to gain out of the tragedy than anyone realizes.… (more)

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